Tag Archives: MIT

Warning: Thomas Friedman is an Education Expert Now

I am reluctant to review newspaper articles or op-ed pieces in the same way I have handled journal articles, series chapters or literature from the developers of MOOC platforms.  However, if utilizing a critical theory lens, no discourse can be ignored, especially when it is presented as dominant ideology.  And few volumes have such a cultural resonance as the New York Times and bestselling author Thomas Friedman.

Friedman commands an audience, though his pedigree to do so has been hotly debated.  Whether deserving or not, Friedman recently moderated a Davos-sponsored roundtable discussion of “how philanthropic resources and technology are being integrated to foster the growing revolution in online education.”   Continue reading

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MOOCs – Sliced Bread, or the Ron Popeil Bread Slicer?

There’s a lot of hype about MOOCs (and when I put hype and MOOC together, I mean xMOOC), and with the hype comes a resistance from ed tech folks.  The arguments go something like this:  hype machine says MOOCs are the next big thing and the best thing to happen in ages, and resistance says MOOCs aren’t great, aren’t new, and aren’t making things better.  A prime example comes from some hype dished up by the MIT Technology Review entitled The Most Important Education Technology in 200 Years, countered by D’Arcy Norman’s terse reply whose tag line involves fertilizer.  What we forget when we enter a point-counterpoint frame of mind is that both points of view come from ideologies and histories that result in the digital artifacts I have linked to.  Studying those artifacts to find the encampment inferences and foundations can help us see the positives and negatives of both sides rather than following one full throttle. Continue reading

5M(OOC) Platform Diving

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

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

Comparing MOOCs

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