MOOCs: Fact vs. Myth


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Summary of current articles; presented at USDLA 2013 National Conference in St. Louis.

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MOOCs: Fact vs. Myth

  1. 1. April 30, 2013MOOCs: Separating Fact fromMyth to Build Learning ContextTim Boileau, Ph.D.; Brian Zuel – Indiana State UniversityUSDLA 2013 National Conference1Tuesday, April 30, 13
  2. 2. Birth of cMOOC✤ The concept of MOOC was first implemented in 2008 with an openonline course offered by George Siemens and Stephen Downes at theUniversity of Manitoba, "Connectivism and Connective Knowledge".✤ The environment created was a web site using aggregation, remix,repurpose, and feeding forward of content and media identified bythe students using blogs, YouTube videos, synchronous videodiscussions, and RSS feeds to build knowledge structures within adomain. A MOOC is a platform! (think Google Course Builder)✤ Focus was on peer-constructed knowledge and curation in a virtuallearning environment. cMOOCs emphasize creation, creativity,autonomy and social networking learning.2Tuesday, April 30, 13
  3. 3. MOOC Hyperbole in 2012✤ MOOC - Massive Open Online Course✤ The demise of the campus as we know it.✤ The most important education technology in the past 200 years.✤ Free education for all, anywhere in the world with online access. ✤ Professors at prestigious universities host reviewable onlinelectures and curate videos, content and activities for their students.✤ Learners can tap into Ivy League-quality instruction on their owntime, at their own pace and with little to no cost.✤ Despite the hype, MOOCs have yet to solve seemingly simpleproblems, such as producing a sustainable business model andevaluating student performance in a meaningful way.3Tuesday, April 30, 13
  4. 4. MOOC - Disruptive Innovation✤ A disruptive innovation is an innovation that helps create anew market with its own value network; and eventually goes on todisrupt an existing market and value network (over a few years ordecades), displacing an earlier technology.✤ Examples of disruptive innovations include:✤ MP3 file format and the effect on the music industry✤ Wikipedia and the effect on bound encyclopedias✤ eBook formats, enabling self-publishing and impact on the broaderpublishing industry✤ Digital readers and the effect on the newspaper and magazineindustry✤ MOOCs and the presumed effect on higher education4Tuesday, April 30, 13
  5. 5. Clayton Christensen defines a disruptive innovation as aproduct or service designed for a new set of customers."Generally, disruptive innovationswere technologicallystraightforward, consisting of off-the-shelf components put togetherin a product architecture that wasoften simpler than priorapproaches. They offered less ofwhat customers in establishedmarkets wanted and so couldrarely be initially employed there.They offered a different package ofattributes valued only in emergingmarkets remote from, andunimportant to, the mainstream."5Tuesday, April 30, 13
  6. 6. MOOC Hype Cycle✤ The MOOC hype cycle officially began in Fall 2011 when Sebastian Thrun ofStanfords AI lab offered three engineering courses for free, online. Thruns AIcourse had an enrollment of 160K.✤ Thrun went on to form Udacity while colleagues Daphne Koller and AndrewNg  formed Coursera, to offer free online courses.Gartner Hype Cycle ofEmerging Technologies:6Tuesday, April 30, 13
  7. 7. Peak of Inflated Expectations✤ MIT launched MITx (Massachusetts Innovation & TechnologyExchange) in December of 2011, merging with Harvard in early 2012to create edX.✤ In the same period, a consortium of British universities has createdthere own MOOC platform called Futurelearn.✤ More than 90 universities worldwide had teamed up with one ormore MOOC providers, with investments of over $100M, promptingthe New York Times to declare 2012 as "The Year of the MOOC" inNovember of last year.7Tuesday, April 30, 13
  8. 8. Trough of Disillusionment✤ Despite the huge investments in MOOCs societal benefits related tothe "democratization of education", the initial performancemeasurement of learner engagement and success is considerably lessthan others forms of distance education.✤ Completion rates for courses average around 10% with course passrates at 5%.✤ Public interest in MOOCs is pinned to rising costs in highereducation, along with the promise of being able to reach tens ofthousands of students of all ages, regardless of geography, socialclass, and learner motivation.8Tuesday, April 30, 13
