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MOOCs | - Sharples, McAndrew, Weller et al | Innovating Pedagogy 2013

MOOCs | - Sharples, McAndrew, Weller et al | Innovating Pedagogy 2013 | Networked Learning - MOOCs and more | Scoop.it
Peter B. Sloep's insight:

Earlier this month, the Open University (UK) published its second instalment of what looks like to become a series of trend reports on "exploring new forms of teaching, learning, assessment" in an effort "to guide educators and policy makers". 

 

Last year the report already included an article on MOOCs and so does this year's issue (pp 9-11). The report establishes that "Current MOOC design offers a good route for professional development […]", something which has been argued for by others in these pages too. It also reports that social learning and peer support may be ways to generate the feedback in MOOCs that is currently largely lacking. It also has a few remarks about retention, to the effect that merely "measuring the fall-off from initial registration is simple but could be misleading".

 

Most interesting perhaps are the trends, after all, this is a trend report. It argues that where MOOCs are going is perhaps less interesting a question than asking in what way MOOCs can meet the growing need for education and learning. The report notes that MOOCs probably never will be able to meet that need for people without confidence or qualifications; that possibly, MOOCs can make the larger public aware of the benefits of education by providing an enjoyable learning experience; that MOOCs already attract many, mostly professionals, and make education providers at large aware of the issue of educational value for money. @pbsloep

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Money Models for MOOCs | Dellarocas & Van Alstyn - Communications of the ACM

Money Models for MOOCs | Dellarocas & Van Alstyn - Communications of the ACM | Networked Learning - MOOCs and more | Scoop.it

Despite the massive media ink spilled over massive open online courses, the ink spilled by MOOCs themselves remains red. MOOCs lose money. Most are free. Universities and venture capitalists subsidize them while searching for the class of the future.

Peter B. Sloep's insight:

So far nothing new. Complaints about the lack of viable business models for MOOCs are probably as old as MOOCs themselves, xMOOCs that is. However, what sets this article apart is the systematic way in which it approaches the issue. Dellarocas and Van Alstyn discern two different kinds of revenue streams, by charging for things and by charging people. However, when charging for things, it is not the product itself that carries the price tag, after all that is free, but complements or add-ons. Thus, one could charge for providing student data ('analytics'), or for certification or tutoring services. When charging people, it is not the MOOC learners themselves that have to pay - again, the product is free - but others whose interests somehow depend on the students. So, prospective employers could be asked to pay for data on students to inform their recruitment (again, analytics), companies could sponsor courses, or universities could share the development cost of courses. This last idea of course sits at the core of the OER movement, something which the authors entirely seem to miss as they insist on calling it content syndication, not even mentioning OERs. However, the idea is clear.

 

These two kinds of revenue streams constitute two dimensions of a matrix, the cells of which represent equally many business models, at least so the authors claim. Indeed, they solicit the help of the readers actually to fill all the cells, they themselves have been able to do so for 13 out of 20, some of which I mentioned in the above. Their most interesting ideas are collaborative group learning, where groups of learners self-organise and commit to learning, and problem-sponsored learning, where interested organisations sponsor student projects to solve some problem they experience. Collaborative group learning comes very close to what cMOOCS attempt to achieve in the online realm (again, not mentioned), which more generally is called networked learning. Problem-sponsored learning is very much akin to some work I myself was involved in, which we dubbed the virtual company (Westera & Sloep, 1998). Students would work in distributed  groups on authentic assignments collected from interested organisations. Although these organisations did not pay up front, they had to make people available for fine-tuning their question, for identifying experts to be consulted, and for providing input into the assessments. 

 

These and the other models discussed are useful contributions to the MOOC discussion. However, for me, their value does not lie in their ability to inform business models. As the two examples I discussed in a little more detail show, their value lies in prodding us tho think about different pedagogies than the tried and tested one of lecturing in front of a class. And yes, this needs to be paid for somehow, but whether education should be a public good or something that is subject to the laws of share-holder capitalism had better be discussed on its own merits than under the pretence of business models. (@pbsloep)

 

Reference: 

Westera, W., & Sloep, P. B. (1998). The Virtual Company: Toward a Self-Directed, Competence-Based Learning Environment in Distance Education. Educational Technology, 38(1), 32–37. Retrieved from http://tiny.cc/nf7g2w

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JohnRobertson's curator insight, August 27, 2013 10:04 AM

See Peter Sloep's commentary as well as the article

Pieter de Vries's curator insight, September 6, 2013 5:03 PM

Is it all about money, or does it just distract us from the main issue: innovation.

Arie den Boon's comment, September 20, 2013 10:45 AM
Perhaps the main issue is here how and when does it work
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Truths about MOOCs, Rees v Chait, and a bunch of other MOOC article links | Steve Krause - stevendkrause.com, blog

It sure seems like there’s been a swing in both the education media and the main stream media against MOOCs as of late– that is, from what once seemed to me to be a blind faith of MOOCs being the next best thing, it seems like we’ve swung lately into a sort of a MOOCs are evil vein. […] let me suggest two important and frequently ignored “truths” about MOOCs to keep in mind as you browse through these and almost anything else about MOOCs, especially polemics about MOOCs.

