The teachers and the taught

Two really interesting articles here both sides of the fence – those teaching on MOOCs and a student who has completed a MOOC. 

On those teaching MOOCs, I was particularly taken by the comment in the article

A key way professors are learning new teaching tricks is by taking cues from their MOOC students. Coursera, edX, and Udacity all track the interactions each student has with the course materials, and with one another, within a given course. Each platform then gives professors the ability to see data that could tell them, for example, which methods and materials help students learn and which ones they find extraneous or boring.

The idea is to glean insights from the online courses that professors can apply in the traditional classroom, where such data are hard to come by.

That is where I think we will see the intersection between MOOCs and ‘traditional’ higher education delivery. I don’t believe MOOCs will replace HE as we know it, but will influence the way we think about teaching, learning, and delivery. 

But they are time consuming for those delivering them

Typically a professor spent over 100 hours on his MOOC before it even started, by recording online lecture videos and doing other preparation. Others laid that groundwork in a few dozen hours.

Once the course was in session, professors typically spent eight to 10 hours per week on upkeep. Most professors managed not to be inundated with messages from their MOOC students—they typically got five e-mails per week—but it was not unusual for a professor to be drawn into the discussion forums. Participation in those forums varied, but most professors posted at least once or twice per week, and some posted at least once per day.

And on the other side of the fence, here’s a good review from the perspective of a student taking a MOOC.

His account is familiar – I recognise a lot of what he has said here from my own experience, particularly:

There was – of course! – a great deal of blogging and tweeting, but a lot of this was of the “isn’t this amazing”, or “I can’t download the link” kind.  This experience didn’t show me how 40,000 people can blog or tweet productively together, but on this I’ll readily admit to having missed the point. 

Yes, there is a lot to wade through, but if you persist there is a lot of good discussion and debate out there. I have noticed on my own course that sub-groups have broken away and set up discussion groups on Facebook, which makes following the discussion and participating more manageable. 

And do read the four ‘possibilities’ suggested at the end of this article. I suspect they are sound predictions of how MOOCs will influence traditional higher education delivery. 

Happy MOOCing!




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