Tuesday, December 11, 2012

What Are MOOCs

Check out this very well-said statement by James Richard Brett, which appeared in the latest issue of the University of Virginia Magazine.

 There are good economic and pedagogically sound reasons to make videos of large-scale lectures for regular academic credit and to re-run those lectures locally for a faculty-defined number of years, honing them and evolving them to fit the local environment and the students. Faculty must look at the curriculum to see where these opportunities exist and resolve to find the right balance within the resources available.
Mere distribution of processed information is not higher education, however. The essence of higher education is to foster in students the ability to analyze ideas and data, to relate these to other materials, to develop arguments, to reach conclusions and to present the results of these processes with clarity and style, while encouraging a respect for data and unpleasant facts, tolerance, commitment, creativity and perpetual curiosity. The process is dynamic, cumulative and involves extensive interaction among students, part of which is conducted by people who have already had and reflected upon the experience—faculty.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

MOOCS, the new hot fad in higher education

Everyone seems to be talking about the Mooc; articles are appearing in major newspapers like the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal, in journals like the Chronicle of Higher Education, and in all kinds of web-based media.  Everyone seems to have fallen in love with the MOOC, and most of those people really know very little abut what education really involves.  Yes, I am going to sit in front of my smartphone and watch some expert talk to me for an hour and voila, I have learned by being part of a MOOC!