Click on this picture to be taken to MOOC HQ / HASTAC.
I discovered this after I had written this blog, in a quest to find a related picture.
There are those who have concerns about Open Educational Resources. In my readings I came across concerns related specifically to MOOCS, Massive Online Open Courses. Some of the concerns I agree with, these are shared below.
While looking on Twitter I came across this article The Digital Education Divide- Massive Open Online Courses threaten to aggravate the problems they were designed to solve written by Susan J. Douglas, a professor of communications at the University of Michigan,
One concern cited by Douglas is in relation to the funding model. The understanding is that MOOC’s will be free, if so how will they be funded? She feels that it will lead to further commercialization of higher education. I too wonder where the funding will come from. As we are seeing more and more institutions turning to funding from larger corporate companies, could this be the way MOOCs will be funded? Time will tell.
Another of her concerns is in relation to “widespread defunding of education”. If a MOOC can teach as many as 80,000 students in one course, how will this affect the number of teachers required? This then lead to the question of teacher overload, reference is made to a study cited in The Chronicle of Higher Education. The findings are “...that professors typically spend over 100 hours preparing MOOCs, and then there are the 8-10 hours every week presiding over chats, responding to emails and updating material. Right now, faculty are not being compensated for this extra work.” In relation to the first concern funding, I have personally seen a teacher of 30 years have her job reduced due to a change in the funding model. In relation to teacher overload, as a DL teacher I have personally experienced this, just ask my family and they will tell you how much time I spend online and that is with approximately 200 students, nothing compared to the number that sign up for MOOCs.
Looking for a previous opinion letter in the Times Colonist I came across this opinion piece Comment: Online learning shaking up the world of education written by Steven Gundy, the vice-president and provost of Royal Roads University.
Gundy feels that, “MOOCs face a few challenges before they can truly transform education”. One of these is the quality of MOOCs, he feels these vary greatly from one to the other. Also it is one thing to learn about a specific topic and another to be part of a degree process. This is where his other concern lies. Students can complete the course and receive a certificate but how does this relate to a university degree? I have had the same question. How will certificates awarded through the completion of a MOOC course be accepted towards a degree or are these merely courses of interest not degree valid?
Looking for a different point of view I remembered an opinion letter that appeared in my local newspaper, the Times Colonist. Online Course Sparks Flood of Emails was written by Mary Aitken, an adult registered in a MOOC. The MOOC Aitken participated in had a registration of 80,000 students. She felt the course was well prepared, however the problem she encountered was that she received hundreds of emails just in relation to the introductory activity and thousands of threads in relation to just the first two lectures. This is one glitch they will definitely have to work out, as I am sure this will be a deterrent for future students.
In conclusion, I am looking forward to watching the growth of MOOCs and to see if they take us where some people say. Steve Gundy begins his article Comment: Online learning shaking up the world of education with “Twenty years from now, many colleges and universities will be closed, their classrooms deserted and their students learning at home. These are the predictions of many post-secondary commentators these days.”
April 29, 2013 Just came across this article dated April 18, 2013, How was it? The UK's first Coursera Moccs Assessed , thanks to a new follower of mine on Twitter, mentua.org an educational video platform dedicated to help everybody learn everything everywhere in the world-for free!
Some of the concerns I made above are also expressed in the assessment. From the instructors perspective, Bayne and Knox, they were under the impression from Coursera that once the course waas developed, this took from August until it began in Janaury, that it would run itself but they found they were spening many hours monitoring the course throughout.. From a student's perspective, Jo Stroud found as Mary Aitken did that the number of people involved made it overwhelming. A recommendation was to break the students in to smaller cohort groups.
A concern not previously mentioned by me is the low completion rate, it was noted that 42,000 began the course with numbers dropping each week until only approximately 2000 completed all of the assignments. A lesson the instructors learned was to make sure from the start that students were aware of the format of the class as some students were expecting more "face time", which was not the format of the course.
Another hashtag you may wish to follow is the one used in the course #edcmooc .
Like anything new it will take time for all the growing pains to be worked out.. It will be an interesting journey to follow.