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Monday, February 25, 2013

A thought on MOOC's and ETMOOC

Today I tried to catch up with google plus. With over 1200 in my email's I figured it was about time to catch up. As usual there are 5 posts I have put in "read later", thanks diigo, a few I commented on and one that took me on a journey I did not expect and I wanted to share:

I found the following post by..Alan Brady called tree sitting. Now unless you completely want to hear an argument as to why the idea's of MOOC's is a bad one and well written with many great points and logical sequence, I suggest you read it. I read it three times and as he disagrees greatly with MOOC's. He discusses these views in his post while addressing a blog post by Clay Shirsky regarding Clay's thoughts on Mooc's as suggested at Mr. Shirsky's blog where he consider's the MOOC a lightening rod, an explosion in this open world, MOOC's will help with expenses, will open how we view what we are learning. I agree completely Mr. Shirsky, thanks for the great post and books.

Mr. Brady's arquement is that "the word MOOC is misused and that certain colleges will make a profit or misuse it's intentions".

  • When he references MOOC's and the self directed learner that is required, he states: you would be getting a special kind of online text, one which is slightly more interactive than a web-site, but basically not distinct from a well-organized blog. Such things can be a wonderful addition to the universe.But calling them “classes” is begging the question that a class is no more than that, and I am consistently amazed that anyone would make that mistake."

  • I can in earnest tell you I am learning more because there are no time lines really. I am learning rhizomatically and that's OK. I have the time to explore and my stomach is not in a knot because my digital story isn't complete. I have enjoyed so many different paths that I feel that I have learned more. Don't get me wrong, I spend at least 6 hours a week actively in etmooc. I don't worry what path I end up going down as it is usually in great detail and with thinkers similar and very unsimilar to me, which enlighten's me and helps me to grown.
  • “He states that the term online” has performed some strange alchemy, turning a digital lecture class into pedagogical gold. And this is the entire structural logic of the MOOC as a concept: with great technology, comes great student to teacher ratios. There is no MOOC without this imperative to shed pedagogical labor."
  • Wow, now I am pretty sure he is not connected as I have learned that I have a community of over 1000 educators to help me. That's an awesome ratio in my eyes. Now I've seen Alan's work and Sue's many comments, I find that so hard to believe. Did we get lucky?? Every facilitator has been wonderful in sharing work, reviewing comments and reading our blogs. It is evident in the comments and in our blackboard sessions that they know who we are and really care about the content provided and well "re-created".

    I think we know who our connections are by now. We know that there are over 1000 people willing to help in our #etmooc community. Am I wrong? I think that those who need to be nudged or pushed to listen or in some cases talk are what we call lurkers. Not slackers. They see the information and hopefully they will try to play with one of the many great tools the community provides and contribute too. It's ok, 80% of the information on the internet is learned because they are looking for it. Even if they don't contribute, does not mean they did not learn.

    Point is, As an etmooc'er I got upset. I got upset that the views he presented appeared to be well, without experience plain and simple, it is so easy to judge or give view points when you have not participated in both types of learning. I have worked my but off it my MOOC experience and I have learned more than many college classes combined. I can go to a lecture with 200 people and walk down hallways and not experience the conversations and reflections that I read, discussed and listen to in #etmooc, I think Alan and our other facilitators our providing a great path with topics, communities, blackboard sessions that are enticing and educational. One of the major arguements is that a MOOC is not quantifiable. It is not known who is actually participating and how much. Again, I disagree, I believe if you ask Alan or Sue of etmooc, they could tell you there top contributors, those that have blogs, tweeted, participated, lurked, and learned. I'm sure if you really wanted to you could count how many times I shared on google plus and twitter and how many blogs I wrote and if you really wanted you could even get feeds to my comments as technology is a wonderful thing.

    We self directed learners do not need the quantifiable. Maybe any MOOC need's a disclaimer,

  • Must read "rhizomatic learning".
  • Must define your own goals.
  • Must be willing to be a provider and sharer of information in an online environment and be mature in nature.
  • Warning: This is a MOOC, We do not hold your hand but welcome you on a great journey!"

  • As I finish this post, I just read another great post on MOOC's were they are broken down to an actual online course by Joe Dillon, "Course camparison,f2f vs etmooc". A great read.
  • 6 comments:

    1. Sherry,

      Great post. It's wonderful to see how much you have learned.
      These MOOC especially the cMOOCs like #etmooc are not for everyone.
      You might also want to read Christina she has some good thoughts on the nature of MOOCs
      http://blogs.ubc.ca/chendricks/2013/02/21/mooc-by-another-name/

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Thank you Brendan, oddly enough, we ended up commenting on each other's blogs, Christina and I that is. I do believe you need to be an extremely motivated and self directed learner for any type of MOOC. Which is sad as many do need the push to get things accomplished. I find, the more I get pushed, the less I get done, so Etmooc and rhizomatic learning are definalely for me. It's a curse sometimes, I've been blogging, editing and podcasting for 3 hours now.

        Delete
    2. Hi Sherry:

      I agree completely with your assessment of the value of MOOCs like ETMOOC. Thanks for pointing me to Bady's article.