Peter B. Sloep's insight:

The truths are rather obvious for anyone following the MOOC debates but Steve Krause plausibly argues that not everyone has them on their radar. The first is that MOOCs and online learning are not the same, the former being a subset of the latter. I wholeheartedly agree with this, having written from day one that MOOC pundits ignore decades of research on online learning, at their peril.  

 

The second one is dat cMOOCs - the original, connectivist kind written about by Siemens et al - and xMOOCs - the new one, offered by Udacity, Coursera and the like - are often confused in the public debate. This is detrimental to any productive discussion as the two are diametrically opposed. However, the actual damage is small if one substitutes xMOOC for MOOC on any occasion that the unqualified term is used. 

 

The remainder of the discussion brings little news for anybody who follows MOOC debates, but it is a very useful overview of the current state of affairs. So if you want to read up on MOOCs, particularly the xMOOC kind, the article is very useful. (@pbsloep)

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In Connectivism, No One Can Hear You Scream: a Guide to Understanding the MOOC Novice | Keith Brennan - HYBRID PEDAGOGY

In Connectivism, No One Can Hear You Scream: a Guide to Understanding the MOOC Novice | Keith Brennan - HYBRID PEDAGOGY | Networked Learning - MOOCs and more | Scoop.it

This article is an attempt to address a possible gap in Connectivist thinking, and its expression in cMOOCs. It’s to do with the experience of technology novices, and unconfident learners in cMOOC environments. It comes from a phenomenon, and experience I identified in a recent MOOC I participated in and the experience is best described like this:

To learn in a cMOOC you need to connect.

To connect in a cMOOC you need to learn.

Peter B. Sloep's insight:

Central in the article's thesis is Alfred Bandura's notion of self-efficacy. This is not the place to discuss what self-efficacy entails, but suffice it to say that it refers to learner agency, to the ability of learners to take charge of their own learning. The kinds of skills that you need to be able to do so have sometimes been referred to as meta-cognitive. Elements of it are being sufficiently motivated and stay motivated, being able to plot your own learning route, being able to overcome set-backs. Another important aspect is having the frame of reference in place to make sense of what you learn. Keith Brennan argues that it is the task of educators to help learners cope with these kinds of situations. You can't make them learn, but you can certainly make it easier for them to learn. This you do, according to Brennan, by nurturing the sense of a competent self and he discusses various ways in which this can be done. Importantly, in Connectivist learning these mechanisms don't work or at least do not work satisfactorily.

 

Brennan's objection is to be taken seriously. A couple of years ago, I myself wondered  about this issue, which I dubbed the paradox of instrucion. Brennan seems to conclude that you need teachers one way or the other. This is too hasty a conclusion to my taste. I have formulated my solution in two blogposts. In short, I believe that we need design principles to help learners in cMOOCs, to whom I refer as non-formal learning in networked learning environments (http://tiny.cc/vwbz0w). At the time I did not have a clear understanding of what those principles are, only that they are different than instructional design principles, which always assume the directing role of a teacher. However, meanwhile and thanks to hard work by several PhDs I do have the beginnings of an understanding. Peer support plays a key role, learners helping learners. However, it doesn't suffice to let them figure out themselves how to do that, nor does it do just to set up a forum as is done in many xMOOCs. In my view, the peer support should be sophisticated and enhanced by all kinds of technologies. This argument is elaborated in an article, with examples of such technologies: Sloep, P. B. (2014). Networked professional learning. In A. Littlejohn & A. Margaryan (Eds.), Technology-enhanced Professional Learning: Processes, Practices and Tools (97-108). London: Routledge.(@pbsloep)

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Caroline Kuhn H's curator insight, August 2, 2013 6:08 AM

following a MOOCs can get really hard!

Rose Heaney's curator insight, May 15, 4:12 AM

Love the title. Check the article itself but also the commentary by curator with further links.

Lia Goren's curator insight, May 23, 2:06 AM

Comparato lo que dice Keith Brennan

" Al igual que muchos educadores, yo soy un pragmático. Coqueteo descaradamente con toda teoría que me atrae. Soy ideológicamente promiscuo. Voy con lo que funciona y soy implacable en eliminar a lo que no funciona. Hago esto porque no existe una teoría de " talla única ". Debido a que no existe una "talla única " de estudiantes. Esto es así, debido a que los estudiantes, los participantes y los aprendices son la métrica final que mide cualquier teoría y la experiencia es el campo de pruebas de las teorías. La fe en una teoría, la monogamia ideológica, se interpone en el camino de la evidencia."

Recomiendo este post del portal Hybrid Pedagogy de Keith Brenann sobre las cosas que hay que considerar para proteger, asegurar y promover la motivación y la autoconfianza de los estudiantes en aulas y cursos. Vale para cualquier entorno de aprendizaje que se quiera considerar.

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MOOCs as a Worldwide Neocolonial Force: A Reflection on MIT’s Learning International Networks Consortium (LINC) Conference | James E Willis - Reflections on Teaching and Learning, blog

I had the privilege to attend MIT’s Learning International Networks Consortium (LINC) 2013 conference from June 16 – 19th. […] One topic, above all others, continues to resonate with me. […]  One of the attendees suggested that the MOOC (massive open online course) is a form of neocolonialism to the developing world. This means western educators presuppose a priority on what should be taught, what should be learned, and what forms “the” context of a given subject; MOOCs are the 21st century vehicle for spreading that presupposition to the world. It means that the first-world professors, instructional designers, and platform providers control not only the content learned by people worldwide, but more importantly, the ideologies spread through that learning.

