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The messy realities of MOOCs
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The messy realities of MOOCs


Invited panel at the American Library Association conference, January 2014

Invited panel at the American Library Association conference, January 2014

Published in Education , Technology
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  • 1. The messy realities of MOOCs Dr. George Veletsianos Canada Research Chair in Innovative Learning & Technology Associate Professor School of Education and Technology Royal Roads University American Library Association January 26, 2014
  • 2. MOOCs are a phenomenon •  The MOOC phenomenon is a symptom. –  Economic pressures –  Political pressures –  Privatization pressures –  Educators’ failures to create their own solutions for educational problems –  Belief that technology provides the solutions needed –  Lack of impact of “educational technology” scholarship
  • 3. What happens “on the ground” with open learning/participation? •  No single narrative can describe what happens in open learning environments
  • 4. What happens “on the ground” with open learning/participation? •  Learners report benefiting from open course participation (Hilton, Graham, Rich, & Wiley, 2010) •  Learners face a number of obstacles (Mackness et al, 2011) •  Learners motivations vary (e.g., exploring topics  earning credential) •  We lack an evidence-based understanding of experiences with all open forms of learning/ scholarship
  • 5. What is it like to participate in open online learning? Veletsianos, G. (2013). Learner Experiences with MOOCs and Open Online Learning. Hybrid Pedagogy. Retrieved on Sept 29, 2013 from
  • 6. Results •  Learners –  questioned institutional/instructor commitment, –  identified a need for improved instructional design, –  praised responsive MOOC instructors, –  criticized instructors who were not visible, –  valued course flexibility and denounced course rigidity, –  appreciated the opportunities for open learning. •  The realities of open online learning are different from the hopes of open online learning.
  • 7. Some key considerations •  MOOCs vary considerably –  In length –  In learning design –  In learner participation/roles, learner support –  In innovative practices •  Key questions to ask –  Why offer a MOOC? –  How is our offering building on existing research/theory/understanding? –  What do we want the learner experience to look like?
  • 8. Thank you! @veletsianos on Twitter