A. What Is Wrong
B. How to Fix It
C. Why We Haven't Fixed It Yet
Us higher ed folks are nothing if not confident in our own abilities to evaluate, and if given half a chance, solve the problems facing our industry. I've had so many conversations with experts on higher ed that I've started to doubt my own abilities to either understand what the problems may be, or contribute to any potential solutions. If we can't all be right about the diagnosis of what ails higher ed, and what the best path forward is for a cure, then perhaps none of us are. Read more...
ByJohn Warner. I think about the language I use with my students a lot.
For example, even in the sentence above, I notice my instinct to use “my” in conjunction with “students,” connoting a kind of ownership.
Or is it responsibility?
Is this a good thing, turning these people on the class roll into my students? Doesn’t it suggest that they may not have identities outside of their relationship to my course?
Sometimes in class I will call them “kids,” though this does not sit well with me and I try to correct myself. Read more...
Over the past year, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have received a great deal of attention from the academic community and the media. The EUA Secretariat has followed the development of the MOOCs since the beginning of 2012, surveying discussion forums and publications, but also assessing the websites of MOOC providers and participating in several MOOCs in order to gain first-hand experience of this developing phenomenon. The EUA Board discussed this development during its meeting on 30 November 2012. The paper – slightly altered – was presented and discussed at the EUA Council in Istanbul, 25 January 2013. It provides an overview of the literature on this topic and identifies the key issues in order to inform the Council’s discussion. Most of the sources referred to are from 2012 but MOOCs are a quickly moving target; new material presenting new aspects or insights is becoming available on a daily basis.
2. What is a MOOC? MOOCs stands for Massive Open Online Courses.
So far, MOOCs can be characterised as follows:
• they are online courses
• with no formal entry requirement
• no participation limit
• are free of charge
• and do not earn credits.
In 2012, a number of prominent US universities in collaboration with private companies started launching free online courses, open to an unlimited number of students – 50,000 students per course is apparently no exception. Other private companies have been established, which contract university staff and facilitate their courses online. So far, higher education institutions offering MOOCs have stated that they would not award credits, but only a statement of accomplishment or a certificate. But like many issues concerning MOOCs, this may not remain the case in future.
3. MOOCs – a not so recent phenomenon
The point is made that MOOCs actually did not emerge in 2012, but have been developing successfully since 2008, with the clear purpose not only to provide more learning opportunities, but also to improve the learning experience.
Siemens, Hill, Downes, Daniel and others distinguish two different models of MOOCs:
• cMOOC model (c for connectivity), which “emphasises creation, creativity, autonomy and social networking learning” and “focus on knowledge creation and generation”. The cMOOCs stand in the tradition of Connectivist philosophy, and refer to the work of Ivan Illich. As a sharp critic of institutionalised education, Illich proposed in 1970 to establish “learning webs” by using new technology.
• xMOOC model – which is more or less the approach described so far – which “emphasises a more traditional learning approach through video presentations and short quizzes and testing” and “focus on knowledge duplication”. (Siemens, 2012) Siemens (2012) states that “our cMOOC model emphasises creation, creativity, autonomy and social networking learning”, whereas the xMOOC model emphasises “a more traditional learning approach through video presentations and short quizzes and testing.
Put another way, cMOOCs focus on knowledge creation and generation whereas xMOOCs focus on knowledge duplication.” While the issue of learning innovation is certainly an important aspect that deserves further observation and discussion, as a matter of fact, it is the xMOOCs that caught public attention, and are likely to stir up a debate on innovation of higher education provision.
4. Who provides the MOOCs?
All the more recent MOOCs (xMOOCs) involve either for- or non-profit private companies, partnering with universities or individual scholars, and providing services for them. The usual division of tasks is that the universities or the individual academics are responsible for the content (and the quality) of the courses, whereas the company is in charge of the production and its technical facilitation. Read more...
See also White Paper: MOOCs - Massive Open Online Courses.