Peter B. Sloep's insight:

The question James Willis then asks himself is whether MOOCs indeed are a form of digitized neocolonialism. In earlier posts and blogs I have also considered this possibility, using the term cultural imperialism. Whatever the term, Willis quite accurately describes what the danger is in the above summary. In his description I suggest to take 'what should be taught etc.' broadly, that is, as not just encompassing the selection of courses but also choice of topics within courses and pedagogy.  The danger described then becomes obvious. All content is value laden, although some, such as religion, presumably more than other, such as programming languages. So with the content come all kinds of Western values. Second, pedagogy matters too. A pedagogy that heavily relies on Socratic discourse, which assumes you will challenge your professor, does not sit well with societies that put much value on authority. Luckily, this second objection is a less serious one in the current MOOCs as these heavily rely on a transfer or broadcasting model of teaching. However, the objection of the value-ladenness of content remains. 

 

Willis however is not convinced there is a danger. His counter-argument is that he is not convinced that this kind of criticism 'does real justice to historical notions of neocolonialism'. But that strikes me as quite beside the point. Perhaps he is right that the name used to label the criticism is unfortunate or plain wrong, but that does in no way violate the matter of the argument labeled. I for one still believe there is a serious danger of imposing Western cultural values and for that reason alone would dread the day that Sebastian Thrun's predication that in 50 years time only 10 universities survive comes true (that he apparently has retracted his prediction does not detract from the fact that he had no moral objections to its becoming true, on the contrary). See for details a series of blog posts of mine. 

(http://tiny.cc/6ced0w)

 

However, let's assume for the sake of argument that Willis addresses material issues rather than semantic ones only. One argument is that MOOCs do not hold financial power over students outside the US. I beg to differ. Actually, MOOCs even do in the US. If authorities decide to divert funding from education, students either have the choice to pay even more fees and tuitions or 'take a MOOC'. If that doesn't affect you financially  what does? Willis conclusion is that 'the question [of the ill effects of MOOCs] is one of global versus local context' and admits that 'value systems of an influential first-world country can have tangible effect on the localized contexts of people worldwide'. Exactly! (@pbsloep)

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timokos's curator insight, July 18, 2013 3:07 AM

Global versus Local: an important question!

 

"While MOOCs may not be neocolonialist strictly speaking, they certainly have the ability to irrevocably alter localized contexts. So, the question becomes: do MOOCs redefine what a global and local context mean?"

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How to value the merits and demerits of MOOCs? | Peter B. Sloep - Stories to TEL, blog

How to value the merits and demerits of MOOCs? | Peter B. Sloep - Stories to TEL, blog | Networked Learning - MOOCs and more | Scoop.it

A blogpost of mine which suggests to widen the discussions about the pedagogical value of MOOCs by seeing them as learning environments which result from a particular set of design considerations.

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timokos's curator insight, July 7, 2013 5:45 PM

Good article on the need to focus on the analysis and evaluation of the pedagogy of MOOCs

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On the MOOC Challenge to Traditional Higher Education | Jonathan Marks - Commentary Magazine

On the MOOC Challenge to Traditional Higher Education | Jonathan Marks - Commentary Magazine | Networked Learning - MOOCs and more | Scoop.it

In a recent Minding the Campus essay, Benjamin Ginsberg, professor of political science at Johns Hopkins, worries about Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). …  Ginsberg, though he has no beef with smaller online classes, is among the denouncers of MOOCs. … he does fear that cost-cutting administrators at other institutions will happily embrace a “curriculum in which students watch canned lectures and take computer-graded exams.” Such students “would receive a paltry and pathetic education.”

Peter B. Sloep's insight:

As a course of action, Jonathan Marks reports, Ginsburg proposes to withstand the MOOCification of curricula. Part of it is to name and shame professors who teach courses through MOOCs and their schools. Marks finds this advice wanting and suggests we first set out to 'think more seriously about the merits and limits of MOOCs'. His argument for why we should do so, is strong. Unfortunately, the article is weak on fleshing out this point of evidence gathering. Marks propagates what is approaching the status of an urban myth, that we know very little about the learning effects of online learning. This is simply not true. Distance teaching universities have researched media use for at least 25 years (cf. http://sco.lt/7jAgoT). But closer to home for Jonathan Marks, in 2009 already Barbara Means and co-workers published a meta-study that resulted from "A systematic search of the research literature from 1996 through July 2008. [It] identified more than a thousand empirical studies of online learning" (http://tiny.cc/n15kzw). And then there is the study by William Bowen Marks himself discusses. 

 

So there is evidence but, as Tony Bates among others has pointed out, it is the wrong kind of evidence. In these studies a course taught through different media, say face-to-face and purely online, is studied for differences in learning effects. The aim is to attribute the superior learning results of either one version of the course to the medium through which it has been taught. However, 'medium' is not a genuine single factor, it bundles a lot of differences under one rubric. So face-to-face is about a particular professor with a particular teaching style, a particular class size, particular means to support his or her teaching, etc. Similarly, online is about a particular LMS or VLE, about a particular quality of the resources, a particular instructional design behind the online course, etc. As Tony Bates puts it; "… different media can be used to assist learners to learn in different ways and achieve different outcomes" (http://tiny.cc/5t6kzw). 

