A Critical Examination of MOOCs with Remarks about Mini-MOOCs


Published on

CITERS2014 - Learning without Limits?
13 June 2014 (Friday)
14:50 – 15:40
Keynote 3: A Critical Examination of MOOCs with Remarks about Mini-MOOCs
Speaker: Professor J. Michael SPECTOR (Visiting Professor at HKU, Professor of Learning Technologies at the University of North Texas)
Chair: Dr. Sam CHU (Deputy Director, CITE, Faculty of Education, HKU)

Published in: Education, Technology
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

A Critical Examination of MOOCs with Remarks about Mini-MOOCs

  1. 1. “ G A T H E R E D F R O M C O I N C I D E N C E ” A Critical Examination of MOOCS with Remarks on Mini-MOOCS CITE 2014 Research Symposium J. Michael Spector, PhD Visiting Professor, Hong Kong University Professor of LearningTechnologies University of NorthTexas, Denton,TX USA Spector@hku.hk / Mike.Spector@unt.edu University of Hong Kong June 2014
  2. 2. Context The history of educational technology is long. Technologies change; new technologies are introduced and replace older technologies.The rate of change has accelerated significantly. In 1914, no one was thinking about personal computing or the Internet, yet these now dominant the world of education. In the past, technology fads have come and gone with little significant and sustained impact on learning. Will the current focus on such things as MOOCs and Wearable Devices suffer the same fate? June 2014J. Michael Spector 2
  3. 3. Abstract A hierarchical framework of components to support learning and instruction includes information objects, knowledge objects, learning objects, instructional objects, courses, programs and ongoing efforts, with each subsequent component building on the former components. For example, a course is a structured collected of instructional objects, which in turn are structured collections of learning objects with learning activities, feedback, and assessments (both formative and summative). Based on that hierarchical perspective, most of the current MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) are not actually courses.This presentation proposes taking what is good about the MOOC concept and transforming it into something that could be considered a course – namely, a Mini-MOOC. June 2014J. Michael Spector 3
  4. 4. “The times they are a changing”  It is the best of times  Powerful and flexible mobile technologies  Rich repositories of educational resources  Support for just-in-need/time feedback  Adaptive tools and techniques for personalization  It is the worst of times  Providing equitable access for all  Selecting and sequencing learning activities  Integrating technology effectively  Adapting to adaptive learning and instruction June 2014J. Michael Spector 4
  5. 5. Here we are … where are we going? A thought experiment:  Imagine it is 1914 …  There are no smartphones, no computers, no Internet, no television, no world wars …  You are asked what knowledge and skills you will need to be successful in the 20th century, and how you plan to develop that knowledge and those skills  What would you say?  The pace of technology change is accelerating …  Now it is 2014 …  Why believe we know what knowledge and skills will be needed to be successful in the 21st century or how knowledge and skills can best be developed? June 2014J. Michael Spector 5
  6. 6. Indication of change June 2014J. Michael Spector 6 96.2 38.8 16.5 29.5 9.8 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012* 2013* Per100inhabitants Global ICT developments, 2001-2013 Mobile-cellular telephone subscriptions Individuals using the Internet Fixed-telephone subscriptions Active mobile-broadband subscriptions Fixed (wired)-broadband subscriptions Note: * Estimate Source: ITU World Telecommunication /ICT Indicators database
  7. 7. Definition MOOC – Massive Open Online Course  Massive – as many as the system will support, often in the thousands  Open – anyone can participate, usually at no cost  Online – available via the Internet (asynchronously for the most part)  Course – some institutions call them courses, and some offer certificates of completion to participants; many are more like communities June 2014J. Michael Spector 7
  8. 8. MOOCs and More MOOCs  Early examples: 1. Connectivism and Connective Knowledge - George Siemens and Stephen Downes, 2008, more than 2200 participants 2. ALISON (Advanced Learning Interactive Systems Online) in Galway, Ireland, 2007, focusing on developing countries 3. HASTAC’s InformationYear, 2007, more than 100,000 participants 4. SebastianThrun and Peter Norvig’s AI MOOC at Stanford, 2011  See the following resources for more on MOOCs: 1. Bill and MelindaGates Foundation project at Athabasca University – http://www.moocresearch.com – takes a realistic and balanced view 2. http://www.mooc-list.com/?gclid=CLW8_pbNr74CFdd7vQodIKUABg – shows 60 MOOCs 3. Educause MOOC site - http://www.educause.edu/library/massive-open- online-course-mooc June 2014J. Michael Spector 8
  9. 9. Educational Goals and Technology  Educational Goals  Generally stable although there are disagreements and differing emphases  Develop (a) critical thinkers, (b) productive problem solvers, (c) responsible citizens, and (d) lifelong learners – emphasis varies  EducationalTechnologies  Change rapidly  Can facilitate or inhibit learning  Create a requirement to learn effective use  Tend not to focus on all educational goals June 2014J. Michael Spector 9
