MOOCs: Too Much Hype, or Not Enough?

Dr. Jeff Borden, Pearson for Wired.com

Earlier this month, I went to an eLearning conference in Saudi Arabia and again, the topic of Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs, came up. But, they were discussed very differently at this conference than I have described in past posts. For the past few years, I have noted that MOOCs are the easiest way to get attendance at eLearning conference presentations. About 25-35% of conference sessions talked about the  – mostly from a, “How You Can Do It” perspective although there were always a few asking if we should, “Believe The Hype?”

But at this conference, it was stated as official — “The Hype Is Over.” This was stated emphatically by both an American keynote presenter and by the Director of eLearning for the main University in the Kingdom. They both noted that MOOCs were just simply given too much credit out of the gate and that they often took away from the real conversation of eLearning.

Obviously, the folks at Coursera or Udacity would likely disagree with this position, but what about those without a stake in the race? Are MOOCs dying or are they here to stay?

I’ve blogged a lot about MOOCs in the past. It’s been hard not to if you’re an education blogger. But I’ve noted the problems with first generation MOOCs. Not to belabor the point, but we now know that most xMOOCs (meaning those with a broadcast, top-down model vs a “cMOOC” — the ‘c’ stands for constructivistic), are taken by people outside of the U.S. They are not generally taken for the credit but for an individual “module” of content, hence the seriously low completion numbers. More often than not, they are taken by people who already hold degrees. They utilize a peer to peer evaluation methodology that has proven quite challenging (after all, how often do you find 10,000 people who can really help guide the other 90,000 on a difficult or complex topic?). And on and on.

Full article here.

Rick W. Burkett runs the John A. Logan College Teaching and Learning Center, teaches history, and heads an educational nonprofit. He publishes blogs on a wide variety of topics, including history, teaching and learning, student success, and teaching online.
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MOOCs and Their Discontents

from Aljazerra.com

To say that MOOCs propagate inequality is to deny their fundamental mission and the thinking that conceived them.


Coded into the DNA of MOOCs (the unwieldy acronym for Massive Open Online Courses) is a profound sense of social, educational, and economic justice. MOOCs are courses from the world’s premier institutions of higher learning offered on a variety of platforms, the most notable of which are CourseraedX, and Udacity. They aim to bring the knowledge and expertise housed in the most selective public and private universities and deliver them to anybody around the world who has little more than a computer or tablet and a working internet connection.

They are inherently egalitarian; the fundamental principle that guides them is to universalise the availability of knowledge and human understanding from the widest possible variety of academic fields. Anant Agarwal, the president of edX,said in a recent interview, “Education is our cause. It’s really important that people around the world have access to a great education, much like the air we breathe.”

All of these points ignore the most glaring error of [Kendzior’s] article, which is to have neglected the question, what is a MOOC, and what isn’t it?

Full post here. 

Rick W. Burkett runs the John A. Logan College Teaching and Learning Center, teaches history, and heads an educational nonprofit. He publishes blogs on a wide variety of topics, including history, teaching and learning, student success, and teaching online.
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Coursera Turns Two (Infographic)

Rick W. Burkett runs the John A. Logan College Teaching and Learning Center, teaches history, and heads an educational nonprofit. He publishes blogs on a wide variety of topics, including history, teaching and learning, student success, and teaching online.
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Georgia Tech’s New Partnership to Offer $7,000 Online Master’s Degree In Computer Science

inside_higher_ed (1)

Georgia Institute of Technology has partnered with AT&T and MOOC start-up Udacity to offer a completely online Master’s degree in Computer Science.  That degree will cost only $7,000, rather than the $40,000 it would cost non-Gerogia residents.  It hopes to offer the degree to 10,000 students over three years and to only hire a handful of staff to facilitate the project.  Udacity staffers–called mentors–will be used to fill the gap.

The full post is here.

Rick W. Burkett runs the John A. Logan College Teaching and Learning Center, teaches history, and heads an educational nonprofit. He publishes blogs on a wide variety of topics, including history, teaching and learning, student success, and teaching online.
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Who Applied to Georgia Tech’s New Master’s Program?

inside_higher_ed (1)

Well a lot of people did. In just 20 days applications were nearly 1,000 above what they receive in a full year.

The Georgia Institute of Technology has in 20 days received almost 1,000 more applications for its low-cost online master’s degree than it does in a year for its residential program, according to data released by the university.

The 2,359 applicants are also demographically different from the students who normally apply for the residential program, which is popular among international students. About 80 of applicants for the online program come from the United States, compared to about 20 percent for the residential program. The master’s degree program in computer science is a partnership between Georgia Tech, AT&T and massive open online course provider Udacity. The degree costs only $7,000, and university officials have promised it will be as rigorous as the residential program, which can cost up to $40,000 a year.