 

In my opinion, therefore, if we want to know about the merits and demerits of MOOCs, we need to follow a design-based approach. We need to pick a particular course to turn into a MOOC, then develop an appropriate instructional design for it and improve that in a number of cycles. Only then we can start asking questions about effectiveness, efficiency, satisfaction, accessibility and the like. We may never be able to say in an unqualified way that the MOOC version of a course is as good as or worse than the face-to-face version. "It depends" should be the answer, and the real knowledge resides in what it depends on. Critics and evangelists of MOOCs alike will have to make do with this, anything else would amount to deceiving themselves. (@pbsloep)

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Research publications on Massive Open Online Courses and Personal Learning Environments | Rita Kop - Welsh Cloggy blog

Research publications on Massive Open Online Courses and Personal Learning Environments | Rita Kop - Welsh Cloggy blog | Networked Learning - MOOCs and more | Scoop.it

People interested in Massive Open Online Courses will probably be aware of the research by Helene Fournier and me on Personal Learning Environments and MOOCs. … The research has resulted in a number of publications and I thought it might be useful to post links to all of our journal articles, conference papers and presentations that were published  in relation to PLEs and MOOCs in one space.


Via Susan Bainbridge
Peter B. Sloep's insight:

And that is exactly what this blog post by Rita Kop aka Welsh Cloggy is about, a clickable list of publications focused on one specific MOOC, PLENK2010. For those to whom this doesn't ring a bell, beware. The publications are about cMOOCs, the connectivist variant of MOOCs, which are almost the antithesis of xMOOCs, the ones about which there is so much to do. Not only are cMOOCs the older ones, these articles also provide a lot of pause to think about how we may or could or perhaps even should take xMOOCs forward to provide a less rigid and more social experience to the learners. (@pbsloep)

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MOOCs, MIT and Magic | Tony Bates - online learning and distance education resources

MOOCs, MIT and Magic | Tony Bates -  online learning and distance education resources | Networked Learning - MOOCs and more | Scoop.it

Why is MIT ignoring 25 years of research into online learning and 100 years research into how students learn in its design of online courses?

Peter B. Sloep's insight:

This blogpost is a detailed account by Tony Bates of why he thinks this is the case and what the implications of this observation are for educational research and instructional design. He first discusses four presentations that were given at MIT's recent LINC 2013 (Learning International Networks Consortium) conference. These presentations (by MIT's Sanjay Sarma, Sir John Daniel, edX's Anant Agarwal and Tony Bates) each cover a different point from which to view online learning, specifically MOOCs. Tony Bates then goes on to focus on how MIT in particular approaches online teaching with its edX platform. As indicated, he is rather disappointed with it, as MIT seem to ignore previous and often excellent past educational research. To single out two of his comments: For its MOOCs MIT uses lecture capturing as its main technology, this fits in with their behaviourist approach to teaching. 25 years of research at open universities, spearheaded by the Open University in the UK, has not only revealed the limited effectiveness of such an approach, it also has come up with a wealth of alternatives. In spite of what MIT seems to think, these can reenact the richness of informal communications that MIT claims their campus-based teaching (and the corridors and coffee corners in its buildings, I would add) offers. 

 

This observation of the state of affairs of educational research at MIT is all the more interesting as it is my impression (see my blogpost on this: http://tiny.cc/tj3bzw) that Harvard, MIT's founding partner institution in edX, takes a much more sophisticated approach to the role educational research could and should play. To them, edX is a means to carry out such research and they are aware of what insights educational research has already brought us. Nevertheless, the lack of impact of educational research could not be a matter of lack of knowledge, but a lack of status of instructional designers (as Tony Bates suggests may be the case at MIT) (@pbsloep)

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Will MOOCs help to democratise higher education? | Karen MacGregor - University World News

Will MOOCs help to democratise higher education? | Karen MacGregor - University World News | Networked Learning - MOOCs and more | Scoop.it

The democratisation of higher education requires widening access to studies that lead to useful qualifications, and giving people more opportunities to select study programmes themselves and easily design their own courses from the rich pool of material freely available, Sir John Daniel told the “Worldviews 2013” conference last week. The question is whether massive open online course, or MOOCs, will help or hinder that process.

Peter B. Sloep's insight:

The article is an account of a keynote Sir John Daniel gave at the Worldviews 2013 conference. He unpacks democratisation as either widening access or as students themselves determining what they study. Widening access may simply mean increasing enrolment, but it often specifically refers to removing the stumbling blocks for access, as open universities have done over the four last decades (freedom of place, pace and time of study). Technology plays a role in this but it changes as new technologies become available. The second interpretation of democratising education has a more recent origin and is nowadays referred to as open educational resources. What I find interesting about this account of democratising education is that it connects the characteristics of open universities with the availability of open educational resources (OERs) and reveals them to be two sides of the same coin. 