  10. 10. Conceptualizing Education  Education involves:  A. Basic skills such as reading, writing, and arithmetic  B. Competency in an area such as plumbing or physics  C. Higher order critical thinking/reasoning skills  D.The ability to solve complex, ill-structured problems  E. Cognitive development  F. Ethical and social responsibilities  G. None of the above  H. Some of the above  I. All of the above (careful now) June 2014J. Michael Spector 10
  11. 11. Education That which contributes to the development of responsible, thoughtful, productive, learning oriented (as opposed to opinion oriented) members of a group or society June 2014J. Michael Spector 11
  12. 12. 12 J. Micha el Spect or Instructional Planning Context: Levels and Representative Concerns Levels of Planning Representative Concerns Global (national) Cultural and political climate Institutional Alignment with mission Program Evaluation; Accreditation Curriculum Professional requirements Course Requirements; Goals; Evaluation Module Coherence; Sequencing; Context Lesson Objectives; Assessments; Content Unit Content; Context; Control; Relevance Activity Feedback; Meaningfulness; Timing Spector, 2013 12 June 2014
  13. 13. Example Debates  Lesson level  Collaborative learning: promoting thoughtful interchange vs. pooling ignorance; didactic vs. open- ended approaches  Open-ended inquiry learning: promoting self-regulation and metacognitive skills vs. further disadvantaging those already disadvantaged  Curriculum level  Developing basic knowledge and skills: producing certified students vs. discouraging creative and innovative students  Focusing on job markets and placements vs. focusing on problem-solving and flexible thinking skills June 2014J. Michael Spector 13
  14. 14. A Need for Measureable Goals  Is per-student funding a reasonable measure of support for education?  How important is support for educational research?  How important is support for professional development?  What are reasonable measures of progress at the state and national level?  Similar disparities and debates exist with regard to health care in the USA and elsewhere.  Does evidence matter? What evidence? June 2014J. Michael Spector 14
  15. 15. The New Normal – New Directions  Rhetorical Analysis – no significant change … education is great  Budget Analysis – spending less and less on education at every level (at least in the USA)  Cost Analysis – charging more and more for education at every level (in the USA anyway)  Tools to Support Learning and Instruction – beyond the wildest imagination  Ability to Make Effective Use of NewTools – beneath the lowest expectation June 2014J. Michael Spector 15
  16. 16. The 2014 NMC Horizon Report http://www.nmc.org/ June 2014J. Michael Spector KeyTrends  Fast: Growing ubiquity of social media  Fast: Integration of online, hybrid and collaborative learning  Mid-range: Rise of data-driven learning and assessments  Mid-range: Shift from students as consumers to students as creators (xMOOCs vs. cMOOCs)  Long-range: Agile approaches to change  Long-range: evolution of online learning 16
  17. 17. NMC: Significant Challenges  Solvable  Low digital fluency of faculty  Relative lack of rewards for teaching  Difficult  Competition from new models of education  Scaling teaching innovations (MOOCs)  Wicked  Expanding access (MOOCs)  Keeping education relevant June 2014J. Michael Spector 17
  18. 18. Important Developments  Near-term  Flipped classroom (MOOCs)  Learning analytics (MOOCs)  Mid-term  3D printing  Games and gamification  Far-term  Quantified self  Virtual assistants (MOOCs) June 2014J. Michael Spector 18
  19. 19. 2013 NMC Report of Significant Challenges (good to look back on occasion)  Digital media literacy important in every discipline  New forms of scholarship, authoring, publishing and research outpacing scalable modes of assessment  Educational processes and practices limiting adoption of new technologies  Personalized learning not adequately supported by current technologies and practices  Unprecedented competition for traditional education  Most academics not using new technologies for teaching, learning or research June 2014J. Michael Spector 19
  20. 20. The NSF Roadmap for Education Technology - http://www.cra.org/ccc/edtech.php Seven Grand Challenges  Personalizing education (MOOCs?)  Assessing student learning (MOOCs?)  Supporting social learning  Diminishing boundaries (MOOCs!)  Alternative teaching methods (MOOCs!)  Enhancing the role of stakeholders  Addressing policy changes June 2014J. Michael Spector 20
  21. 21.  Unit of analysis = learner, learning groups, support (e.g., teacher, assistants, etc.)  Focus = desired outcome plus associated outcomes (e.g., interest in the subject domain, higher order thinking skills, etc.)  Basic assumption = intermittent rationality  Sometimes learners select things that violate the principles or appearance of rationality – understanding why is important if the overarching goal is to improve and better support learning and instruction June 2014 21 A More Holistic Approach J. Michael Spector
  22. 22. June 2014J. Michael Spector 22