  9. 9. Business of MOOCCourseraThis for-profit MOOC founded by AndrewNg and Daphne Koller has teamed upwith 62 colleges (and counting) for itsclasses. The company is experimentingwith a career service that makes moneyby connecting employers to its students,and attracted $22-million in venturecapital in its first year.Kahn AcademySalman Khan made waves when he quithis job as a hedge-fund analyst to recordshort video lectures on everything fromembryonic stem cells to—you guessed it—hedge funds and venture capital.UdacityThis for-profit MOOC, started by theStanford professor Sebastian Thrun,works with individual professors to offercourses. By March 2013, Udacity hadraised more than $21-million in venturecapital.edXHarvard and MIT put up the original $60-million to start this nonprofit MOOC. Sofar, students can take classes only fromHarvard, MIT, and UC Berkeley, butclasses from nine more universities arecoming soon.Chronicle of Higher Education - 20139Tuesday, April 30, 13
  10. 10. xMOOC Offerings (Coursera)10Tuesday, April 30, 13
  12. 12. MOOC Audiences1.Internal students on course –cost savings on volume courses2.Internal students not on course– expanding student experience3.Potential students national –major source of income4.Potential students international– major source of income5.Potential students High school –reputation and preparation6.Parents – significant in studentchoice7.Alumni – potential income andinfluencers8.Lifelong learners – late andlifelong adult learners9.Professionals – related toprofessions and work10.Government – part of accessstrategy12Tuesday, April 30, 13
  13. 13. Globalization of MOOCs✤ Differences in infrastructure, content, language and culture begin to chip away atthe notion of global-based courses in a one-size-fits-all model for democratizingeducation.✤ Some educators worry a one-way transfer of educational materials from the richnorth to the poor south will amount to a wave of “intellectual neocolonialism".✤ “If they are going to democratize education, which is a good goal, you have to go tothe different democracies and see what they want,” Lani Gunawardena, a professorof instructional technology at the University of New Mexico who also teaches onlinecourses, said. “You cannot put your personal point of view there and say you’redemocratizing education.”  ✤ Arab students prefer significantly more rigid structure and more interaction withtheir instructors compared to American students. Arab learners need to knowspecifically what to do and how to do it. They find the open flexibility and widechance to provide their input and ideas uncomfortable.✤ In China, students don’t necessarily openly argue with each other based on points ofview. They build knowledge based on collaboration.  13Tuesday, April 30, 13
  14. 14. MOOC Questions in 2013✤ Is there a MOOC Bubble about to pop?✤ Institutions weighing the risks of being left behind in a newlyreshaped playing field of higher ed vs. the risk of being outperformedin an extremely competitive market with low or non-existent profits.✤ Where will the money come from?✤ Considering MOOCs represent on the one hand, free education for all,then who pays for it? Grants from foundations, charging forcertificates, data mining, in-MOOC adverts, book sales, etc.✤ How do you handle cheating and accreditation?✤ Video-based proctoring; American Council on Education (ACE credit)✤ Should MOOCs have grades?✤ There is no established assessment methodology; potential to reachunlimited number of students14Tuesday, April 30, 13
  15. 15. MOOC Questions in 2013✤ Badges, credits, or degrees?✤ Use of existing credentialing system or establishing new systems✤ Competition or collaboration with universities?✤ MOOCs as a marketing tool for elite schools✤ How will MOOCs provide for differentiated learning?✤ One size fits all; students who cannot self-regulate their learningmay need individualized guidance, while students with learningdisabilities and special needs may require personalized learningprocesses.✤ Can MOOCs recreate the campus experience?✤ Physical learning environments for immersive learning experiences15Tuesday, April 30, 13
  16. 16. “The competition inherent in the gadarene rush to offer MOOCs will createa sea change by obliging participating institutions to revisit their missionsand focus on teaching quality and students as never before.”Sir John Daniel, 2012MOOCs as a Game Changer16Tuesday, April 30, 13