 

Do these sides come together in MOOCs? From my perspective they might do in cMOOCs, which heavily rely on OERs and through their online character put no constraints on time (but they do on time and pace). They certainly don't in xMOOCs. Although access to the course materials does not require a fee, the materials are not open in the sense that they may be edited or even used by third parties (such as non-participating universities). Here too, there is no constraint on the place of study but there is on the time and pace. Which prompts the question of whether a marriage of these two kinds of democratisation would indeed be an interesting development and, consequently, whether this is something open universities should pick up. Two initiatives suggest this is already taking place. The one is FutureLearn (http://futurelearn.com), initiated by the Open University of the UK, the other is OpenupEd (http://www.openuped.eu), an initiative of the European Association of Distance Teaching Universities (http://www.eadtu.eu), backed by the EU's Lifelong Learning Programme. (@pbsloep)

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MOOCs and Distance Education Institutions | Terry Anderson - Virtual Canuck, Teaching and Learning in a Net-Centric world, blog

MOOCs and Distance Education Institutions | Terry Anderson - Virtual Canuck, Teaching and Learning in a Net-Centric world, blog | Networked Learning - MOOCs and more | Scoop.it

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.

Peter B. Sloep's insight:

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)

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'MOOC' Provider Coursera Jumps Into K-12 and Teacher Ed. | Sean Cavanagh - Education Week

'MOOC' Provider Coursera Jumps Into K-12 and Teacher Ed. | Sean Cavanagh - Education Week | Networked Learning - MOOCs and more | Scoop.it

Coursera, a major player in the world of providing "massively open online courses" in higher education, is making its first move into the K-12 landscape through an effort to provide free training and professional development to teachers in the United States and other countries.

Peter B. Sloep's insight:

If you have doubts about the quality of the education that MOOCs provide you now have cause to be worried even more. According to this announcement, not only the student entering higher education have been taught through MOOCs, so have their teachers. So much for the quality of eduction. 

 

Of course, I am exaggerating, people will come to their senses and realise kids in K-12 don't need knowledge be poured into their brains, they need a socially rich environment with a human being for a teacher and other kids in which and because of which you learn. MOOCs for continuous development of teacher are not such a bad idea. The majority of MOOCs is used by people for continuous development anyway, so why not for teacher education. Still, there is some reason to be concerned. Research (see note) has shown that it is  not so much content itself that helps teachers keep up and become better, it is content put in the context of teaching their topic, it is pedagogically enriched content. So although a MOOC might be a good way to dip into something new, to be able to teach it requires more than just listening to lectures. (@pbsloep)

 

Note: there is a lot of literature about this. A good point of access is Van Veen, K., Zwart, R., Meirink, J., & Verloop, N. (2010). Professionele ontwikkeling van leraren; een reviewstudie naar effectieve kenmerken van professionaliseringsinterventies van leraren. (Reviewstudie in opdracht van en gesubsidieerd door NWO-PROO Grant no. 441-080353). Leiden. Even though the mean text is in Dutch and presumably lost on many, it being a review study means it contains a welter of useful references to English papers: http://tiny.cc/wqwpyw

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Personal learning environments' emerging as K-12 trend to watch | Katie Ash - Education Week, Digital Curricula Evolving

Personal learning environments' emerging as K-12 trend to watch | Katie Ash - Education Week, Digital Curricula Evolving | Networked Learning - MOOCs and more | Scoop.it

It's clear that more and more schools are aiming to prepare students for a global marketplace that requires networked learning experiences, an understanding of digital citizenship, and a way to navigate and organize a stream of information and resources from a variety of different sources.

...

"This sort of [networked] learning actually helps students organize themselves in a very busy world," Mr. Hollinger said. "Before, when students were working, they would get lost in the hubbub of everything that happens online. We found it was essential for them to be able to create a space [for those resources]."

Peter B. Sloep's insight:

Many have argued that maintaining employability in a knowledge society demands that learning doesn't stop when graduating, rather it requires that the formal, school-based learning be succeeded by a life of continuous learning, mostly in informal settings. Sensible though this may be, there is a problem. Formal learning breeds an attitude of dependence, listening to your teachers and complying with school rules. Informal learning is largely independent, self-guided learning, which requires almost the opposite attitude of being selective about what others claim and making up your own rules. Therefore, if lifelong learning for the knowledge society has any chance to take root, schools (starting at the secondary level already, K-12) should help their students and pupils to become independent learners. Since this requires nothing less than a change of philosophy, it goes without saying that actually doing so is not easy. 

 

The article's idea of teaching children to create and maintain their own personal learning environment therefore is a much to be welcomed initiative. Thus far, PLEs have mainly caught on in the realm of professional development, with people as Jane Hart and Harold Jarche arguing for the important role they can have in the corporate world. However, this article shows that people in secondary education have perfectly understood that children already should be trained to do so. 

 

The article makes much of the use of Symboloo, with which I am not familiar. But it is important that the children are not taught the tricks of a particular tool but rather become familiar with the idea of creating and maintaining a PLE, irrespective of its implementation in a particular tool. (@pbsloep)

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Louise Lewis's curator insight, June 7, 2013 7:04 PM

PLEs are the environment of the future

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Learning in networks and in communities of practice | Peter Sloep - Stories to TEL

Learning in networks and in communities of practice | Peter Sloep - Stories to TEL | Networked Learning - MOOCs and more | Scoop.it

A blog post of mine on the difference between a learning network and a community of practice: Although different, they are very much interdependent

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The attack of the MOOCs | The Economist, Higher Education

The attack of the MOOCs | The Economist, Higher Education | Networked Learning - MOOCs and more | Scoop.it

An army of new online courses is scaring the wits out of traditional universities. But can they find a viable business model?

