Integrating MOOC in German HEI strategies for digital teaching

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  • 1. Integrating MOOC in German HEI strategies for digital teaching Dissertation Proposal for presentation at GO-GN Research Seminar Cape Town, 6-13 December 2013 
 Felix C Seyfarth, Universität St Gallen felix.seyfarth@unisg.ch
  • 2. MOOC: definitional space for an emergent form narrow
 definition broad
 definition Massive unlimited number
 of participants “many” participants
 (> Dunbar number) Open openly accessible to all comers
 without restriction or cost openness of learning goals, curriculum design, participatory forms, content Online teaching exclusively online blended/hybrid learning approaches might teach online and on-campus Courseware course-like organisation with a
 structure of assignment cycles emphasis on community and collaboration, flexible structure
  • 3. MOOC hype & skepticism: An emergent form of teaching or a one-hit wonder? John Hennessy, Stanford University: „There‘s a tsunami coming“" " Tom Friedman, New York Times:
 „Revolution hits the universities“" " Time Magazine:" “Ivy League for the Masses”" " New York Times Higher Education:" 2012 is “Year of the MOOC”" duz 7/13" “Will Video ruin academic teaching?”
  • 4. MOOC in Germany: Federal action vs. regional hesitation (“Länder”) • MOOC Production Fellowship (10x25k EUR), May 2013 via iversity • DAAD conference in Bonn, Nov 2013 • Stakeholder meeting by CHE/Stifterverband (SV) in Berlin, Nov 2013 • White paper of German Rector’s Conference (HRK), May 2014 • BMBF, CHE, SV, HRK:
 Forum “Digitization of HEI”, Jan 2014 - Dec 2016, 3.5 Mio EUR
  • 5. MOOC & HEI: roots and antecedents
 (or: why I am here) • precursor global HigherEd movements/trends:
 e-Learning, Open Software, Open Educational Resources (OER), Open Courseware (OCW), Open Access (OA), Open Distance Learning (ODL) • Research into pedagogic models for learning under conditions of information overflow and technology-assisted learning: Connectivism
 (Siemens 2006, Cormier 2008, Siemens/Tittenberger 2009, McAuley/Stewart/Siemens/Cormier 2010) • necessary condition (Big Bang, 2011):
 Silicon Valley/Stanford University: Sebastian Thrun teaches 150.000 students • sufficient conditions (societal, 21st century):
 Digital Literacy - Millenials, Network Society/Knowledge Society, Silver Surfers
  • 6. The puzzle of MOOC in North America & Europe: a “revolutionary” “avalanche” or “e-Learning 2.0”? • Stanford/Silicon Valley (commercial, not open): Udacity (Thrun), Coursera (Koller) • MIT/Harvard (non-profit, open?): EdX = solves the dilemma of (growing) demand and (spiraling) cost, broader access
 includes promising business model & somewhat progressive ideology" " • UK: FutureLearn (co-operation of BBC/Open University) • EU: OpenupEd (co-operation of national and institutional partners) • DE: commercial start-up ventures (iVersity et al.), individual/institutional HE enthusiasts = fairly expensive solution which in the context of freely available public education
 appears to be looking for an ideologically suspect problem (modularisation, competition)
  • 7. Research Question (what interests me and what would I like to find out?) How can differing types of German HEI integrate into their digitalisation strategies recently emergent forms of virtual teaching within their politico-regulatory context to address systemic educational challenges?
  • 8. Research Sub-Question 1 (landscape): Ecology and features of German HEI • structures of academic teaching are secularized outgrowth of the medieval feudal system for religious schooling & citizenship skills (“liberal arts”), retains charismatic features (Clarke 2006) • uniformity and normalization of modern academic instruction is a function of the surveillance and disciplinary needs of industrial capitalism (Foucault 1977) • 20th century evolution of European HEI is a process of incrementally superimposing sociopolitical demands onto the post-war “multiversity” (Kerr 1963), culminating in neoliberal “entrepreneurial universities” (Etzkowitz et al 2000) where students become equivalent to “customers” in an “educational marketplace” Hypothesis 1: Current phase of German HEI evolution concerns digitalisation of teaching, independent of institutional type (University, Technical U, Law School, Business School, U of Applied Sciences, Open U, etc.), but so far lacks comprehensive empirical data (“map”).
