Much has been written and much more will by the time you are reading this article, from when I write it in March 2013 – the MOOC terrain is under very rapid development. John Daniel (2012) article, does a good job of defining and describing MOOCs and clearly notes the different models and pedagogy (xMOOCs, cMOOCs) that differentiate pedagogies, practices and profits involved in today’s MOOC offerings. In this article, I attempt to update our map of the terrain and provide a lens through my 2003 Interaction Equivalency Theorem (Anderson, 2003) to help us understand and explain this latest development and/or fad in higher education.
After unpacking the acronym (and saying some very useful things about the O of openness), Terry Anderson discusses MOOCs under the headings of:
- pedagogy: "I am not so quick to denigrate this [cognitivist-behaviourist] pedagogy …"
- loss of academic jobs: "… technophiles have been making predictions and teachers dreading the possibility of their replacement by advanced communications technologies. Prior to MOOCs these promises have not materialized …]
- participation: "… there many different types of students attracted and they have wide variety of expectations and commitments …"
- credentialing: "Perhaps between these two competing systems [degree credits versus certificates of completion] lies an opportunity for nimble open education institutions."
- business models: "Two features of MOOCs have most concerned politicians, press and academia. These are the lack of a clear revenue model to justify institutional expenses and entry of ‘silicon valley’ mindset…."
- implications for open and distance education: "MOOCs and especially those developed by for-profit companies can be perceived as yet more unwelcomed competition to distance education institutions. But …"
The article is written from the perspective of how MOOCs affect open universities, but has a lot of sensible thinking to offer to anybody with an interest in MOOCs. Terry's willingness to make unpopular claims, adds to this: "It is quite surprising to me how many of my educational colleagues seem so skeptical of any potential improvement in education effectiveness, as if our profession is incapable of exploiting technological and pedagogical innovations that are available to us." Highly recommended reading! (@pbsloep)