Is MOOC a good model?

The vision of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) is described in the video below.

As a general question: could this be a useful model for courses in higher education?

The recent open courses provided by Stanford could be viewed as one interpretation of this model, and received quite a lot of public attention – particularly the Artificial Intelligence course that reportedly had 130,000 people sign-up initially.  A recent JISC article reviews the impacts quite succinctly; but although these courses matched the definition (they were massive, they were open, and they were online courses) they didn’t really follow the ideals of a MOOC.  They were essentially University courses that were made open for anybody to access.

At the other extreme, but probably closer to the video’s vision is DS106 (DS standing for digital storytelling).  Where-as the AI-class provided several of hours of video content each week, the content provided for DS106 was – at least that available on their site – relatively light.  However, while the assessment in AI-class was in the form of weekly quizzes based on content, the assessment in DS106 included having to create tutorials to assist others, and even allowed students to write and share their own assignment briefs.

Could either of these approaches be a useful template to follow in UK HE?  Sticking to the focus of this blog: what benefits could their be to the students enrolled on your course if you opened it up to the world, or are there only benefits if you can get your students to sign up to somebody else’s MOOC?  With students supposedly needing to achieve a score of 97.7% just to make it into the top 10% of participants in the AI-class (with accusations of collusion), what is the role of assessment in such courses? And if students are deciding on the finer details of what to learn and how to be assessed, what is the role of the teacher?

Current  MOOCs:

Change: Education, Learning, and Technology – Ending

Learning Analytics and Knowledge 2012 – Running

Connectivism and Connective Knowledge 2012 – Running

Anatomy – and 15 other open courses offered by Standford and running in SPR/SUM 2012

3 thoughts on “Is MOOC a good model?

  1. MOOC is an interesting concept. Like many things it seems to offer potential benefits and challenges. It relaxes the rigid controls of traditional teaching philosophies and organisations; and it offers students potential access to a richer knowledge base.

    These potential benefits could be grasped by the UK HE sector. However, as with all significant levels of innovation, the magnitude of the benefits and challenges might not be immediately realised, so the best approach may be to pilot a limited set of topics across a limited set of student groups.

    I suspect it will provide HE organisations with an interesting learning experience 🙂

  2. Pingback: Innovating Pedagogy – New Report from the Open University | The University of Derby Learning Technology Blog

  3. Pingback: New and emerging pedagogies | NTU TELT Community

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