Tag Archives: Stanford

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Three Things Yacht Rock and MOOCs Teach Us About MOOCs and Yacht Rock

You mean to tell me everything that happened was just so I would record a song for a Gregory Hines movie?

Michael McDonald, Yacht Rock (Episode 12)

If you’re affluent, we can do a much better job with you, we can make magic happen.

Sebastian Thrun, Pando Q&A, 5/12/14

Thirty years ago this week, the featured song on from the movie Running Scared, Michael McDonald’s Sweet Freedom made its way to #7 on the Billboard Top 40 (an anniversary I have not seen noted anywhere), an event which decades later was anointed as the apex of the musical genre Yacht Rock.  Five years ago this month, three courses in the Stanford Computer Science department were offered online at no cost to the general public (an anniversary already noted at Coursera and Udacity), an event which months later was anointed the birth of the Massive Open Online Course.

Is there a connection?

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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

Once Upon a Time There Were Bound Texts: Big Media, Little Media – Part 1

One of my great frustrations in researching the MOOC movement is the extended lack of ancestry or theory provided by seminal thinkers, pundits or researchers.  From reading existing lit, one would assume when God and Adam were creating the animals out of dust, they created the MOOC too.

Big Media, Little Media is a 1977 book from a collection on “People and Communication,” this entry written by Wilbur Schramm.  Its purpose is to evaluate the use of various media (radio, film, picture, multimedia) in various modes of education (formal, informal, classroom, distance).  It provides an excellent historical account of the use of various media throughout the documented history of education, and its vision of the future is ominous considering the book is 35 years old. Continue reading

What’s the Difference b/t MOOCs and AllLearn?

Read an interesting article today (from 2006) on the demise of AllLearn, an online learning initiative designed by Oxford, Yale and Stanford back during the dot com boom.  The article focuses on AllLearn, though it looks at the end of other similar initiatives during the same time period, seeing AllLearn as a marked failure of non-degreed online learning at that time period.

I wonder how many people on the MOOC bandwagon had not heard of AllLearn.  In the 50+ readings I have encountered (just during my dissertation lit review), only one has made mention of AllLearn, or any similar higher ed online ventures.  With none of the research lit or pop lit on MOOCs discussing the failures of prior attempts by higher education, this seems like a place needing some dissection and research. Until then, a few initial thoughts: 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

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

MOOC Platforms

I posted a link on Monday to Stanford’s announcement of 16 online courses for the Fall 2012 Semester.  Stanford does not call these courses MOOCs, but they are free and open to the public. Most interesting to me in the article is mention of the various platforms for the courses:

Stanford is unique among universities in that it is offering its online courses on more than one platform. Each has its own distinct features and capabilities, among them video lectures, discussion forums, peer assessment, problem sets, quizzes and team projects.

The majority of classes will still happen via Coursera, the platform developed by Stanford and used by 16 Universities worldwide.  Two courses will be housed at Class2Go, an open-source platform within the stanford.edu realm, whose website speaks heavily of Khan Academy in its design (and thus its pedagogy?).  A third platform, VentureLab, is also housed at stanford.edu, and sells itself as a collaborative platform for MOOC learning.

What will multiple platform options mean for educational pedagogy?  Is this the move toward turning a profit on MOOCs?