  • 9. Research Sub-Question 2 (digitization strategies): organised networks and network effects on HEI • MOOC participation rates show that there is a large pent-up societal demand, which historically has been the biggest driver for institutional change in education; the discussion of quality is moot if MOOC bring a disruptive force to the established system (Christensen 2007, 2008, 2011) • market forces increasingly impact a globalised educational landscape, and the history of digitalisation suggests that disintermediation (Katz 1988) and unbundling (Barber et al 2013) have rapid clustering, winner-take-all effects in Western learning societies (Lam/Lundvall 2007) • German HEI have are no (longer) technological engines of innovation: capacities and infrastructure are behind the innovation cycle and often outdated, error-prone or outright ailing; so instead they are reacting to the superior technological skills/tools of their members and of the private sector (Schulmeister 2013) • HEI are network organizations (Pettigrew/Whittington 2001, Butera 2002) and are therefore very susceptible to external transformative pressure of “organized networks” (Lovink/Rossiter 2006, Rossiter 2008) Hypothesis 2: German HEI need to (re)act strategically to the digitalisation of knowledge and learning of knowledge within a systemic framework addressing different organisational levels of the educational system and a differentiated institutional landscape.
  • 10. Research Sub-Question 3 (MOOC): Emergent digital forms of academic teaching • various definitions/acronyms (xMOOC, cMOOC, sMOOC, …) fail to capture the structural features of MOOC that incentivize/threaten conventional HEI; at the early stages of technological innovation long-term sociological implications are difficult to gauge (cf. Haggard et al. 2013) " • openness (in the OER sense: content, access) is a requirement, but additional dimension is openness and transparency in the processes of interaction between learner and instructor/moderator that builds on a dua lcritique of established learning models, i.e. Skinner et al: behaviouristic learning; Piaget: cognitivist learning; Vygotsky: social constructivist learning (Siemens 2006, Anderson 2008) 1. methodical individualism: how to model interpersonal, organizational or technologically mediated learning? 2. condition of knowledge society and informational overflow: how to model the meta-competencies for self-managed learning?
 • Connectivism (Downes 2012): state of knowledge and process of learning are no longer situated in the subjectivity of the individual, but include latent knowledge stored in personal knowledge/learning networks:
 how knowledge is acquired, learned, stored is implied in the number and quality of the individual’s connections (to other individuals, to organisations, to databases, to social media, etc.) Hypothesis 3: The multitude of massively scalable, open online course offerings defies conceptual definition or taxonomies. To capture the landscape of emergent teaching formats a morphological box is suitable to capture past, current and planned (?) formats.
  • 11. Research Sub-Question 4 (context): What potential do MOOC bring to the German use case? • Conversational Framework (Laurillard 2001): basic understanding of the interaction between teacher/mentor and learner as a conversation for transfer and validation/credentialing of knowledge; offers solution to the “2Sigma problem” (Bloom 1984) with explicit reliance on technologically mediated learning - elements of the conversation may be systematically mediated by technology without impacting quality of learning outcomes • MOOC innovation is pedagogical (not technological): decentralized, learner-focused, technologicallymediated model of “legitimate peripheral participation” (Lave/Wenger 1990) that emphasizes self-motivated, self-reliant peer-learning instead of explicit teacher instruction and institutional identity formation while maintaining course-like “eventedness” (Anderson 2008, White/Cornu 2010) • Situated Learning: (Lave/Wenger 1990): Learning theorized as participation in a community of practice, resembling mastery/apprenticeship learning; learning processes are embedded in multiple levels of a sociohistoric context (here: individual - course - institution - educational system). Hypothesis 4: Connectivist MOOC pedagogy is better suited than conventional formats of academic teaching (i.e. ex-cathedra lectures) to instill self-reliance, motivation, creativity and responsibility (for their education, for citizenship) in students if basic digital literacy can be presupposed.
  • 12. Research Sub-Question 5 (implementation): How can MOOC address systemic challenges to German HEI? • • • • • demographic change/internationalization: MOOC can help German HEI to reach the politically mandated 20% of international students by 2020 student success rates/throughput: on-campus drop-out rates can be reduced if students can be reached before starting a program and while taking voluntary or forced time off life-long learning/intergenerational learning/language learning: MOOC offer potential for intensive, course-like, distance and part-time learning reducing obstacles (gender, ethnicity, creed, geographic distance, family constellation, income, work…) to access quality higher education especially for more experienced learners interdisciplinary learning: connectivist MOOC are uniquely suitable to topic-driven learning informed by complex multiplicities marketing/brand management/fund-raising: connectivist MOOC result in social media/network artefacts that remain active over the entire learning biography of participants; MOOC make (on-campus) teaching transparent and allow institutional reputation to be based on quality and conditions of instruction instead of research-biased rankings Hypothesis 5: An empirically grounded MOOC model (institutional and systemic needs, production costs and teaching capacity) for the German use case is a valuable contribution for decision-makers.
  • 13. Research Design • Methodological challenge
 technology strategies located on institutional/system level (OT), learning strategies located on the individual/curricular level (LT); • Systemic & Institutions: Survey of 267 German HEI, supplemented by 6 institutional stakeholder and 6 expert interviews • [Individual & Curriculum: Case Study of iversity MOOC]