The Art and Science of MOOCs

After more than a year of introduction of MOOCs (especially x MOOCs), my observation is that MOOC is treated more like an art than science, in particular when it comes to the experimental design of MOOCs and the associated emotional responses from people – educators, professors, experts, learners, students etc.

Should we treat MOOC more like an art, an entertainment business?  Here in a post relating to five reasons in support of MOOCs, Cathy says:

2. There has been much hype around the MOOC, often prompted by ‘celebrity academics’ teaching huge numbers of students. In the era of YouTube and TED, the ‘teacher as performer’ has taken root, and academics who would previously have stayed in their dusty lecture halls are now clamouring to be on stage. This has bred the era of the ‘rock star’ or ‘celebrity academic’ who measures his or her standing in YouTube or TED hits. Would it have caught on if ‘celebrity academics’, such as Sebastien Thrun and Peter Norvig, had not been involved and legitimised the method?

The rockstar phenomena have been around for years, though this is further manifested with the TED, Salman Khan, and Sebastian Thrun and Peter Norvig, Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller.

I think MOOCs have now become the “steroid” to higher education, and that video lectures have turned HE into a highly “educated & entertaining” business, where every educator would soon be competing for attention, by engaging and attracting the learners using every means and strategies they have, in order to stay as educators.  Is that what educators be aspiring to?  May be, those famous actors who like to work and educate would be involved in these MOOCs, as they are the best actors in the world who could keep their students in suspense, through posting of interesting lectures, exciting stories, narratives of personal anecdotes and dancing or singing through, in educating the public.

May be this shuttle boy would interest you.

I will explore MOOC as an art in subsequent posts.


CCK09 Struggles in the theory of Science continued

This is about Science, not fiction!   It’s amazing.

Struggles in the theory continued.  This part 2 talks about virtual particles, empty space. Virtual particles that fill the vacuum.

“Emptiness” in vacuum is not empty.  It mentions about vacuum energy.

Enjoy this Part 1, 2 and 3.  How does it relate to connectivism?  It’s all about connections!

CCK09 Is a scientific approach towards learning important?

Feynman in this video provides a unique perspective on social science.  It sounds challenging to most social scientists.

I agree on the rigorous checks that are necessary on any “Theory” based on a scientific approach.  It would be useful to adopt a scientific approach in exploring the multiple forms of truths.  May be it’s important to reflect on the “trial and error” approach towards learning and education that are prevalent at this digital age, especially with PLN/PLE and Web 2.0.  How about the pedagogy behind all these PLN/PLE in teaching and learning? 

My favourite is to adopt an empirical approach in understanding the science of learning and the associated learning theory – in particular Connectivism.  That’s why I like the research that we have just completed.   

Learning could be viewed both as art and science.  However I think a scientific approach is necessary, but not sufficient in understanding learning.  We also need an artistic approach in revealing the myths of learning.  But how?   May be the performance artists, the curators, the expert educators and our networkers could educate us more on these – with the repurposing, re-creating, re-producing of new forms of artefacts.  We may all appreciate the emergent learning experiences that we could “feel” and “sense” and way find with those learning, though such “learning” could be difficult to be proven using scientific methods. 

Enjoy this.

How could we improve our understanding of learning and education from an artistic and scientific point of view? 

Neuroscience, Network Theory, Complexity Theory, Actor Network Theory, Activity Theory, Situation Learning Theory, Cognitivism, Constructivism, and Connectivism.  These are all useful for understanding learning.  However, we may still be far from understanding the holistic “spirit” and “scientific basis” behind “postmodernism” of learning – our ecology of learning or the Complex Adaptive Ecology of Learning

Is a scientific approach towards learning still important to you? How would you apply such an approach?