The Asian Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (AJSoTL) is an international, peer-reviewed, open-access, online journal. AJSoTL seeks to create and nurture a global network of academics and educators who will discuss ongoing changes and future trends in tertiary education.
Are MOOCs likely to be the next flash in the pan, or will they go from strength to strength?
Most teachers and students are embarking on the MOOCs driven by curiosity. Students of the current generation are used to the MOOC like environment, having participated in the multi-player environment in the Gaming world.
Some questions to think about:
Will students get as addictive to the MOOC lectures as the online games?
Will teachers be able to deliver the same quality and interactivity like the multi-player online games?
How about the commitment level?
If you think MOOCs is the way to go, then have you wondered if you wanted our children to be spending 3 to 4 years staring at the laptops to earn a university degree?
Is that the kind of University experience you want for your children? Think again.
MOOCs - the concept itself is not new, it has been around from the time the open universities were offering courses on TV.
MOOCs are going to stay but that does not mean it is going to replace University education. But it does offer alternative, thoughtful, creative and innovative uses of technology, and is stirring up the means to enhance pedagogy on university campuses. It allows students to be engaged in new ways, and expands the classroom environment to new levels. However, there are many aspects to learning that cannot be replaced online (e.g., participating in experiential learning activities, working with teams in a lab, being mentored by teacher, coached by peers, making friends, living in a community). These activities have intellectual and developmental impact on students and are important in transforming them into the leaders of the future. One Stanford professor put this well, "I don't think you can get a Stanford education online, just as I don't think that Facebook gives you a social life".
With -the hype about MOOCs, there is positive impact on the universities -- where "Research" was the buzz, you are now seeing them discussing about "Teaching"!
It is anybody's guess, so I cmight as well say something about it.
It appears that the present MOOCs are too big and impersonal to be sustainable.
MOOCs will stay - but are very likely to flourish in better-structured forms outside Coursera, edX, Udacity, ..... I say this because these entities are perceived to "control" things their way and may have somewhat questionable motives. Academics, being what they are, may likely channel their individuality and creativity differently - one can foresee individual academics, from across continents, leverage on their personal/professional contacts to form mini-networks that will offer joint collaborative courses for students in their campuses (and in their mini-networks) - a GLOCAL MOOC.
In such courses, students can collaborate across continents in a very structured way (which will be a great experience in itself) and leverage on a network of committed experts (teachers in the mini-network) to gain deep and varied insights on the subject. Some part of the course material can be kept local while some parts collaboratively developed, maintained and accessed from a common space. Grading will be done locally in individual campuses. There will be room for some amount of personalization within each course (beyond the core topics that each teacher in the mini-network will prescribe for his/her students). The curriculum for each student will therefore be assembled from a network of such mini-networks. And each such mini-network can be opened to the world and can be a MOOC if needed. However, these MOOCs may be provided to the general public in "as is" form without the need to mark assignments, essays, give badges etc.
Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) may perhaps change to Meaningful Open Online Courses (MOOC) or Moderately Open Online Courses (MOOC) - the beauty is that it will still remain a MOOC. Whether it survives in the present form or not, it will challenge status quo at universities. And, that itself, is a good stir up call for higher education.
The success and survival of MOOCs will also depend on how employers and accrediting bodies view MOOCs in general and "for-credit MOOCs" in particular. These big external forces will have a significant leverage on this matter.
Do you have a view you'd like to share?