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.