Another alternative is to not use the term "MOOC" and call it a Cas". (another hat tip to Stephen Downes for this article). I'm not sure that changing the name really will change what is a movement to learn online. Yes, it needs to be verifiable and so many things need to happen, but sometimes I find it odd how higher ed flees from anything that sounds trendy. Why not just Make Moocs better. Anyway, realize that higher ed has woken up and realized something significant is happening, how they will respond is yet to be seen. Says the author:
"The thing formerly known as a MOOC will now be called a CaS.
CaS: Course at Scale."
Stephen Downes pointed out this great resource that is planning to be the "alternative" to MOOCS.
"Open Educational Resources University course will be able to pay a fee to have their work assessed for academic credit, which would then be recognised by all the universities participating in the OERu."
Another MOOC for English Language teaching.
"After its enormously successful first massive open online course (MOOC) for English language teaching (ELT) entitled ELT Techniques: Vocabulary, WizIQ has announced that it will host the second in the series, ELT Techniques: Listening and Pronunciation. Created and overseen by Jason R Levine (also known as Fluency MC), the MOOC will begin on November 18, 2013 and feature numerous leaders and innovators in the field, including Sean Banville, Jennifer Lebedev, Paul Maglione, Chuck Sandy, Rachel Smith and Shelley Terell."
One of the co-originators of the term "MOOC" takes issue with the definition as inserted into the Oxford dictionary. I agree with Stephen Downes, the definition as cited is sorely lacking in understanding. Surely definition writers can do better.
Listen up: nothing is ever free! If you're gong to take a MOOC or other course, you have far less accountability and must have far more discipline. Maybe paying for college classes is more paying for someone to hold your feet to the fire. But the failure rate in these MOOCs is atrocious. If you look at the cost per passing student, it might just be back up there at the regular credit price.
Nothing, I repeat NOTHING is free and that ESPECIALLY includes education. Read this article and discuss. What do you think, what is the place for MOOCs? (If you write on your blog, please leave a link in the comments so others can see.)
NOTE: The linked article is NSFW - it has a word of profanity where the author quotes Good Will Hunting.
But the points are right. Some teachers worry they will be outdated or not needed with the online education movement. This article has some great points that I agree with. I do think online learning is part of our future but perhaps not the savior some make it out to be.
"The online education utopians ignore the fact that free learning has existed for decades in the form of the public library and despite that availability, every kid within bicycling distance to his local branch didn’t turn into a self taught entrepreneur. Suggesting that online courses are the cure-all for our educational needs is like saying all you have to do to teach kids in the ghetto is give away textbooks on the corner.
Recent studies have shown there is a significant gap between the completion rates of online students compared to classroom based students. When you consider that online learning is often promoted as a cost effective solution for at-risk learners who don’t have the financial resources for face-to-face instruction, it becomes clear that the online movement is offering a product that makes it easier to drop out to students who are already more prone to quitting in the first place."
Another Mooc, I got an email from Jeremy Short, the professor leading this course. I was a management major at Georgia tech, I love the incorporation of graphic novels into this course. Here's what Dr. Short sent me:
"I’m a professor at the University of Oklahoma. My co-authors and I conducted a study that will soon be published in Business Communication Quarterly where we find that graphic novels are more effective than traditional textbooks for direct recall of material. The study used material about human motivation commonly taught in introductory management courses. In addition to the superior recall associated with the graphic novel version of the material, more than 80% of students indicated the graphic novel format compared favorably to traditional textbooks.
Now anyone in the world can conduct their own study to see if their experiences match our findings, as I will be teaching a class beginning June 10 and ending July 15, that is free under the MOOC format and will feature a graphic novel textbook as well as a traditional principles of management text – both books I’ve co-authored. OU students can enroll through regular registration and take the course for credit, but anyone interested in the class can enroll for free under the non-credit option. The only cost of the class under the second option is the cost of the two texts, which can be purchased for under $100 total."
Sad to see that the first major fail of a MOOC would happen at my alma mater, Georgia Tech, but I do applaud their transparency and moving forward with it. I hope they do it soon. With 41,000 students in the #foemooc - they had 40,000 students in a google doc which has a limit of 50 simultaneous editors - and with no backup - they weren't ready for the problems that would happen. This was a Coursera course and it just couldn't handle the load. Interestingly this was a Fundamentals of Online Education MOOC which makes it even more ironic. Read this article for more about what happened.
"Maybe it was inevitable that one of the new massive open online courses would crash. After all, MOOCs are being launched with considerable speed, not to mention hype. But MOOC advocates might have preferred the collapse of a course other than the one that was suspended this weekend, one week into instruction: "Fundamentals of Online Education: Planning and Application.""
