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University of Wisconsin-Madison


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Presentation on MOOCs and their role in society. Part of the Euro-MOOC Workshop

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University of Wisconsin-Madison

  1. 1. Disruptor, Saviour, or Distractor:MOOCs and their role in highereducation‟George Siemens, PhDJune 19, 2013UW-Madison
  2. 2. Context
  3. 3. Education Sector Factbook, 2012
  4. 4. Allen & Seaman 2011
  5. 5. Increasing diversityof student profilesThe U.S. is now in a position whenless than half of students could beconsidered fulltime students. Inother words, students who can attendcampus five days a week nine-to-five, are now a minority.(Bates, 2013)
  6. 6. Center on Budget andPolicy Priorities, 2013
  7. 7. McKinsey Quarterly, 2012
  8. 8. Moody’s Investor Services, 2013
  9. 9. The “why we have MOOCs”formulaDK+ T+ L + (-)U= MOOCsPlus humans have been very naughty historically, so we deserve them
  10. 10. The MOOC formulaDiversification of knowledge needs +advancement of Tech/digital/mobile +increased proficiency of Learners +lack of University response =MOOCs
  11. 11. Prominent MOOCsenshrine, optimize, and instantiatethe education system of the past
  12. 12. This is bad
  13. 13. “Both student and teacher are unhappywhen chained to curricula and syllabi, totests and mediocre standards. An atmosphereof uninspired and uninspiring common sensemay well produce satisfactory mastery oftechnical “know how” and testable factualinformation. Such an atmosphere, however,stifles genuine understanding and the spiritof adventure in research.”Karl Jaspers, The Idea of the University 1959
  14. 14. An education system that fails to emulate thecharacteristics information in an era is doomed tofail.Information today is:OpenDistributedScalableSocialGenerativeNetworkedSelf-organizedAdaptiveGlobal
  15. 15. (I‟ll pick up on this later)
  16. 16. What we are seeing is thecomplexification of highereducationLearning needs are complex, ongoingSimple singular narrative won‟t suffice goingforwardThe idea of the university is expanding anddiversifying
  17. 17. Much of what MOOCs address is theshadow education system.They are not actual competition with theexisting education system
  18. 18. The university among us
  19. 19. From the current standpoint, wesee the MOOC as the hub ofchangeMOOCs are more accurately seen as anode in an expanding ecosystem of edtechinnovation, emerging pedagogy, andcomplexification of society‟s educationneeds.
  20. 20. Ed-tech startupsWith transformations already underway in news,music, videos/movies, startup gold rush nowturning focus to education
  21. 21. 2013: The year of the anti-MOOC
  22. 22. Ian Bogost, Georgia Institute of Technology
  23. 23. (Brief interlude, aka rant)
  24. 24. We (faculty) have lost the narrativeEducation=employmentBasic research=devaluedMarket forces and competition driveeducation‟s future
  25. 25. The day Coursera became mortal
  26. 26. A little bit about change models
  27. 27. Kuhn: accumulation of anomalies, create“phase changes” (sorry, hate the „p‟ word):dramatic change, alteration of corepremises, development of a framework toaccount for sub-changes
  28. 28. Carlota Perez: techno-economic change
  29. 29. So, together with this
  30. 30. and this guy
  31. 31. To unchain students fromcurriculum and syllabi and fostercreativity
  32. 32. Distributed content and conversations
  33. 33. “…the fundamental task of education is toenculturate youth into this knowledge-creating civilization and to help them finda place in it…traditional educationalpractices – with its emphasis on knowledgetransmission – as well as newer constructivistmethods both appear to be limited in scope ifnot entirely missing the point”Scardamalia and Bereiter (2006, Cambridge Handbook of LearningSciences)
  34. 34. When systems are distributed, alternativemodes of integration are neededStasser-Titus (1985)
  35. 35. Challenge then is to create a newintegrated whole
  36. 36. Social and academic connection to theuniversityBoyer (1987), Tinto (1993)Psychological sense of community:“Acknowledged interdependence”Sarason (1974)To integrate the university more deeply with theknowledge needs of our societyMe (2013)
  37. 37. Disruptor? Saviour? Distractor?
  38. 38. Twitter/Gmail:gsiemens