- Q:What IS a MOOC ?
A: A MOOC is a Massive Open Online Course.
Massive - thousands of people could be on it.
Open - anyone can join in - for free!
Online - e-learning facilities are available to assist learning
Course - it's not a 'course' - it's a MOOC!
- Q:Massive? Like trying to learn something with thousands of others in an enormous classroom?
A: Not at all. Yes, there could be thousands of people but no, there's little a MOOC has in common with 'face-to-face' courses in traditional classrooms of any size. MOOC providers like to inflate numbers by quoting the number of people who merely sign up for a MOOC. The numbers actually participating will be considerably smaller and of those, only a small fraction will use the forums or even tackle assignments - not to mention jumping through whatever hoops the providers consider necessary to 'complete' the course and gain some sort of certificate.
- Q: Open? I like that but there's no such thing as a free lunch!
A: True - and MOOCs can be expensive to run. At present, MOOCs are financed in a variety of ways and sustainable models are only beginning to emerge. This could be a golden age for MOOCs using the larger company-led platforms (Udacity, Coursera etc), as they compete to attract their future 'customers' - there may never be so much freely on offer again!
- Q: Online? I'm no expert with a computer!
A: You don't need to be. If you can surf the web, you can join a MOOC - and there's usually plenty of help available if you do get stuck.
- Q: Course? That really puts me off - teachers, examinations and being told off when I ask a silly question - no thank you!
A: I repeat, a MOOC is not really a 'course', at least not the traditional face-to-face type you have in mind. The traditional course usually involves a pre-determined path (syllabus), an expert figure (teacher) whose main function is to control and broadcast knowledge to the learners followed by closed book examinations. A MOOC need not have any of these. Don't base your expectations of MOOCs on experiences with face-to-face courses. That can lead to missed opportunities and misunderstandings - leave your traditional course baggage behind!
- Q: So what types of MOOCs are there?
A: They come in many shapes and sizes but at present the two main types are cMOOCs and xMOOCs. I've discussed them here - 'MOOCs for Everyone'. The earlier cMOOCS were based on connectivist principles. Participants decided on their own levels of engagement, openly sharing knowledge through blogging, tweeting, bookmarking and whatever modes of interaction they preferred. In contrast, the xMOOCs have much more in common with traditional university courses and depend heavily on technology. Typically, course delivery is by a small number of experts and learners are supported by a single discussion forum. Assessment is by multiple choice questions and possibly peer assessment for humanities topics.
Open Education Week - will take place from 11-15 March 2013 online and in locally hosted events around the world with the objective of raising awareness of the open education movement and of open educational resources (OER). The OpenCourseWare Consortium is coordinating this community-run event and there is no cost to participate. Follow on twitter (hashtag: #openeducationwk ) and facebook.
- By Gordon at 03/12/2013 - 15:15
Open Courseware (OCW)
In April 2008 I imagined a futuristic Open Global Education Network (OGEN) that would somehow bring inexpensive Higher Education to anyone, anywhere in the world. At that time there was little to talk about apart from the very beginnings in the shape of OpenCourseware (OCW). This was a significant innovation, notably by MIT making a wide range of videoed lectures, notes, quizzes and so on, freely available on the Internet. OCW though is typically a by-product of traditional courses and does not come with expert tuition, the opportunity to mix and communicate with fellow students or the chance of a recognized qualification.
"Higher education shall be made equally accessible to all, on the basis of capacity, by every appropriate means, and in particular by the progressive introduction of free education." - Article 13: International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 16th December 1966
iBerry is a non-profit making website connecting to information and resources for learners, educators, researchers and anyone else with an interest in Higher Education. There are no commercial or institutional affiliations. Plans for future development are summarized below - comments or alternative suggestions are very welcome! The priority will be to help online learners find the best open educational resources (OER) and support for their own purposes - wherever they are on the globe.
Movement towards the type of Open Global Education Network that we envisaged several years ago has been very rapid in recent months with the growth of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and other innovations in Open Education such as Kahn Academy. We will try to keep up with developments.
|Higher Education - Anywhere|
(Peace by Cayusa, on Flickr)
The changes brought about by Online Open Education are continuing at an alarming rate. I can hardly keep up with all the announcements of new Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Also, more and more people are taking learning into their own hands. See, for example, the remarkable 'Signals and Systems' course created by Indian student Amol Bhave
- By facilitator3 at 07/16/2012 - 20:45
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When I was a student (long before the Internet age) a certain mathematics lecturer would enter the lecture room and start writing notes from the top of the left blackboard. When he reached the bottom he moved onto the middle board and then the right one. When all the boards were full he wiped out everything with a wet cloth and started again on the left. That was how he lectured! He rarely spoke - his students spent the entire hour just copying the notes. This was clearly not the best way to learn but his students had little choice. His notes were essential for the examination so best to study the notes exclusively and follow up with some question spotting shortly before the examination. It was all a rather tedious game and the students who played it best received the highest grades - but I doubt whether much mathematics was learned! Not all lecture courses were that bad but that type of experience and the factory-like regimentation of learners into specific rooms at specific times colors many people's thinking about learning and Higher Education in general.
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I'm finding it difficult to keep up with the explosion of interest surrounding Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Here are the latest 10 unsorted items collected on delicious. Further contributions are welcome! . . . . . .
Open Online Courses are now very much in the news. By offering online support to hundreds if not thousands of international learners Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are taking over where Open Courseware (OCW) left off. Connectivist MOOCs originated by George Siemens, Stephen Downes and others were first on the scene but now other types of MOOC are being offered such as Stanford's Coursera, MIT's MITx, and Udacity. (For listings see Class Central and Open Yale Courses).
Based on connectivist principles, these MOOCs represent one extreme and are probably most removed from what many people think of as a 'course'. Learning objectives are entirely a matter for the participants themselves and it is not considered necessary or even possible to complete all the course assignments. The facilitators act more as guides than instructors but a basic curriculum, daily newsletters and presentations by experts may be provided. Otherwise, participants determine their own levels of engagement openly sharing their knowledge through blogging, commenting, tweeting, bookmarking and whatever modes of interaction they prefer. . . . . . .
|(MOOCow - Based on 'la vaca de los sinvaca' by José Bogado)|