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Who's afraid of the big bad MOOC


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Slides from keynote address to Australian Learning and Teaching Fellows Forum on 13th June 2013.

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Who's afraid of the big bad MOOC

  1. 1. Who’s afraid of thebig bad MOOC?
  2. 2. @SAlexander_UTS
  3. 3. Source: prediction for using technologyin education in France in 2000
  4. 4. 1970sTeachingmachines
  5. 5.
  6. 6. Claims….For students:• freedom to follow own path of learning• work at own pace in own time• richer materials• automatic measurement of progress
  7. 7. Claims...• makes teaching and learning richer and moreeffective• expands time, place and pace of education• improves quality of interaction• highly motivating for students and teachers
  8. 8. Claims...• “personal computers will revolutionise societyand will create powerful new opportunities forthose who can handle them”• “The information superhighway willrevolutionise society and will create powerfulnew opportunities for those who can handleit”
  9. 9.
  10. 10. Higher Education Supplement,The Australian1994-2000
  11. 11. Total number of articles0501001502002503003501993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001
  12. 12. • "The Internet removes any necessity foracademics and researchers to travel toconferences in expensive locations to exchangeviews".20 March, 1996, p22
  13. 13. Logan lends weight to floating ofUniversitiesVC of Monash "Why should students anylonger be satisfied with hearing second orthird hand the latest theory of some worldacademic leader when it is now technicallypossible to hear and see them directly “August, 1996
  14. 14. ‘Credible’ e-uni planned• Article describing the launch of an elite educationservice in Britain – boxmind• Brian Walden, former Labour MP said “There is nothingmore interesting than a talking head. I often hear it saidthe moderns are quite different from previousgenerations and that unless something is visual theylose their concentration after 15 seconds. I think that isquite wrong. There are still quite enough people atOxbridge who are capable of lecturing. If necessarythey can learn from conference speakers and break uptheir talks with graphs”October, 2000
  15. 15. Fathom• "The people who committed themselves to thisbelieved that the Internet universe would expand at acertain rate and with a certain profile, and it didnthappen," Professor Richard Bulliet said. "It was agamble, and it didnt work out. I dont think therewas anything you could point to that would havemade it work."Columbia Daily Spectator, January 27, 2003
  16. 16. Fathom• “Well thats a nice rationalization, but thenumbers (number of web sites, number ofweb users, page hits) dont bear it out. Whatsunk Fathom was that students werentwilling to pay the prices required to makethe investment-heavy initiative profitable.And why should they?”OL Weekly, Stephen Downes, 31 January, 2003
  17. 17. New York Times• “The notion was that there were prospective students out there, farbeyond the universitys walls, for whom distance education was theanswer. Whether they were 18-year-olds seeking college degrees or50-year-olds longing to sound smart at cocktail parties, studentswould flock to the Web by the tens of thousands, paying tuitionscomparable to those charged in the bricks-and-mortarboard world -- or so the thinking went….• University presidents got dollars in their eyes and figured the waythe university was going to ride the dot-com wave was throughdistance learning, said Lev S. Gonick, vice president for informationservices and chief information officer at Case Western ReserveUniversity in Cleveland. They got swept up.
  18. 18. NYT (cont)• business models were flawed - university administrators didnot fully understand the cost of entering the market.• expensive to do this stuff - costs hundreds of thousands ofdollars to build a course well.– creating video,– securing content rights and– paying the faculty member who teaches it.• Right now were trying to figure out how to make it workintellectually, he said, and we have to figure out later howto make it work financially. If anyone had asked us howanyone was going to make the university work financially asthe first question asked, it would never have been built.Michael Crow, executive vice provost at Columbia.
  19. 19.
  20. 20. Source:
  21. 21. Things take longer to happen thanyou think they willand then …they happen faster than you thinkthey could.Larry SummersFormer President, Harvard
  22. 22. ⬆costof higher education⬇Govt funding? Is the investment worth itdisaggregation
  23. 23. Cost
  24. 24. The Ernst & Young report: 3 models foruniversities to survive to 2025:• Stay with the status quo, but significantlystreamline their operations;• Become a “niche dominator,” i.e., stop trying tobe all things to all students and focus on one or afew niches where they have a chance of winninggreater market share;• Become “transformers” in which they redefinewhat it means to be who they are, create newmarkets for their products, and outsource muchof their operations.
  25. 25. What students wantSource: Andrew Norton, The Grattan Institute
  26. 26. What students wantSource: Andrew Norton, The Grattan Institute✔ ✔✔ ✔✔ ✔✔
  27. 27. What students wantSource: Andrew Norton, The Grattan Institute✔✔✔✔
  28. 28. Any university that can bereplaced by a MOOCshould be
  29. 29. Source: College Board, US Department of Education Census Bureau and Citi Research.Note tuition and earnings weighted in 2010$s, tuition and fees enrolment weighted
  30. 30. Source:
  31. 31. What students want (summary)• Engaging, interactive F2F classes + podcasts ofthem• More F2F time with academics• More feedback (+faster turnaround)• When casual academics are employed, theyshould be paid more (to attend all classes etc)• Faster turnaround on email and UTSOnlinequestions• Bring back office hoursBig $ to implement
  32. 32. Planned Enrolments Actual Enrolled Actual AttendedPlanned enrolmentsMax. room capacityAll Enrolled studentsMax. room capacityAll Attending studentsMax. room capacityBest case scenario at100% attendanceBest case scenario at100% attendance83%72%51%81%67%31%Start of Semester (Semester 2)End of Semester (Semester 1)
  33. 33. Castells• ”the history of technology is that users are thekey producers of the technology, by adaptingit to their uses and values, and ultimatelytransforming the technology itself".• We learn about technology by using it andproducing - feedback between the diffusion oftechnology and its enhancement
  34. 34. Evolution of thetelephone
  35. 35. Invention of telephone 1876• early demonstrations– Watson singing to a distantaudience– news broadcasts– symphony broadcast– train arrivals– broadcast of lullabies to putchildren to sleep• active discouragement ofuse in social communication
  36. 36. Predictions - the telephone:• will be used for shopping;• will increase productivity;• reduces the need to travel;• reduces loneliness;• provides a bond for communities;• will stimulate interest in Science;• will facilitate dissemination of knowledge;• will foster world peace.
  37. 37. Fischer, C.S. (1992) America Calling: A Social History of the telephone to 1940. Berkeley:University of California Press.the telephone did not alter the conditions ofdaily life“Instead Americans used it to morevigorously pursue theircharacteristic ways of life.”
  38. 38. Contemporary slogan
  39. 39. Source:
  40. 40. Any university that can bereplaced by a MOOCshould be
  41. 41. LEARNING2014Learning2014
  42. 42. accessingideascontentlearninggoals
  43. 43. accessingideascontentlearninggoalsmaking sensetestingaction
  44. 44. accessingideascontentlearninggoalsmaking sensetestingaction receivingfeedback
  45. 45. accessingideascontentlearninggoalsmaking sensetestingaction receivingfeedbackreflect
  46. 46. LEARNING2014flippedlearning
  47. 47. LEARNING2014remotelaboratories
  48. 48. LEARNING2014simulations
  49. 49. LEARNING2014peer learning
  50. 50. LEARNING2014groupwork