I love this reflection from Azhar Youssef, an EFL teacher in Egypt who is so passionate and excited. This is what MOOCs are all about - connecting the world and finding the best wherever they are. Hat tip to my friend Lee Graham of #diffimooc who let me know about Azhar's work. This is her introduction video that she used for the Mooc work. I think that all teachers in the near future, are going to need to have an introduction video. Like a resume, you'll need it to use to introduce yourself when you participate in elearning projects. Do you have an intro flyer or video? Isn't it time?
I love her smore flyer.
(via Azhar's Reflections: Twitter in a new dress!)
Thomas Friedman pontificates on the meaning of MOOCs and the global impact they can have to lift many out of poverty. I think that one of the questions that will emerge is proving of mastery and also the potential for "microcredits" as Yong Zhao discusses. These are all questions that will need to be answered as we move forward into a very new, changing highered network. All educational organizations are bricks aND clicks and those universities who ignore the clicks may find their bricks being impacted. Whole buildings dedicated to broadcasting video and connecting online will be emerging on campuses that provide excellent learning around the world.
Fascinating discussion about how MOOC's are being sold and how outsourcing will likely hit education. Personally, I do think that a well educated, fascinating prof is worth it... of course, what happens when that prof is at a school that is underrated or underappreciated - some amazing people live all over the world. Professors may be the next rock stars. ;-)
Forty public universities, including Arizona State, Cleveland State, and the University of Arkansas, are planning to offer free online courses that carry full credit in an effort to entice potential students to sign up for a full degree program. The new initiative, know as MOOC2Degree (MOOC stands for massive open online course), is being run in a partnership between the universities and Academic Partnerships, a commercial company that helps universities move their courses online. As part of this initiative, Academic Partnerships will work with the universities to recruit for these courses and will receive a cut of any tuition from students who sign on for further study.
Stephen Downes asks an important question as someone found a big error in a course at Coursera. Whose job is it to correct errors? If this error stays put and there is no system for reporting it, I think it will be telling. Many can put content up, but who is going to interact and keep it updated?
This meta mooc says it will "involve students at the center of the experiment in the future of their education." The point is that MOOCs haven't really changed much. If you think MOOCs have potential but aren't sure what, this may just be the experience for you -- I find the thought intriguing.
"The excitement comes from the open structure that means we are hoping to be joined by anyone anywhere in the world, not for a conventional MOOC (Massive Online Open Learning) where talking heads tell you what they think but in a Meta-MOOC: a class where we think about how we think, learn about how we learn, collaborate on new collaborative management practices, and together actually create a platform for colearning with a "massive" group of interested others worldwide. This experiment is for anyone frustrated about MOOC's being billed as "revolutionary" learning when, too often, MOOCs simply are a video of the most conventional old-school form of teaching: the lectur
I believe we'll see a MOOC in K12 in the next 6 months and maybe sooner. Some great thoughts from Stephen Downes linking to a nice article on the topic.
This fascinating question on the HASTAC site asks if students are being included in the discussion about MOOCs. Good question, but I wonder if the enrollment says something. There are many of us in remote places that will either learn online or not at all - so I'm not sure if it is a matter of preference. I predict, however, that there will be a K12 MOOC in the next 12 months. It is ripe for someone to do it. Who will do it? Who will do it well?
Anne Mirtschin, Australian teacher of the year for 2012, rocks. She's enrolled in the Games Based Learning Mooc and in this blog shares what she is learning. I'm inspired by this veritable well of knowledge, energy, and love for students. To know Ann is to love her.
"Having enlisted for the Games Based Learning MOOC, I am determined not to be a lurker, but a participator of some nature. I am not a’ gamer’ but I have participated in Second Life and worked with my students in Quest Atlantis. Having observed students at school being distracted, when bored, by playing games and willing to spend hours playing their favourite games, I am curious about the nature of such engagement. On Friday lunchtimes I open the computer lab for students to come in and play games. A group of 10-15 students will happily sit, just watching two or three players on their x-box. How can games be used for effective learning in the classroom. I want to learn more and this means having a go at some of them. During week 1, the following actions were completed and following observations made:-
"Around 7,000 online students recently earned the first certificates awarded by MIT and Harvard through their Edx partnership. That’s more than twice the number of degrees that MIT awarded at this year’s commencement.
Another 147,596 observers signed up to marvel at what an MIT course is really like. Substantially greater numbers are expected for the spring course offerings."
With a title like this, the blog post is a great overview of the infancy of online learning. Perhaps the information age is giving way to the learning age. Whatever the case, we no longer have silos of learning by location but rather, by connection. High speed Internet and self discipline will give you access to leading edge learning without having to leave an aging parent or move your family. A new age is certainly dawning.
Click in to find related links.