Everything You Need To Know About MOOCs (Well Almost)
Dr Iain DohertyeLearning Pedagogical Support UnitCentre for the Enhancement of Teaching and LearningThe University of Hong Kong3rd May 2013Everything You Needto Know About MOOCs(Well Almost)The University of Hong Kong
OverviewWhy Offer a MOOC?2Three Key MOOC Questions4What is a MOOC?31MOOCs in Context33The Different Types of MOOC35Will MOOCs “Succeed”?6
What is a MOOC?The term MOOC was coined by Dave Cormier orBryan Alexander (Alexander, 2008; Cormier,2008; Daniel, 2012; Masters & Qaboos, 2011; G.Siemens, 2012a) to describe a course onConnectivism (CCK08) organized by GeorgeSiemens and Stephen Downers in 2008, whichattracted 2,200 participants (Downes, 2010).
What is a MOOC?Massive Student numbers can be 100,000 +Open Study any course, anywhere at any timeOnline As opposed to face-to-face or blendedCourse Learning units in an academic subject
Why Offer a MOOC?MOOCs can profile aninstitution as aleading 21st Centuryeducationalinstitution.MOOCMOOCs may well be a“game changer” withrespect to how educationis delivered andconsumed andinstitutions need to be inthe MOOC space toexperience deliveringeducation in this way andto remain current witheducational practices.MOOCs provide anopportunity for aninstitution toexperiment withteaching practicesand to engage withnew pedagogicalapproaches.Institutions have a rangeof subject areas that arespecific to their regione.g. HK SAR / Chinacontext and HKU canshowcase these subjectsthrough offering MOOCcourses.An institution canmake knowledgemore accessible tothe general publicthrough offering arange of MOOCs.
MOOCs in Context The history of introducing technologies into teachingand learning has been one of over promise and underdelivery (Daniel, 2012; Reiser, 2001). Already seen the failure of two significant onlineventures – Fathom from Columbia University andALLLearn backed by Oxford, Stanford, Yale andPrinceton (Knight, 2012). Technologies will only be successfully integrated intoteaching and learning when teachers change the waythat they teach (Zemsky & Massy, 2004).
MOOCs in Context Although we have seen different teaching models (King,1993; McWilliam, 2008; George Siemens, 2005), wholesalechanges in teaching approaches have not come about and,as we shall see, they are not occurring to any particulardegree with MOOCs. We need to move beyond the use of technologies for thepurposes of information transmission. There has been progress in this area but too often we stillsee the Learning Management System – the enterprise toolof choice – used poorly for teaching and learning (Beer,Jones, & Clark, 2009; Browne, Jenkins, & Walker, 2006;Malikowski, 2011).
Teaching Must Come First The United Kingdom’s Open University ViceChancellor recognizes (Coughlan, 2012a) that teachingquality is a key issue that bears upon the ultimatesuccess of any particular MOOC provider. Worth listening It is easy to get into the OU but very difficult to comeout the other side with a qualification. The OU is self sustaining, provides a qualityeducation valued by employers and has solved thestudent identity issue for examination purposes.
Three Key MOOC Questions In terms of the success of any particular MOOC we canfocus on three key questions that will bear upon theirultimate success: What are the pedagogies that underpin the MOOC? What use is being made of technologies in theMOOC? What is the underlying philosophy / ethos of theMOOC? The majority of MOOCs are offered through MOOCplatforms and so these are organizational questions.
cMOOCs The first MOOC ever offered was acMOOC. Based on a Connectivist Learning Theory Knowledge / content is generated byteachers, students and multiple others. Multiple technologies – 12 in this firstMOOC – are used to connect peopleparticipating in the course. On the fringes but cutting edge in terms ofpedagogy and technologies
sMOOCsCoursera MOOCs could be characterized as a StandardMOOCs or an sMOOC. Founded in the fall of 2011 by Daphne Koller (Stanford)and Andrew Ng (Stanford) and was launched in April2012 after significant venture capital funding wassecured (MarketWire, 2012). As of 4th April 2013 Coursera has 62 university partnersand had registered over 3.5 million users enrolled inover 300 courses in 20 categories (Coursera, 2013a;Protalinksi, 2013a).
