Friday, December 27, 2013

The Reality of MOOCs

Have now completed three MOOCs.  One actually required some pretty detailed work; two required simply taking some multiple choice quizzes.  As a public lecture medium, or as a marketing device, I think that a MOOC has a lot of potential, but it takes a lot of effort and resources to make great video to tap into that potential.  For colleges, etc. that are already facing difficult budget choices, I wonder whether those resources are going to be available for simply promotional purposes.

The problem, of course, is that teaching and learning involve more than simply a teacher talking and a student listening, which is much of the mechanism of the MOOC.  That reminds me of my freshman chemistry class with the four hundred students in the lecture hall listening to the professor talking and then taking multiple choice tests to prove that we either learned, or didn't learn, the material.  That model, which is the model of the MOOC, has been around in higher education a long time now.  If that is how, you are going to teach, and for some subjects/purposes/etc, that might be appropriate, then the MOOC will work.

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