Read more: http://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2013/10/31/who-applied-georgia-techs-new-masters-program#ixzz2jK3ajz6m
Inside Higher Ed

Rick W. Burkett runs the John A. Logan College Teaching and Learning Center, teaches history, and heads an educational nonprofit. He publishes blogs on a wide variety of topics, including history, teaching and learning, student success, and teaching online.
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“Course Versus “Learning Experience”

Link

Virtual Chalkdust post about an Inside Higher Ed http://virtualchalkdust.com/2013/10/29/course-versus-learning-experience/

Rick W. Burkett runs the John A. Logan College Teaching and Learning Center, teaches history, and heads an educational nonprofit. He publishes blogs on a wide variety of topics, including history, teaching and learning, student success, and teaching online.
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Fortune: Why Online Education Won’t Kill Your Campus

Fortune has an article about disruption, online education, and brick-and-mortar institutions.  Anne VanderMey, argues that MOOCs have not exhibited a disruptive force in the market yet, despite Coursera scoring $43 million in funding and having over 80 institutions using its platform.  Although, they could be disruptive in the future.  Her assessment of MOOCs thus far is that they augment tradition online courses rather that replacing them.

Source.

Rick W. Burkett runs the John A. Logan College Teaching and Learning Center, teaches history, and heads an educational nonprofit. He publishes blogs on a wide variety of topics, including history, teaching and learning, student success, and teaching online.
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Harvard and MIT’s Online Education Startup Has a New Way to Make Money

Robinson Meyer @ TheAtlantic.com

t’s been about a year and a half since massive open online courses (MOOCs) achieved notoriety, and the industry now has three giants: Coursera, Udacity, and EdX. Coursera and Udacity are West Coast-run, Stanford-spawned, for-profit standard-style startups.

EdX is different: It launched as an East Coast, non-profit collaboration between Harvard and MIT.

EdX, then, is more of a mystery. As a non-profit, it’s not concerned with, well, profit. But it is concerned with its own survival, so, this month, it debuted a new way of making money.

Until this fall, EdX had mimicked a tack Udacity and Coursera have taken: A “business-to-consumer” approach, in which students pay the course provider to verify their identity before they take a class on EdX.org, a kind of certification of achievement. To help get these verified learners, EdX has begun to link courses together into curriculum. (I wrote about these “XSeries” course sequences last month.)

The second push has come much more into view in October. It’s a “business-to-business” pitch—although, so far, we’ve seen it take effect in a business-to-nation way.

It has a different product for this pitch, too: “Open EdX.” Announced in September, Open EdX is the code that makes EdX.org work; it’s a platform for MOOCs.

Full article is here.

Rick W. Burkett runs the John A. Logan College Teaching and Learning Center, teaches history, and heads an educational nonprofit. He publishes blogs on a wide variety of topics, including history, teaching and learning, student success, and teaching online.
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Forbes India: 5 Signs that MOOC 2.0 is Here

N.S. Ramnath for ForbesIndia.com

A year ago, google Chairman Eric Schmidt compared the state of massive open online courses (or MOOCs, a sector that Coursera, EdX and Udacity dominate) to the first generation of iPhone. An iPhone 1.0 was revolutionary, but nowhere close to its potential. It improved by leaps and bounds leading to iPhone 5. The same is happening with MOOCs. Five signs that show it has evolved compared to a year ago:

1. Scale: From a platform for a bunch of American universities, MOOCs have turned global—signing up a range of universities from across the world. IIT Bombay also offers a course on MOOC.

2. Acceptance: A year ago, MOOCs largely offered courses that had little recognition either in universities or in job markets. That has changed. It is now possible to take proctored exams that enhance the credibility of the certificates.

3. Technology:
 The first generation MOOC courses centred around lectures that could have been delivered in a classroom, except that they were given in chunks of 8 to 15 minutes, without interaction possibilities. Khan Academy, which is not counted among MOOCs but has several of their elements, recently launched a new website that guides students on the courses based on test performances.

4. Business models: The contours of business models for online courses are getting clearer, even as there are questions on the sustainability of traditional universities.

5. Ecosystems: A range of ancillary businesses have evolved around MOOCs. Software Secure conducts proctored exams online. Prudentia, a startup, is in the process of building a platform that will help students find the right courses for them.

Read more: http://forbesindia.com/article/checkin/5-signs-that-mooc-2.0-is-here/36353/1#ixzz2iU2sQ3hl

Rick W. Burkett runs the John A. Logan College Teaching and Learning Center, teaches history, and heads an educational nonprofit. He publishes blogs on a wide variety of topics, including history, teaching and learning, student success, and teaching online.
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MOOCs: Can They Produce the Next Einstein?

by Svetlana Dotsenko, in Huffing Post College

Growing proliferation of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) is having a profound (if not fully understood) effect on education. MOOCs, compared to traditional classrooms, have impressively high enrollment, introduce more diversity into student population, and show better learning outcomes among students. MOOCs are arguably “changing higher learning forever“.

However, learning is not the sole function of education; creating knowledge, or doing research, is another responsibility of academia. While MOOCs produce armies of learners, it is unclear if they are going to inspire the next generation of scientific discovery. The effect of growing proliferation of MOOCs on creating knowledge is not yet known, nor has it been studied systematically.

Full Post Here.

Maybe they will produce the next Einstein in a place where one could never come from without this innovation in delivery mode.  Somewhere other than the world that developed the first one, a world with the very selective entry into the leading institutions in Europe.

Rick W. Burkett runs the John A. Logan College Teaching and Learning Center, teaches history, and heads an educational nonprofit. He publishes blogs on a wide variety of topics, including history, teaching and learning, student success, and teaching online.
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