sMOOCs Grounded in behaviorist learning theorywith some cognitive components andsome constructivist components. This means transmission style teachingwith drill and practice, problem sets ande.g. discussion forums. Uses a limited range of technologies andcould be thought of in terms of LMS asplatform. Very much in the mainstream withmonetization a key component.
sMOOCs There is a lack of pedagogical focus which may have todo with the fact that Coursera institutions considerMOOCs to be a side line activity rather than a way toexplore new / better teaching and learning models(Armstrong, 2012; Daniel, 2012). The three key questions have been answered andsMOOCs have been characterized as “lacking” in anumber of ways. There are always exceptions (Knox et al., 2012).
xMOOCs edX could be characterized as anxMOOC. the X signifying excellence, externaloutreach, exploration, experimentationand expansion (Rodrick & Sun, 2012) –holds for edX which has grown out of atradition of exploring online teaching andlearning (Daniel, 2012). MIT announced MITx at the end of 2011for a launch in spring 2012. MITx hasnow morphed into edX with the additionof Harvard and UC Berkeley (EdX, 2012).
xMOOCs edX is not for profit (EdX, 2012)and has been financed to the tuneof US$ 60 million throughparticipating institutions andthrough “gifts” from Harvard andMIT alumni (EdX, 2012). As of November 2012 edX had370,000 students (Coursera had1.7 million at the same point in time)(Pappano, 2012).
xMOOCs edX At the time of writing edX has 33 courses (edX,2013a) offered by HarvardX, MITx and BerkeleyX. Beginning in fall 2013, edX will offer courses fromanother 11 universities. In 2014, edX will expandfurther through offering courses from an additional 9universities (edX, 2013b). Much more selective than Coursera and will capwhen they have recruited the best universities in theworld. edX is making statements about courses designedspecifically for the web (De Luzuriaga, 2012).
xMOOCs edX Aspirational statements about “creating new onlinelearning experiences” and about researching “howstudents learn and how technology can transformlearning–both on-campus and worldwide” (EdX, 2013;Rodrick & Sun, 2012). Commitment in these areas with edX collaboratingwith Cengage Learning for content creation(IStockAnalyst, 2012).
xMOOCs edX Overall, edX conceives of their MOOCs as providingthe potential for educational research that willimprove both the on campus and off campusexperience (“Classroom in the Cloud,” 2012; deLuzuriaga, 2012; Lin, 2012). Underlying pedagogies / technologies may not bethat different at the moment but there seems to be anongoing commitment to quality content creation /exploring technologies for effective teaching.
Will MOOCs Succeed? There is a lot of hype and no one is quite sure whatimpact they will have on the future of education(Regalado, 2012; Webley, 2012). That said, MOOCs are much talked about andresearchers along with the more popular presscertainly understand MOOCs as potentially disruptingthe traditional educational landscape (Rodrick & Sun,2012).
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References Coursera. (2013a). About Coursera. RetrievedApril 4, 2013, fromhttps://www.coursera.org/about Daniel, J. (2012). Making Sense of MOOCs :Musings in a Maze of Myth , Paradox and Possibility.Journal of Interactive Media in Education, SpringIss(December), 1–21.Retrieved fromhttp://jime.open.ac.uk/2012/18
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References edX. (2013a). Explore Free Courses from LeadingUniversities. edX. Retrieved April 30, 2013, fromhttps://www.edx.org/courses EdX. (2012). UC Berkeley Joins edX. Retrieved April11, 2012, fromhttps://www.edx.org/press/uc-berkeley-joins-edx edX. (2013b). What is edX? edX. Retrieved April 30,2013, fromhttps://www.edx.org/faq
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