Peter B. Sloep's insight:

This concise article contains little news for those who keep up to date on MOOC developments. However, it still is useful in that it only takes on the question of whether (higher) education with MOOCs can be turned into a viable business. This is revealing, both in that the Economist concludes that the verdict is still out on that question and in that no single sentence is devoted to the question of whether this is a good idea in the first place. (@pbsloep)

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Gabi Witthaus's curator insight, August 22, 2013 4:04 AM

Good commentary by Peter Sloep: "This concise article contains little news for those who keep up to date on MOOC developments. However, it still is useful in that it only takes on the question of whether (higher) education with MOOCs can be turned into a viable business. This is revealing, both in that the Economist concludes that the verdict is still out on that question and in that no single sentence is devoted to the question of whether this is a good idea in the first place." (@pbsloep)

 

I suppose it is The Economist, after all...

drsmetty's curator insight, August 25, 2013 7:26 AM

Offering MOOC's... a “lemming-like rush”? Interesting metaphor.

Fiona Harvey's curator insight, September 21, 2013 7:16 AM

Business models are appearing - Coursera announced this week that they have made $1million on their Signature track (although this pales into insignificance against their investors $66 million) Better than nothing though!  Interesting article though. 

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All my scoops in July 2013 | Peter Sloep - Stories to TEL

All my scoops in July 2013 | Peter Sloep - Stories to TEL | Networked Learning - MOOCs and more | Scoop.it

As a service to my scoop.it followers and readers, a blog post of mine containing the publication date, title, author and source of all my scoops in March, 2013. There are hyperlinks to the scoops as well.

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A MOOC Delusion: Why Visions to Educate the World Are Absurd | Ghanashyam Sharma - The Chronicle of Higher Education

A MOOC Delusion: Why Visions to Educate the World Are Absurd | Ghanashyam Sharma - The Chronicle of Higher Education | Networked Learning - MOOCs and more | Scoop.it

[…] perhaps the most prominent motivation among professors at prestigious universities for teaching massively open online courses, or MOOCs, is “altruism—a desire to increase access to higher education worldwide.” […] After seven years of being within American academe, first as a graduate student and now as an instructor, I share that desire. […] But I don’t share the delusion that seems to be the basis for the excitement over MOOCs among my colleagues here in the United States. There is a dire need for some healthy skepticism among educators about the idea that MOOCs are a wonderful means to go global in order to do good.

Peter B. Sloep's insight:

Using himself as an example, Ghanashyam Sharma then points out how local courses are, how much culture is silently presupposed and therefore, how difficult it is to have one particular course cater for a worldwide audience: '… students in other parts of the world have their “own realities,” their “own context and culture.” It would be absurd to ignore how significantly those realities shape students’ participation in our virtual classrooms.'  If you are not convinced, read the discussion that follows the article. There Ghanashyam Sharma points out how his argument holds even for a computer science course and biologist Raymond Richie chimes in with examples from biology. Highly recommended! (@pbsloep)

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Higher ed leaders urge slow down of MOOC train | Ry Rivard - Inside Higher Ed

Higher ed leaders urge slow down of MOOC train | Ry Rivard - Inside Higher Ed | Networked Learning - MOOCs and more | Scoop.it

As scores of colleges rush to offer free online classes, the mania over massive open online courses may be slowing down. Even top proponents of MOOCs are acknowledging critical questions remain unanswered, and are urging further study.

Peter B. Sloep's insight:

Universities such as the University of Chicago are beginning to wonder whether it is such a good idea to put the fate of higher education in the hands of companies. MOOC proponents such as Sebastian Thrun and Andrew Ng start to tone down their own strong predictions about the future of MOOCs (and higher ed. in general). Education professionals have begun questioning the wisdom of promoting the kind of pedagogy that MOOCs exemplify. 

 

So the noises that MOOC sceptics have been making all along are beginning to be heard. If Gartner is right, we need another year to assess what valuable contributions MOOCs have made to our understanding of online learning. If finally one begins to understand that MOOCs exemplify a particular kind of online learning only, that other, perhaps more apt forms may be designed which work in conjunction with offline learning, then enduring the brouha has been worth it. Signs are that this may indeed happen, see the recent blog by Tony Bates (http://tiny.cc/wqgyzw). If we go back to business as usual, then we have wasted an enormous amount of time and energy (I am not saying 'money', as that is the nature of venture-capital funded projects). @pbsloep

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Peter B. Sloep's comment, July 9, 2013 9:46 AM
hmm, that's an interesting take. I agree that some (often particular politicians) out there are only too happy to have a go at universities as wasteful, unproductive, etc. I also know that seriously thinking about ICT in education (see my blog below), or perhaps I should say alternative ways of teaching some of which involve the online, is something not all lecturers are willing to explore. What I don't like about hyped discussions is that room for serious arguments, which include pause for thought and the collection of empirical data - rapidly gets depleted. So I am not a MOOC critic per se, but I am very critical of many of the discussions around them.
Frederik Truyen's comment, July 9, 2013 10:40 AM
I agree fully with that! I particular there is some promise in Learning Analytics to see if we can actually measure effectiveness of learning. MOOC criticism and serious study is certainly justified, often I have the impression the fire is somewhat misdirected. Anyway it offers a great opportunity to rethink, and as you say, study more deeply.
timokos's curator insight, July 9, 2013 11:55 AM

Great quote by Carol Geary Schneider, the head of the Association of American Colleges and Universities: 


"MOOCs can amplify the “least productive pedagogy” in American higher education, which she calls lectures followed by multiple-choice tests. But she does see potential for MOOCs to help flip classrooms so professors can spend less time lecturing in class and more time engaging students.