  17. 17. RecentTrends in Online Learningin Higher Education; Pre-MOOC✤ Over 6.7 million students were taking at least one online courseduring the fall 2011 term (out of a total enrollment of 20 million), anincrease of 570,000 students over the previous year.✤ Thirty-two percent of higher education students now take at least onecourse online.✤ Seventy-seven percent of academic leaders rate the learning outcomesin online education as the same or superior to those in face-to-face.✤ Only 30.2 percent of chief academic officers believe that their facultyaccept the value and legitimacy of online education - a rate that islower than recorded in 2004.2011 Report from Babson Survey Research Group with Support fromthe Sloan Foundation:17Tuesday, April 30, 13
  18. 18. Distribution of Online Content18Tuesday, April 30, 13
  19. 19. PedagogicTaxonomy of MOOCsBlogged by Donald Clark✤ transferMOOCs✤ madeMOOCs✤ synchMOOCs✤ asynchMOOCs✤ adaptiveMOOCs✤ groupMOOCs✤ connectivistMOOCS✤ miniMOOCSs19Tuesday, April 30, 13
  20. 20. ActivityTheoryApplied Research in Learning Systems20Tuesday, April 30, 13
  21. 21. ActivityTheoryActivity Theory has its origins in the Vygotskyian concept of tool mediationand Leont’ev’s notion of activity. Vygotsky (1978) originally introduced theidea that human beings’ interactions with their environment are not direct,but are instead mediated through the use of tools and signs.Boileau, 201121Tuesday, April 30, 13
  22. 22. Relationship of Activity to ObjectIn activity theory, theconcept of object is ofcritical importance(Leont’ev, 1978). All activityis directed towards anobject. Hence the objectembodies the meaning, themotive and the purpose ofa collective activity system.22Tuesday, April 30, 13
  23. 23. Concept ofMediation! !4!:!C!4!$!4!4!+!+!!+!$!$!+!$!$!(!+!!!!!!!!!!!+4C/.,!(<!#,>40:4=70I!#=>,I!JK1C=:5L1M!(NOPQ!&#$! )7$9! #/:#9/:#*+! *#$! /7$-! *#-*! *#$!%$9-*/4+#/<!6$*?$$4!*#$!."/0$1+!-47!*#$!2/0$1+!/+!4*!7/%$.*!6;*!/4+*$-7!)$7/-*$7!*#%;:#!*#$!;+$!3!3,,&#C!&#$!4*/4!3!*9+!?/99!6$!$^<9-/4$7!9-*$%!/4!*#$! 7/+.;++/44! k$4*H$5! KRX`]! 3;%*#$%! 7$5$9<$7!j(:*+B(H+! /7$-+! 3! +./-9! -47! .;9*;%-9! )$7/-*/4!6(! 7$5$9</4:! -! #/$%-%.#/.-9! )7$9! 3! #;)-4!-.*/5/*(C!!#,>40:=.!J&==I5QB/-T,;: U-T,;:!The relationship between a subject and an object in an activity system is mediatedby tools and sign systems that are contained within the environment23Tuesday, April 30, 13
  24. 24. SystemsView of ActivityTheory•Tools shape the way the activity is performed, andare themselves modified through the activity•Rules (linked to social/environmental context)mediate the relationship between the learner andthe community, and are modified by theseinteractions•Perception of role (division of labor) mediatesaccess to informal learning activities within thecommunity to produce an organizational levelperformance outcome or knowledge artifactSystem Mediators of ActivitySome additional inferences that may be drawn:•Interactive technologies, in terms of available tools and information, determine to a certain extent the levelof collaboration that may occur, and the amount of business intelligence available to the community•Rules provide structure, aligned with the business culture and social setting, affecting the manner in whichactivities are carried out•Perception of role affects the way roles are perceived and carried out by the learner. It is not uncommon fora learner to assume multiple roles (e.g., tutor/tutee) in the course of completing an activity(Engeström, 1987)24Tuesday, April 30, 13
  25. 25. Linking ActivityTheory withSystemsThinkingThe components of an activity system organically influence and transformone another in response to individual and environmental changes affectingperformance. In this way, the context for the activity and the object is tied tothe system, which is defined by its constituent components. At the same time,each system under consideration may be thought of as a node (or subsystem)in a network of interrelated activity systems spanning the enterprise.Boileau, 201125Tuesday, April 30, 13
  26. 26. Effect of Contradictions inActivity Systems – Homeostasis“Contradictions can occur within the elements of an activitysystem (e.g., within the object), between the elements (e.g.,between the object and the rules), and between differentactivity systems” (Hill et al., 2007).26Tuesday, April 30, 13
  27. 27. Research Application ofActivityTheoryThe effect of Interactive Technology onInformal Learning and Performance in aSocial SettingBoileau, 201127Tuesday, April 30, 13
  28. 28. Research FoundationActivity Theory Model DistributedCognitionBehavior Engineering Model28Tuesday, April 30, 13
  29. 29. Research Design based on ActivityTheory29Tuesday, April 30, 13
  30. 30. Research Questions Derived fromAT Model30Tuesday, April 30, 13
  31. 31. Interview Protocol31Tuesday, April 30, 13
