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.