 

It would be a tragedy if you substituted MOOCs in their current form for regular courses,” she said in an interview. “But it would be a creative breakthrough if you take advantage of MOOCs and other forms of online coverage to make more space and more time for students to apply concepts and methods appropriate to their field to real problems.”

 

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MOOCs in Europe, an overview | Pierre Dillenbourg - slides

Peter B. Sloep's insight:

A useful collection of 51 slides, inventorying the state of MOOC usage in Europe. Of course, the inventory is incomplete in that countries and projects are missing, but it is a good starting point for awareness raising. The collection also contains an invitation to contribute slides. So if you are aware of European MOOC initiatives, contribute! (@pbsloep)

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drsmetty's curator insight, August 25, 2013 7:40 AM

Interesting list of MOOC's in Europe.

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All my scoops in June 2013 | Peter Sloep - Stories to TEL blog

All my scoops in June 2013 | Peter Sloep - Stories to TEL blog | Networked Learning - MOOCs and more | Scoop.it

As a service to my scoop.it followers and readers, a blog post of mine containing the publication date, title, author and source of all my scoops in June, 2013. There are hyperlinks to the scoops as well.

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Dynamic Learning Networks Expand Knowledge Sharing and Collaboration in Leading Companies | PRWEB

Brandon Hall Group released this week The Shifting Workforce: Driving Development with Dynamic Learning Networks, a research paper that details how four leading companies are expanding their corporate learning environments to encompass structured knowledge sharing, collaboration, peer coaching, and experience-based connections.

Peter B. Sloep's insight:

The term 'research paper' is somewhat of a misnomer, that is, if you expect a paper in which factual claims are backed by data and the heritage of the ideas put forth is acknowledged by referring to people who first published those ideas. Although they do claim the paper is based on interviews with people at the companies, the ideas they describe about social learning, about learning in communities, about peer support are not attributed to anyone and seem to originate from the Brandon Hall research group. Even if the paper ostensibly serves marketing purposes, I find this reprehensible. But setting such quibbles aside, the Brandon Hall report is valuable and interesting as it makes a plea for professional networked learning and describes peer support as a powerful means to facilitate such learning. It does so by examining four large companies who have embraced networked learning.

 

For those of you who are familiar with professional networked learning, the paper contains not so much novelty. What caught my attention, though, is their attempt to blend informal development and knowledge sharing with formal training. Thus the companies have deployed a platform (®River) for networked learning through peers who engage in community formation  (for which the report seems to be a plug), but they also retain their LMS. Another thing that struck me is the pivotal role they attribute to competencies. Whether learning informally in the network or formally in the LMS, employee development is gauged in terms of competency development. Although there certainly is a place for that, lists of competencies rapidly  become a straightjacket. Either people refrain from learning new things (knowledge creation) altogether or if they do it remains under the company's radar. Neither, I would say, is in the company's interest (@pbsloep)

 

NB This scoop refers to a press release about said report. It contains a link to the report itself, which you may download after leaving your contact.

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Waypoints in the MOOC Debates, Part III: The Udacity-Georgia Tech Contract | Christopher Newfield - Remaking the University

Waypoints in the MOOC Debates, Part III: The Udacity-Georgia Tech Contract | Christopher Newfield - Remaking the University | Networked Learning - MOOCs and more | Scoop.it

I have spent some time trying to understand the MOOC business model, and yesterday Inside Higher Ed published one result, my 2000 word study of the Udacity-Georgia Tech contract, "Where are the Cost Savings?"   … Yesterday afternoon, Udacity founder Sebastian Thrun blogged on the Georgia Tech deal and commented on some of the points of my article. … I haven't found Dr. Thrun's post so helpful about the numbers.  But it does offer an important retrenchment in MOOC rhetoric.

Peter B. Sloep's insight:

What then follows is a list of five claims that Sebastian Thrun has made earlier and now significantly weakens or even gainsays. The most poignant one is Thrun's now six-months old claim reported in the Economist that in 50 years the world has room for 10 universities only. Others are about the zero-dollar marginal costs of MOOCs, their lack of need for human contact, Udacity's cheap infrastructure and the democratising effect MOOCs supposedly have because of their openness. Most importantly, the promised cost savings do not seem to be realised, although Thrun is silent about this. The authors don't blame him, after all he is a company CEO, but do blame public officials for entering into deals without fully knowing the financial implications. 

