Tag Archives: Connectivism

#OpenEd13 Presentation – We Have Lost the Term “MOOC”

Video of my presentation MOOCseum: Using the Open Movement to Invigorate Local Museums is posted below. Attendees were engaged and responsive, and the numbers were impressive especially considering this was the final presentation slot at the conference.

Attendees were interested in the potential at the confluence point of MOOCs and Museums, and the Q&A session (unfortunately not all caught on camera; I went over my allotted time) captured some of those possibilities (opening up two-way communication at museums beyond a set MOOC date, incorporation into non-art entities, augmented technologies to spur communication and supplemental learning). We discussed art and aesthetics, copyright, institutional inertia, facilitation vs. expertise, and many other ideas floating in the OER ether.

But the Twittersphere showed the most interest one statement, pulled from my theoretical work on MOOCs:


Continue reading

Defining Edu Terms & MOOC Simulacra

At the heart of the Open Education Resources movement (and the Open movement in general) is the notion that education is a public good.  The progression to such sentiment may be based in a notion that an educated citizenry betters democracy and civic life (folks like John Locke and Thomas Jefferson), or that knowledge and wisdom are non-rivalrous and non-excludable (Econ 101), or that the increase and diffusion of knowledge stimulates societal and cultural growth (James Smithson, John Quincy Adams).  Regardless of its germination, the crux of such thought is that the provision of education from an egalitarian lens results in benefit across the population.

At face value the Massive Open Online Course fits this vision:  courses are free, prerequisites are encouraged but not enforced, and access to the best professors at the best universities is not bound to geography or economics.  And research into the framework of the MOOC points to the opening of university walls, the building of intra- and internet communications and an attempt to promote the increase and diffusion of knowledge for society, whether communal or global.  That’s why it’s worth noting that one of the primary voices in OER, David Wiley, sees the 2013 incarnation of MOOCs as a money grab:

I propose that, whenever you hear the acronym MOOC, you think: “Massively Obfuscated Opportunities for Cash”

How can a MOOC be both a bastion for openness and the epitome of closed content? Continue reading

MOOCs: Where’s the Lit Review?

One of the purposes of research is to establish a foundation of prior knowledge for future experiments to engage and extrapolate before proposing a new design that will further the field.  This is important; without an understanding of what came before, research runs the risk of reinventing the wheel, or even (worse yet) coming up with something more rudimentary than the wheel.

In my days of teaching creative writing, it used to be quite the stressor to get smart, motivated teenagers to take notes of their plots and characters.  These were students used to doing everything right and being able to beat the system just with what was stored in their heads.  I explained that creative writing was not about beating a system, and the more complex a story and a group of characters became, the more important it was to create a system where you could record those complexities so you could return to it as the story developed.  Some listened right away and got to work.  Some needed trial and error before coming to me so we could devise strategies.  Some never listened and became increasingly frustrated.  In the end, it was more likely for someone from the first or second group to have a coherent, rich story than someone from the third group.

I think about this as I read more literature on the history of MOOCs as described by the MOOC creators.   Continue reading

A Critical Review of Andrew Ng’s “Learning from MOOCs”

My research and scholarship revolves around how learning technology (specifically recent explosions in distance and online learning technologies such as Khan Academy, cMOOCs and xMOOCs) affects the teaching profession.  There is great scholarship on the difficulties of distance instruction, and a whole host of people writing about educational technology while showing concern to stakeholders existing in academics.  There is not a lot of research writing on MOOCs as of yet, and very little on the xMOOC so commonly considered when discussing MOOCs.  And there is even less MOOC writing that focuses on instructors, or on the teaching profession, and how MOOCs work with/affect it.  Andrew Ng, one of the co-founders of Coursera, has an essay in today’s Inside Higher Education where he looks specifically at the relationship between MOOC and instructor.  In reading MOOC literature (and the subsequent comments), I find a great deal of how one interprets the writing depends a great deal on that individual’s prior inferences and assumptions.  This is nothing new — perhaps it just seems new and loud in a world of quick publishing — but it bears mention, especially when it is easy to consider any writing to be Fact.  There are multiple ways to read a text; I am taken back to Stuart Hall’s encoding/decoding and his ideas of dominant, oppositional and resistance readings.  In the spirit of this article, I am going to tackle it from the theoretical standpoint of critical pedagogy. Continue reading

Third-Party MOOCs

Defining the MOOC phenomenon from an educational perspective starts with theoretical foundation, and in order to build a theoretical foundation, one must look at the history of a movement.  This develops over a course of weeks and months of reading articles, fishing out noteworthy citations, reading those articles, and over time finding a path to various historical movement, seminal authors, and moments in time considered relevant by the community crowd.  Over the past two months, this journey started with MOOC, dove into aiMOOC and urMOOC, and started to gel around cMOOC and xMOOC as the two primary MOOC formats, with a collection of similarities but a wealth of differences.  Comparison study on historical, theoretical and pedagogical levels is my attempt to work on defining what MOOCs are and (perhaps more importantly) why they arrived and where we are going because of this moment in time.

The MOOC movement has exploded over the past nine months, and my assumption was that the media narrative of MOOC was too clean for the explosion happening, that we needed to start to delineate between xMOOC and cMOOC, and perhaps MOOC was the wrong monicker.  However, it was naive of me to think that the explosion would be so clean that it would fit under xMOOC and cMOOC.   Continue reading

NaNoWriMo & the MOOC Relationship

National Novel Writing Month, known colloquially as NaNoWriMo, starts today and runs through the month of November, encouraging participants to write 50,000 words toward a novel.  This is the 14th year of NaNoWriMo, and the number of registered participants has grown from 21 “overcaffeinated yahoos” to more than a quarter of a million in 2011.  And while media buzz for NaNoWriMo continues to grow, its press popularity dwarfs that of other massive online learning environments, specifically MOOCs.   Continue reading

Connectivism Applied: The Toddler Test

Recently I posted about my current research into connectivism and my belief that it is more pedagogial than theoretical.  I noted that my understanding of connectivism (something I consider integral to the discussions in #cfhe12) remains limited, and continued field use of the term would help me gain a broader understanding and perhaps come to different conclusions.  I didn’t realize such an opportunity would arise so soon as today while caring for my toddler.   Continue reading