  32. 32. Survey to Identify FactorsAffecting Behavioral Intention✤ Behavioral Intention✤ Performance Expectancy✤ Effort Expectancy✤ Explicit Social Influence✤ Facilitating Conditions✤ Implicit Social Influence32Tuesday, April 30, 13
  33. 33. Answers to Research Questions33Tuesday, April 30, 13
  34. 34. Answers to ResearchQuestions34Tuesday, April 30, 13
  35. 35. Summary of Findings35Tuesday, April 30, 13
  36. 36. Implications for IT✤ Informal Learning - as much as 90% of learning by knowledge workersoccurs through informal learning activities; mediated by PLE’s and PLN’s✤ Social Influence - knowledge workers will select technologies that workfor them (performance expectancy), yet usage patterns are shaped inlarge part by implicit and explicit social influence, bounded by setting✤ Technology is Evolving - Web 2.0 and mobile have created opportunitiesfor social knowledge creation, collaboration, and curation. Web 3.0(Semantic Web) moves beyond meta-tags to a database level forinterpretation and organization of content personalized for user andcontext✤ Learning as a Cyclical Expansive Process - intermediate levels forlearning and performance are created through mediated activity andevolve via developmental contradiction36Tuesday, April 30, 13
  37. 37. MOOCHeuristic p137Tuesday, April 30, 13
  38. 38. MOOCHeuristic p2Available  online:h-p://  g-­‐points/WCETTalkingPoints-­‐MOOCs-­‐04-­‐08-­‐  2013.pdf38Tuesday, April 30, 13
  39. 39. Additional MOOC Resources■ What Campus Leaders Need to Know About MOOCs,” EDUCAUSE, December 2012. This brief discusses how MOOCs work, their valueproposition, issues to consider, and who the key players are in this arena.■ The MOOC Model: Challenging Traditional Education, EDUCAUSE Review Online (January/February 2013), A turning point will occur inthe higher education model when a MOOC-based program of study leads to a degree from an accredited institution — a trend that hasalready begun to develop.■ General copyright issues for Coursera/MOOC courses, Penn Libraries created a copyright resource page for schools using the MOOCCoursera platform. This page provides an overview of special copyright considerations when using Coursera.■ Online Courses Look for a Business Model, Wall Street Journal, January 2013. MOOC providers, Udacity, Coursera and edX, seek togenerate revenue while they continue to experiment with open platforms.■ Massive Open Online Courses as Drivers for Change, CNI Fall Meeting, December 2012. Speaker Lynne OBrien discusses DukeUniversitys partnership with Coursera, and their experiments with massive open online courses (MOOCs)■ MOOCs: The Coming Revolution?, EDUCAUSE 2012 Annual Conference. This November 2012 session informs viewers about Courseraand the impact it is having on online education and altering pedagogy, provides insights into how and why one university joined thatpartnership.■ The Year of the MOOC, New York Times, November 2, 2012. MOOCs have been around in one form or another for a few years ascollaborative tech oriented learning events, but this is the year everyone wants in.■ Massive Open Online Courses: Legal and Policy Issues for Research Libraries, ARL, October 22, 2012. This issue brief addresses policyquestions regarding MOOCs, open access, fair use, and research libraries. ■ What You Need to Know About MOOCs,” Chronicle of Higher Education. CHE’s collection of MOOC-related articles.■ Challenge and Change,” EDUCAUSE Review (September/October 2012). Author George Mehaffy discusses various aspects of innovativedisruption facing higher education including MOOCs.■ A True History of the MOOC,” September 26, 2012. In this webinar panel presentation delivered to Future of Education through BlackboardCollaborate, host Steve Hargadon discusses the "true history" of the MOOC. It’s also available in mp3.■ The MOOC Guide. This resource offers an online history of the development of the MOOC as well as a description of its major elements.■ MOOC.CA. This MOOC-centric newsletter, authored by Stephen Downes and George Siemens, offers news and information on MOOCproviders.■ Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) Constituent Group. This EDUCAUSE constituent group takes a broad look at MOOCs as aparadigm of learning communities and open education.■ Reviews for Open Online Courses is a Yelp like review system from CourseTalk for students to share their experiences with MOOCs(Massive Open Online Courses).■ ELI 7 Things You Should Know About MOOCs (November 2011) provides additional key facts about MOOCs.39Tuesday, April 30, 13
  40. 40. Tim Boileau, Ph.D.New Media and LearningIndiana State University––Timothy.Boileau@indstate.eduhttp://timboileau.wordpress.com40Tuesday, April 30, 13