#MCN2013 Presentation – MOOCs and Museums

I presented the theory and modeling behind my practical learning model the MOOCseum to an energetic and excited group of museum practitioners at the Museum Computer Network in Montreal on November 23, 2013.  Despite three separate issues with linking my computer to the projector (somewhat cursed these past two presentations), I kept on-point with the presentation, and feedback was not only well-received but unique to practical issues, important for me as both a scholar as well as a practitioner.

I recorded the audio of the session; apologies for the first 30 seconds of slide issues, but the audio is a serviceable compendium to the slides.

My audience was diverse in knowledge, ranging from MOOC neophytes to the team behind the MoMA MOOC, and this presented a real unique opportunity for me to present the research and practice with depth as well as engagement (the crowd included museum directors, curators, digital asset managers, technology directors, administrators for university museums, a librarian, a Ph.D candidate in Urban Education studying MOOCs, and the team behind the MoMA MOOC offered via Coursera).  I believe I succeeded, and look forward to continuing the conversation with these museum and education stakeholders.
There was two requests that have kept me thinking since leaving the conference.  The first was an invitation to propose an education-based panel at next year’s MCN, looking at examples from past, present and future of how museums are using cutting-edge EdTech theory and pedagogy, with examples of success and failures.  I love the idea and hope I can count on my new friends from MCN to help shape it when it comes time.  The second has to do with directly bringing MOOCs to museums:

When the Weisman Museum declined to move forward with the MOOCseum project as tied into Pepperdine’s Boundless Horizons opportunity, I decided to make this presentation a DIY about bringing MOOCs to small and moderate-sized museums, which would have been a rather formal and technical discussion about platforms and instructional design.  Upon engaging the museums of MCN at the conference, I saw an excitement about MOOCs that lacked the characteristics (and cynicism) in the education sector.  I also saw interest from all museum shapes, sorts and sizes.  I think the shift was important for the conference, but I now also see the need for a primer on MOOCs for museums:  what are MOOCs, why are they a good fit for museums, how can a museum build one of their own, and what are the obstacles and opportunities that will come in the development.  I told Mairin and several others who retweeted the request that I would work on a leaflet, but I think to do this right it needs to be slightly more substantial, a research-grounded pamphlet.  

So I will get to work.  Museum folks, what do you want to know about MOOCs, whether you should offer one, and how you would go about doing it?  Education people, what can we not forget to add?

4 thoughts on “#MCN2013 Presentation – MOOCs and Museums

  1. Pingback: #MCN2013 – Unicorns, Open EVERYTHING and #selfies | Edgital

  2. Ryan Patterson

    I think this is a great idea for museums to pursue. I think they could offer plural MOOCs for different parts of their buildings and displays. It would add vast amounts of validity to the knowledge already inside the walls. I’m not sure if it would be like an audio/visual tour guide for the museums. It would however be great for patrons of the museum to be able to take their learning experiences and use them for college course credits. This might even boost museum attendance. Every time I go to a museum I usually leave with a sense of deeper knowledge, a better connection to the past, and sometimes a desire to continue research. Having a MOOC available would give patrons the opportunity to do just that: explore, collaborate, and design new theories and even exhibits.

  3. TShields

    If the MOOC is designed so that students are able to visit joint museums, in there area, then the MOOC and museum project would be a great idea. The MOOC format lends itself to mediums that are internet based like videos, research sites, pictures and graphic design. If the museum is to be an integrated part then it must require the students to actually set foot in a museum. One cannot fully appreciate the exhibits online. The live experience of the museum is what gives the learning its depth. I like the idea of the MOOC joining with the arts but I think the design must be extremely specific in order to achieve the desired outcome.

    1. Rolin Moe Post author

      I have to disagree on your idea that students must set foot in a museum. There is a world of art history coursework where students gain appreciation and insight into works without ever making pilgrimage to the work.


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