  23. 23. Tension & Troubled Waters  MOOCs (massive open online courses)  Opportunities to investigate learning (learning analytics)  Making sense of MOOCs – Sir John Daniel  Early cMOOCs based on connectivism and networking (e.g., the Univ of Manitoba course by George Siemens and Stephen Downes on Connectivism and Connective Knowledge)  Recent xMOOCs based on a behaviorist approach (e.g., efforts at Stanford, MIT, Harvard and UC-Berkeley)  High attrition rates; e.g., 155,000 registered for an MIT MOOC, only 7,157 passed the course  Little empirical research – anecdotal evidence; current use may create additional support for the promises of MOOCs to cure educational problems – advocacy vs. research June 2014J. Michael Spector 23
  24. 24. MOOC – Massive Open Online Course They lack instructional design, feedback and assessment June 2014J. Michael Spector MOOOC – Massively Overhyped Open Online Course MOOC – Massive Open Online Community 24 Current MOOCs may be appropriate for:  Introductory Courses – a knowledgeable, dynamic and inspiring instructor can encourage interest  Lessons with Well-defined Learning Goals – task analysis and assessments are more likely to be obvious and easily integrated and supported  Lessons where a live instructor will provide the missing instructional components Truth in Advertising
  25. 25. Badges and Mini-MOOCs  Badges (certificates) – recognition of achieving a level of competency for a particular well-defined task domain (e.g., knot tying, scuba diving, CPR, etc.)  Competency based – performance on a series of related tasks comprise the competency (also some basic knowledge components)  Activities are designed to develop skill in performing specific tasks  Formative feedback on the performance can often be automated  Instructional objects can then be constructed June 2014J. Michael Spector 25
  26. 26. An Example – Khan Academy Badges June 2014J. Michael Spector 26
  27. 27. A Khan Academy Lesson June 2014J. Michael Spector 27 https://www.khanacademy.org/math/probability/statistics-inferential
  28. 28. Use of Khan Academy Lessons in Schools June 2014J. Michael Spector 28  Sometimes video lessons are assigned as homework – implementing the flipped classroom  Sometimes video lessons are viewed in class – gives the teacher a chance to catch up on other duties  Most of the time, follow-up exercises are worked in class with the teacher going around the classroom and providing help to those who are struggling or giving more challenging problems to those making good progress – a flipped classroom model, with the teacher providing the components (activities, feedback and assessment) to turn Khan lessons into instructional objects – this instructional strategy works
  29. 29. Related Technologies  Personalized Learning & Learning Analytics  Individual one-on-one tutoring can create two sigma improvements in learning (Bloom, 1984 –The 2 Sigma Problem in Educational Researcher, 13(6), 4-16).  Significant effects from timely and informative feedback, time-on-task, cooperative participation in activities, completing homework, prerequisite knowledge, and the home environment.  Personalized learning is supported by just-in-task feedback (e.g., DEEP, HIMATT, AKOVIA) and by customizing learning activities based on learning analytics (what worked for others similarly situated).  How to determine ‘similarly situated’ and how to make the customization genuinely meaningful at a personal and individual learning level? June 2014J. Michael Spector 29
  30. 30. Related Synergies?  Learning analytics developed for MOOCs have potential for personalizing learning … BUT  Games can improve interest and motivation … BUT  MOOCs can increase access to courses and knowledge BUT judge success by completion rates  Still a need to provide timely, informative, constructive, formative feedback – a challenge  Still need to understand individual interests and inhibiting factors – a huge challenge June 2014J. Michael Spector 30
  31. 31. Related Learning Technologies June 2014J. Michael Spector MOOCs Mini-MOOCs Personalized Learning Gamification Learning Analytics 31
  32. 32. Promises, Promises, Promises  TV will bring experts and interest to the classroom teaching  Personal computers will make learning easy and ubiquitous  ITSs will individualize learning and ensure mastery  The Internet will revolutionize teaching and learning  MOOCs will revolutionize university education  But, the gains due to technology since 1950 are not so great June 2014J. Michael Spector 32
  33. 33. What is a teacher?  The voice that encourages, the ear that listens, the eye that reflects, the hand that guides, the face that does not turn away (Rabbi Joseph Spector)  A teacher is someone who helps students have questions – having a question requires humility (admitting that one does not know something), will (committing time and effort to finding answers/explanations), and openness (willingness to consider alternative explanations) June 2014J. Michael Spector 33
  34. 34. To have a question is to be in a state of uncertainty or not knowing AND to be engaged in a search for knowledge. We may know less than we are inclined to believe. Mike.Spector@unt.edu / Spector@hku.hk June 2014 Questions – Perhaps Answers J. Michael Spector 34
  35. 35. An Ending Questions of Conscience What will come from what I am now doing and likely to do in the next few years? What am I doing to improve learning, instruction and performance? Mike.Spector@unt.edu Spector@hku.hk June 2014J. Michael Spector 35