I recently posted a response to a research paper by Terry Anderson which looked at the various modes of interaction across learning platforms and spaces. Among the important and interesting notes was Anderson’s assertion that high quality learning could happen if one of three interactions (student-student, student-teacher or student-content) was of a high quality, regardless of the quality of the other two. Yet in my reading of Anderson’s work, I saw him continue to discuss student-student interactions with great importance, moreso than he gave to student-teacher or student-content. This ties into some existing learning theory popular today, most notably social learning theory (though, to be general, the Canadians like to call it social cognition) via Bandura (and Vygotsky’s social development theory). Continue reading
Tag Archives: Distance Learning
Predicting the Future = Knowing the Past
I made a comment during the first week of reading in the Current/Future State of Higher Education (#cfhe12), lamenting the lack of readings that withstood academic rigor, most notably through the journal process. Academic journals are a source of contention and fight in open access circles (#oped12), and there are a number of journals that have already gone open access, continuing to vet and peer-review rigorous research while opening its books to anyone interested.
The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning is such an open journal, and readings from it have helped guide my understanding of the history of distance and online education. Within its electronic pages I have found history, perspective, dissent, and most importantly theoretical and research rationale for posits and claims. So I wonder why, at this point in my cMOOC readings for cfhe12 and oped12, I have not found any articles from this journal, considering the ones I have encountered so far paint a great road map leading us from the dawn of industrial education to the massification precipice we are at today. Continue reading
Making Sense of MOOC Research – Sir John Daniel & the MOOC Tempest
Very recent (read: September 25) research on the MOOC phenomenon by Sir John Daniel, one of the pioneers of open education (#oped12) and distance learning. A piece that I will return to for my scholarship (as well as pick from for other cited authors), but on
first second glance:
- I appreciate the focus on the xMOOC (still don’t like that term by the way, as it and cMOOC say that these are just two different apples off the same tree, when it’s more like two distinctly different trees ended up in the same forest because two birds delivered seeds from distant lands). Most published research comes from the cMOOC side of things, making a foray into the MOOC topic difficult, as the Man on the Street would associate MOOC with the sort of thing being done by Harvard, MIT and Stanford. Continue reading
xMOOCs: Labeling the Big Higher Ed MOOC?
Came across an interesting piece from Bonnie Stewart, providing a potential answer to a definition I was grappling with: she calls the Coursera/EdX/Udacity model of MOOC an xMOOC (perhaps because of MITx and EdX?), delineating it from the cMOOC and providing clarity when discussing the different options in learning. NOTE: I have seen xMOOC thrown around, but in a haphazard fashion: people have utilized it to refer not only to Stanford-model MOOCs, but connectivist MOOCs as well.
I linked to Stewart earlier discussing the geeking out of media and ed folks over the possibilities of xMOOCs; the post on xMOOCs as Business Model rather than Educational Best Practices is similar in tone. How this post differs is in a discussion of conviction. Continue reading
Otto Peters on Distance Ed & Industrialization
A lot of the research I have found on distance education comes from Otto Peters. In a 1967 writing on Industrialization & Distance Ed, Peters echoes Annand in saying that educative practices have not changed in hundreds of years, despite the rest of the world undergoing the Industrial Revolution. Peters does not specifically call for industrializing education, but he says it needs to be considered relative to cost effectiveness and access options. Continue reading
Catching Up on Tweeted Links – September 20
I’m noticing three areas of MOOC info. The first is PR from the makers: EdX, Coursera, Udacity and the like are pinging their information out there (most recently Coursera’s announcement of 17 new associated universities, including liberal arts university Wesleyean), so whether it comes from the source or is directed through a blog, it’s still news on the nuts and bolts development of this learning method. The second comes from the literature: what is the theory behind MOOC learning, where is its history, and where is it headed. This requires digging, as the MOOC makers are not focusing their time or speech on learning theory, pedagogy, methodology, etc. The third is punditry: a mix of research and news, it involves people discussing their thoughts on news of the day, tying it (to varying levels of rigor and success) to literature. The third section is what explodes daily across the Internet, and it’s also the place I am putting the least focus (opinions are easy, but how are they shaped, where do they come from, and what are the implications…such goes into research).
At this point, I use Twitter extensively as a learning network amongst peers and experts in the field, basically marking anything within the realm of MOOC or Distance Learning as a favorite, and going back later to see what was there. Continue reading
Are MOOCs Divergent From Online Learning?
One of my research curiosities is on the development of the cMOOC versus the Udacity-like MOOC. Both go by MOOC, but the methodology, impetus and learning theory behind each seems vastly different. Seeing is one thing, however; this is about research. An earlier blog post pointed to distance education as a place to see the evolution of MOOC learning theory, specifically for the Udacity-like MOOC, as the cMOOCs label themselves under constructivist measures. But there is dissent within distance ed circles in regards to its place in the evolution of online learning. Continue reading
Distance Education – Where MOOC Theory Hides
The initial problem with writing this dissertation was tracking down the learning theories behind Coursera-like MOOCs. These business models are incredibly new, and their PR focuses on issues of access and affordability rather than theory and pedagogy. Most searchable MOOC research focuses on cMOOCs, the connectivism-inspired MOOCs sired initially Siemens and Downes (which we will explore more heavily in the future, such as DS106).
It’s easy to forget that the MOOC is an extension of distance learning; in some respects, it is a fancier correspondence course. Thus, the theory exists, it’s just hiding in the world of distance education. Terry Anderson and Jon Dron explore the learning pedagogies (and theories) behind the evolution of distance learning, viewing the evolution of the field as in tune with the sociopolitical and sociocultural climates of the world at the time. Continue reading
My dissertation chair pointed out a problem with doing a dissertation on MOOCs…unless the scope is specific enough, the venture becomes an attempt to define a moving target. This is evident in the manner in which we define MOOCs…in this blog I have begun looking at the MOOCs of Siemens and Downes as urMOOCs (coined by Bryan Alexander among others), although there are many who refer to them as cMOOCs (for Connectivist MOOCs). That leaves the Udacity/EdX/Coursera model as MOOC, and any good sociologist or cultural theorist will tell you that by defining one as standard and another as derivative, we have already set false assumptions and beliefs.
C.O. Rodriguez wrote a paper for the European Journal of Open, Distance and E-Learning on the differences between the cMOOC and what we refer to as only MOOC, and even he had difficulty defining the terms, using “AI-Stanford Like Model” to delineate. The paper is an ideal start for scholarly research on the topic, and as I read through his citations and continue to look over the work I will share those outcomes. A few initial points I found noteworthy: Continue reading