a fistful of moocs because learning is more than moocs and skittles
Now updating for the the latest chapter in the saga, which turns on today’s announcement by Coursera in the NY Times. No doubt the timing, end of semester, was, like an intercession appointment, neither accident nor coincidence.
Coursera, the California company that offers free college classes online, is forming partnerships with 10 large public university systems and public flagship universities to create courses that students can take for credit, either fully online or with classroom sessions.
Coursera, a popular for-profit provider of massive online open courses – known as MOOCs – will host a series of basic general education classes to be developed in partnerships with 10 state university systems across the United States.
The University of New Mexico and nine other state university systems and public flagships will be partnering with Coursera to explore the possibilities of using Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) to increase student access to high-quality online educational content.
“Somehow,” writes John Maxwell at Publishing@SFU: the hype around MOOCs has led us to the point where all critical sensibilities about learning, pedagogy, curriculum, student experience, privacy, research, and the role of Universities in democratic society has been thrown out the window, in favour of this fabulous bandwagon.
Threat assessment: highest possible “Severe” level This is a Fire Sale my friends. As though pulled right from Orwell’s 1985, COURSERA is the latest front in the propaganda wars between corporate online course providers and cash-strapped colleges and universities.
Today’s big news is that Coursera, the largest of the MOOC providers, has signed with 10 public statewide systems. As described by Ry Rivard at Inside Higher Ed: Universities from New Mexico to New York will join Coursera in a sprawling expansion of the Silicon Valley startup’s efforts to take online education to the masses.
As Phil mentioned in his last post, he and I had the privilege of participating in a two-day ELI webinar on MOOCs. A majority of the speakers had been involved in implementing MOOCs at their institutions in one way or another. And an interesting thing happened.
If you haven’t read Audrey Watters’ coverage of the Coursera / Chegg deal, I highly recommend it. The short version is, DRM’ed commercial content is making its way into MOOCs, and this stands to make all involved – including the professors – quite wealthy.
I was a keynote speaker at this week’s Ed-Tech Innovation conference in Alberta, Canada, and the transcript from that talk is below. I wanted to give a talk that expressed my deep gratitude to Canadian educators and researchers — particularly those that created MOOCs — alongside my concerns about the rewriting of education technology history that diminishes, if not erases altogether, their contributions.
This is where the first part of this Storify originally started… basic introduction, different kinds of moocs. Not all moocs are alike. The original connectivist model is very different from the commercial model most associate with the term. Hopefully, this section will clear up some of those questions as well as introduce issues and concerns leading up to the most recent turn.
Opening video (above) and closing post from Bonnie Stewart excepted, I want avoid rounding up the usual suspects and introduce a few less familiar and expected sources. Eclectic and not trying for comprehensive. You won’t find any higher ed media here either.
So maybe I should write something connecting links to specifics of assignment…or maybe not. The focus is on assessment. I’m more interested in just in time, continuing education (sometimes designated ‘enrichment’), professional development, than credits or certification, both based on a grading or proof of competency model. Cathy Davidson writes, “The grading model presumes the audience for the grades we assign are consumers of, not agents or participants in, the learning process.”
By contrast, continuing education, whether informal professional development, information-based networking, enrichment, completion (GED), or prep (for credit/credentialing exams (TOEFL or IELTS for ESL, CLEP or placement tests like COMPASS etc), skirts the borders. There are no grades, no audiences, but agents, participants and self-assessors.
Precious little academic prestige or money in any of the above. So? My hand to play as I see fit.
Then there is the ongoing and often contentious MOOCs and the future of higher education debate over whether MOOC is solution or bane. Neither. As long as grades, credits and credentials are at stake, it’s as much about the fistful of dollars as learning.
MOOCs deploy the rhetoric of innovation and “the future,” but I find they’re really a fantasy about the end of history.- Gerry Canavan (@gerrycanavan) February 17, 2013 MOOCs are how you’d structure higher education if you believed there were no future.- Gerry Canavan (@gerrycanavan) February 17, 2013 Freeze the present