Today in MOOCs
As a computing education researcher, I find MOOCs to be a fascinating and promising educational technology. Replacing whole courses (has San Jose State University has decided to do), let alone whole universities, with a mostly untested and unproven technology seems premature. Starting from three research questions that I’m particularly interested in, here is I would like to know before we bow to our MOOC overlords…
* The more I think about the xMOOCs in terms of power relations, the more I note that they preserve and consolidate those of traditional academia. They take the sedimented prestige and name-brands of elite institutions and open up new markets for them, even while undermining many of the structures that those institutions have operated on for generations. The xMOOCs convert the capital carried by academic reputation into new value, at a new scale, in new forms.
But over time, an approach where users exchange information from each other similar to Facebook or telecommunications (a “facilitated network model”) will come to dominate online learning. This evolution is especially likely to happen if the traditional degree becomes irrelevant and, as many predict, learning becomes a continuous, on-the-job learning process. Then the need for customization will drive us toward just-in-time mini-courses.
It really couldn’t be simpler: