Are men and women different in expressing their opinions in social media?

Interesting to learn about the xMOOCs as reported by Mure on edX president predicts an online learning transformation – as evisioned by Professor Agnant Agarwal.

This is what we have found in “our” research: The research highlighted a difference between men and women in terms of their communication styles and preferences. Women tended to look for similarities or commonalities (i.e., in issues of language) that could become a source of bonding. In contrast, some men had a tendency to practice one-upmanship, in the sense of trying to keep one step ahead of other participants as competitors. Men were more task-oriented in their use of language, while women put more emphasis on socioemotional dimensions. (Kop, Fournier & Mak, 2011)

As Mary suggested: “Hard on problem, soft on people”.

There are now so many “opinion” & “marketing” pieces in media that many of us (including me) seem to be prophesizing with or without much evidences.  There are certain truths embedded in each claim : technology surely would enhance education and learning.

My questions are:

1. “How do we know we could transform the world of education with online education?”

2. “What is the theory behind such prediction?”

3. “Is the theory of disruptive innovation as proposed by Clayton Christensen predicting what we are experiencing?”

4. “Who have influenced the MOOC movement?”

Whilst I would anticipate that there would be a diversity of opinions on the above questions, I could only explain that we are now likely influenced by the “opinion pieces” in the major media, where the “super-star” professors and those in power in the media would likely be able to “convince” us well beforehand what would be a transformation of education.

Did we predict that in 2008?

I have great respects on many of the pioneers in xMOOCs – Agnant Agarwal, Andrew Ng, Daphne Koller, so please take these as questions, not as a way to dilute their assertions.

I also believe that men are more task – oriented, in that males are more than happy to “forge” their views and opinions than women.  Take a look at most of the news and media posts in most Higher Ed..  How many strong opinion pieces are written by males compared to females?  Male bloggers tend to include lots of evidences (despite that they are all re-mixed, re-purposed views and opinions) in their posts, but they are practically having the same message – a proponent or opponent of MOOCs.  On the other hand, female authors and bloggers are generally more careful in crafting their views and sharing them in blogs or major media.  They tend to hit the soioemotional dimensions, with a light touch on people, but great in rhetorical presentations.

I know this may be overly generalized, but it seems to be reflective of reality, as I have observed that in the decades of teaching and learning, and that throughout the MOOCs since 2008.  What do you think?

Intellectual property of MOOCs and who own them

MOOCs and intellectual property.  Who own the content of MOOCs?  Are they intellectual property of the professors, the institutions or MOOC providers?

In this post on professors want to own moocs before moocs own them by Meghan Neal:

“If we lose the battle over intellectual property, it’s over,” former American Association of University Professors president Cary Nelson said at the group’s annual conference this week. “Being a professor will no longer be a professional career or a professional identity.”

But since the explosive popularity of MOOCs, universities stand something to gain by retaining ownership over a course even without the original professor. Though some super-star teachers attract potential students on their own, more often than not students choose a course based on the institution offering it.

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This would be the concerns for most professors, as that’s where professors would add significant values to the education system, under MOOCs.

Here is my part of my previous post MOOCs:

Are We MOOC’d Out? – Huffington Post –
Who would win this race of MOOC mania? Of course the institutions who have the resources, money, professors, and support from those who are looking for values from the xMOOCs. Time has proven that. Did you see most news on MOOCs are praises (hypes) which are unlike the typical news in newspapers which are more than 80% negative? Do we need more good news? To be more patriotic, and loving and caring the society and institutions? In my post  , I commented that this is what educators love to do – promoting good values of good citizenship, pro-social behavior, demonstrating and modelling wonderful professionalism in public. All these are good acts of being an educator.

The reality is: with the shrinkage of funding, more educators would need to work their way out, in order to remain “employable” and stay in their education business. Be proactive in learning, get skilled, be adaptive, and be innovative, or else, there is another exit for those who couldn’t cope or adapt to the system – would they leave, or “die”? This applies not only to teachers, administrators, but also to institutions and corporations. I am trying to be optimistic. But I reckon the ones who might have to worry most are those who are teaching MOOCs now, as once their work are shared, would you still need them any more?

In a Chinese proverb, when the cunning rabbit is dead, you could cook the dog. When the flying birds are gone, you could pack up the bow and arrows. The moral of this proverb is: if the teachers have already served its needs, do you still need them? May be for a different purpose, or a different job.

In xMOOCs, only the content and assessment is the most valuable part. We all know the interaction and engagement with the professors (through dialogue, conversation and feedback) is where students perceived to be most valuable for their learning, but that would be reserved for fees paying students, when these students attend the institution course. Once all content and assessment is opened to the public, there is limited added value that would be perceived by the teacher or students. The teacher might no longer be needed, as the videos are already prepared. Would you still pay the professors for that? May be for branding purpose! You could still employ the professors for face-to-face teaching, but as Sebastian Thrun mentioned, only some tens (was it less than 50 left out of his 200 students) attended the live sessions? Even the best professors would go and set up their own education business (Sebastian, and many who followed suite).

Learning from Social Media

To what extent could social media be used for formal education?

As shared in my posts here and here:

For autonomous educators and learners who are learning via the broader networks, with webs and internet, it seems that blogging would likely serve their needs better in “broadcasting” and reflection of their learning or teaching.

Forum and network platforms such as Moodle, FB, wiki would then be “gateways” for open sharing and discussion of ideas.

Twitter would be ideal of information links and dissemination of news and sharing of links to blog posts or event updates, and real time postings of presentation or conference.

How far would institutions be ready for the decentralized approach (i.e. Connectivist learning) be adopted in online education and MOOC?

“The adoption of MOOCs in formal education institutions is challenging, though it opens up new opportunities to experience the co-creation of networks within communities and new and participatory forms of communication and collaboration for both learners and educators.”

Kop, R., Fournier, H., Mak, S.F. J. (2011). A Pedagogy of Abundance or a Pedagogy to Support Human Beings? Participant Support on Massive Open Online CoursesThe International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning. Vol 12, No. 7 (2011).

What would be critical in the introduction of social media in formal education?  Social media should be introduced with a vision and purpose in mind, especially under a formal institution infrastructure.  What sort of pedagogy would be aligning with the design and use of social media when fused into formal education?