I missed this New York Times op-ed a few months back from John Markoff, who writes about computers and technology. It’s your standard MOOC media narrative — great change afoot, the potential to fix the education crisis, and so forth. One part stuck out, though:
Udacity, along with other MOOC designers, is moving rapidly away from the video lecture model of teaching toward an approach that is highly interactive and based on frequent quizzes and human “mentors” to provide active online support for students.
As I mentioned yesterday, Udacity heralds the death of the lecture on their website, and in the same sentence promotes mini-lectures, which are the same as lectures except sliced up. A sandwich doesn’t become filet mignon when you cut it into triangles, yet a lecture turns into best practices when captured to video and divided into segments. Continue reading →
Gregory Ferenstein uses Udacity’s recent partnership with San Jose State University (part of the California State University system) as evidence of the beginning of the end of higher education (and said teaching profession) as we know it. The post is everything that drives me crazy about 21st Century journalism: anecdote as proof, charismatic author as authority, grounded theory and research be damned. I don’t disagree that this partnership could change higher education; of course, the inclusion of television stations at most major and minor universities across America in the 1970s was supposed to do the same thing, and twenty years later most of these expensive studios were shuttered (see Baggaley’s excellent Harmonizing Global Education for more on prior movements in educational technology and mainstream educational institutions). You should read the article for yourself, but my takeaways: Continue reading →
The Journal of Online Learning and Technology announced a special issue for Summer 2013 dedicated to Massively Open Online Courses. In the call for papers, the journal attempts to remain general in its topics for research, but the call becomes muddled in trying to accommodate the cMOOCs that led to the coning of the MOOC term with the xMOOCs that receive the vast majority of media coverage, have institutional backing, and have organized with various non-profit and for-profit ventures to provide the courses through a specific platform.
These platforms have taken on an identity of their own — a course on Human-Computer Interaction might be offered by a professor at Stanford, but the course is a Coursera offering; the Circuits & Electronics course taught by the team at MIT is an edX course. There is limited commentary on the various pedagogies behind these platforms, and recent discussion on the MOOC topic focuses on the specific xMOOC platforms to differentiate the movement’s happenings rather than grouping all together. Continue reading →
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 →