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Keeping up with MOOC thoughts via Twitter (as best I can):

FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) and MOOCs:  From September 19, Audrey Watters looks at reasons behind some colleges (quoting Ohio State University) adopting the xMOOC as a course module and potential revenue stream; the quote from the OSU president states that he does not want his school to end up too far behind the other schools involved in xMOOCs such as Coursera.  This is a theme that has popped up occasionally over the past 12 months…institutions are afraid to be left behind and perhaps rendered irrelevant in a xMOOC world.  I wonder if there were similar fears when correspondence courses started incorporating radio and video all those years ago.  

How to Build MOOCs that Fail:  Edward O’Neill blogs a pseudo-parody (don’t know if that is a term, but O’Neill’s blog is neither parody, practical nor both) looking at the common failings of existing xMOOCs, mainly that, in O’Neill’s opinion, poor xMOOCs lift the lecture from the classroom to a virtual space and make no account for the technological underpinnings.  He then celebrates learning theories such as social cognitive thinking, social learning theory and constructivism (though he does not name these outright), and stresses the need of instructional design within the course.  At the heart of this discussion is (IMO) the debate of hierarchy versus heterarchy (term from Bonnie Stewart).  While O’Neill does not say that knowledge can now be held in open community rather than gated expert, he bemoans the didactic approach to education.

Thinking Objectively – This is not about MOOCs, but instead about the manner in which different cultures and societies organize (and thus ponder) things and information.  The author uses an Indian street bazaar in comparison to an Indian assembly plant to point out the cultural differences in how information is stored and utilized.  The organic nature of the bazaar (with its flaws and sharp corners) comes from a place of personal need or use-value, while the industrialized nature of the assembly plant comes from a place of hierarchical need or economic advantage, where processes are streamlined and individuals step into a position rather than assess the needs of the company.  Perhaps more of this knowledge/object-based theory should filter into both educational circles as well as HCI/CompDesign ones.

Future of Education – Learner Weblog – Two specific posts from Sui Fai John Mak, both on the development of MOOCs.  His first post looks at cMOOCs as an ideal example for how MOOCs should grow, due to the ability for experts and novices to work together to create knowledge.  There are a great deal of ed buzzwords throughout the post (MOOC, learner focused, life-long learning, PLN) that are provided in outline-form, making it tough to link them to thought or theory.  His second post looks at several Australian universities joining Coursera, and then discusses disruptive technology, as introduced by Clayton Christensen (who has come up recently in my reading, and I will link that article prior to reading it myself).  From Mak’s blogs, I don’t necessarily see MOOCs as disruptive technology (which is defined as easy-to-use technology that halts or retrogrades the progress of technology and society).  This likely deserves a longer post, but on initial glance MOOCs have the potential to serve a number of positives, just as they have the potential to do a number of harms.

The Online Revolution:  Education for Everyone – A forum to be presented by Daphne Koller (one of the individuals behind Coursera) on Thursday at Penn.  I hope they tape it.  I have yet to find solid research on the goals and aspirations of xMOOCs, so this could be a good starting point.

Openness in Education Newsletter:

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