      I do agree with him on some things. He claims right away in the article that it isn't the whole idea of MOOCs he's against, but rather the idea of MOOCs as a way of privatizing education, of having private companies take over education and find a way to make profits off of that. And if this were to become a huge "revolution," then this would take the responsibility for education off of state and federal governments. It would mean turning education into a market-driven enterprise rather than a public good funded and controlled by (at least nominally) the democratic society. That's what he sees as the problem, in my reading of his article.

      Now, having "connectivist" MOOCs like ETMOOC is a different thing than what Shirky and Bady are talking about, I think. These cMOOCs are often NOT run by private companies, aiming for profits rather than trying to have an enhanced and good learning experience for participants. cMOOCs would not turn public education into a private-sector venture for turning profits. At least, not the ones that are out there so far (like ETMOOC, ds106, Connectivism and Connective Knowledge, Change11 and more).

      The other issue here is that Bady's article, and Shirky's too, focus mostly on one kind of MOOC--the xMOOC, the MOOC that is focused on content over creating connections, where everyone is supposed to learn the same things--think of it as the huge lecture course made huger. I never did think that the huge lecture course was a good way to learn content, and so I agree that there may be a good deal to criticize about content-focused MOOCs where students watch videos and get tested by machine-graded assignments. That may work for some subjects (e.g., maybe math?) but not all.

      I find that in many media discussions of MOOCs they're really talking about the xMOOCs, those things that Coursera and EdX and Udacity offer. cMOOCs like ETMOOC are a completely different type of thing, I think. So often when people praise or criticize "MOOCs," those comments are not always applicable to cMOOCs.

      Nevertheless, I disagree with some of Bady's points, such as when he suggests that you can't have good discussions in online spaces like you can in classroom spaces. We have had excellent discussions in ETMOOC, and we don't need people to moderate every one of them. However, recognize that the people in ETMOOC are fairly different from typical college students--many of us are teachers or other professionals, and we already know how to have respectful conversations, and how to constructively disagree. That may not be the case for all participants in every MOOC!

      This got really long--sorry! Thanks for pointing me to Bady's article, and for sharing your thoughts.

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Christina, Thank you so much for your comment. As I started etmooc before I even knew what it was, Hey, I saw Alec Courosa and was hooked. His content has always been great. I am now embarking on the different types of MOOC's as you pointed out: " find that in many media discussions of MOOCs they're really talking about the xMOOCs vs cMOOCs. It was not until I truly started researching after your comment that I noticed the huge difference. I believe now I have a new post as you really need to be very distinct when blogging or referring to MOOC's, are you referring to xMOOC's or cMooc's. While they do discuss online vs University driven, it seemed like we were getting a bad rap and I had to speak up. I'm a different learner and I thrive in my Mooc and I do think it could be quatifiable if necessary. Either way, I think I have been blessed for this to be the MOOC I have for comparison :) Thanks again!

        Delete
      2. Hi Sherry:

        I completely agree that this ETMOOC experience is fabulous, and when the media talks about MOOCs in general then really good ones can get a bad rap even though they might be very different from what is being discussed in the articles! That's a bit frustrating, so I keep hoping to make the distinction.

        Thanks for your excellent posts--been enjoying them in etmooc!

        Sorry my comment ended up getting posted twice...not sure how that happened!

        Delete
    3. Hi Sherry:

      I agree completely with your assessment of the value of MOOCs like ETMOOC. Thanks for pointing me to Bady's article.

      I do agree with him on some things. He claims right away in the article that it isn't the whole idea of MOOCs he's against, but rather the idea of MOOCs as a way of privatizing education, of having private companies take over education and find a way to make profits off of that. And if this were to become a huge "revolution," then this would take the responsibility for education off of state and federal governments. It would mean turning education into a market-driven enterprise rather than a public good funded and controlled by (at least nominally) the democratic society. That's what he sees as the problem, in my reading of his article.

      Now, having "connectivist" MOOCs like ETMOOC is a different thing than what Shirky and Bady are talking about, I think. These cMOOCs are often NOT run by private companies, aiming for profits rather than trying to have an enhanced and good learning experience for participants. cMOOCs would not turn public education into a private-sector venture for turning profits. At least, not the ones that are out there so far (like ETMOOC, ds106, Connectivism and Connective Knowledge, Change11 and more).

      The other issue here is that Bady's article, and Shirky's too, focus mostly on one kind of MOOC--the xMOOC, the MOOC that is focused on content over creating connections, where everyone is supposed to learn the same things--think of it as the huge lecture course made huger. I never did think that the huge lecture course was a good way to learn content, and so I agree that there may be a good deal to criticize about content-focused MOOCs where students watch videos and get tested by machine-graded assignments. That may work for some subjects (e.g., maybe math?) but not all.

      I find that in many media discussions of MOOCs they're really talking about the xMOOCs, those things that Coursera and EdX and Udacity offer. cMOOCs like ETMOOC are a completely different type of thing, I think. So often when people praise or criticize "MOOCs," those comments are not always applicable to cMOOCs.

      Nevertheless, I disagree with some of Bady's points, such as when he suggests that you can't have good discussions in online spaces like you can in classroom spaces. We have had excellent discussions in ETMOOC, and we don't need people to moderate every one of them. However, recognize that the people in ETMOOC are fairly different from typical college students--many of us are teachers or other professionals, and we already know how to have respectful conversations, and how to constructively disagree. That may not be the case for all participants in every MOOC!

      This got really long--sorry! Thanks for pointing me to Bady's article, and for sharing your thoughts.

      ReplyDelete