 

If the authors are right, public universities thus seem to be on the brink of selling out themselves to venture capital in the hope of making massive cost savings. They are backed or even forced by politicians to do so, who, no doubt  expect to gain political mileage from promising parents an elite university education for their children at low prices. However, as the authors show, there is little hope that  the promised savings will in fact materialise. What remains is that, in the process, public education has died at the hands of Silicon-Valley-inspired venture capitalists.  Guess who is going to pay for the damages. (@pbsloep)

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verstelle's curator insight, June 27, 2013 2:24 AM

Important debat, about the $7000 online master in Computer Sciences, a cooperation between Georgia Tech and MOOC-producer Udacity. 

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Pinterest: digital identity, Stepford Wives edition | Bonny Stewart - theory.cribchronicles.com

Pinterest: digital identity, Stepford Wives edition | Bonny Stewart - theory.cribchronicles.com | Networked Learning - MOOCs and more | Scoop.it

Using social media shapes who we are, and how we see ourselves. Social media relies on identity: on handles or names or pseudonyms that represent us and our contributions to the rest of our networks. Pinterest is the same: when I sign up, I get an account, under a name of my choosing. People can see what I share. Being “re-pinned” means what I’m sharing is stuff people want to see. To our networks, we are what we share. ... Curation is as much a part of our digital identity practices as creation, today. It’s what Pinterest operates on, entirely. But at the express expense of creation.

 


Via catspyjamasnz
Peter B. Sloep's insight:

Our online or digital identity matters. Whaf if the image we portray of it consists of 'scooped' or 'pinned' materials only? Our identity then is a borrowed one, not even reflecting who we are but who we aspire to be. Of course, curation in the pre-online age was about creation too and so it still should be in the digital age (see also my blog about a year of content creation http://tiny.cc/ncc8yw) (@pbsloep)

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Clare Treloar's curator insight, June 25, 2013 6:14 PM

Now here is an article English students could sink their teeth into! Shaping of identity and social media are not only topical but our kids needed to get into deeper issues re what their accounts project.

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MOOCs & Quality | Martin Weller - MOOC Quality Project

MOOCs & Quality | Martin Weller - MOOC Quality Project | Networked Learning - MOOCs and more | Scoop.it

I’m tempted to suggest that above all MOOCs should hang a sign that declares “abandon all quality measures”, because most of the ones we have developed for formal education don’t apply in MOOCs. We have developed a set of quality measures based on a specific relationship between the education provider and the student. That relationship is fundamentally altered in a MOOC, and so those of existing measures are not applicable.

Peter B. Sloep's insight:

Martin Weller then goes on to examine quality using the intentions of MOOC providing institutions and their students as yardsticks. He argues that particularly learners have intentions that vary widely from students in formal education, not worse or better, just different. Thus he identifies leisure learners (for enjoyment), drive-by learners (because it is free), and antagonistic learners (to check whether I am right in not wanting to learn about this topic). And then of course there are those who engage in MOOC learning for professional development. With the differing intentions should come different quality measures, Martin argues. This is also needed because formal education and MOOCs have different filtering mechanisms: formal education restricts input, MOOCs output. Therefore, say, completion rates as a measure of quality cannot be compared across formal education and MOOCs. 

 

This is a very valuable contribution to the discussion about MOOCs, one that probably goes wider than the assessment of quality: MOOC learning is a different beast than formal education, so treat it differently. Doing so would also imply that pitting MOOCs and formal education against each other as alternative ways of providing and education to our children, makes no sense. If anything, then, they are complementary. (@pbsloep)

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M.A.P.'s curator insight, June 24, 2013 3:00 PM

An important essay that I hope our team will read it.

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The MOOC bubble and the attack on public education | Aaron Bady - Academic Matters

The MOOC bubble and the attack on public education | Aaron Bady - Academic Matters | Networked Learning - MOOCs and more | Scoop.it

MOOCs are, and will be, big business, and the way that their makers see profitability at the end of the tunnel is what gives them their particular shape. … the MOOCs which are now being developed by Silicon Valley startups … aim to do exactly the same thing that traditional courses have always done -transfer course content from expert to student - only to do so massively more cheaply and on a much larger scale. … MOOCs are simply a new way of maintaining the status quo, of re-institutionalizing higher education in an era of budget cuts, skyrocketing tuition, and unemployed college graduates burdened by student debt. … the California legislature proposes to solve a real systemic crisis - collapsing public resources, diminishing affordability, and falling completion rates in the state’s higher education system - by sending its students to MOOCs. … If this bill passes, the winners will be Silicon Valley and the austerity hawks in the California legislature … To put it quite bluntly, MOOCs are a speculative bubble, a product being pumped up and overvalued by pro-business government support and a lot of hot air in the media. Like all speculative bubbles—especially those that originate in Silicon Valley—it will eventually burst. 

Peter B. Sloep's insight:

This article does not really sing a song that is much different from the song sung by many other opponents of MOOCs. However, it does so quite elegantly and forcefully. For that reason alone it is worth reading.

 

MOOC proponents have never shied away from making bold predications, like Sebastian Thrun who predicted that "Fifty years from now there will be only 10 institutions in the whole world that deliver higher education" (http://tiny.cc/83ygyw). Aaron faces them squarely when he claims that "MOOCs are a speculative bubble … [which] will eventually burst". I would hope it does, in the way he describes them as affecting Californian HE. I hope too, though, that the discovery of distance teaching that MOOCs exemplify, has a lasting effect, by making people reflect on the pedagogy, organisation and economics of (higher) education. (@pbsloep)

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