Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Monday MOOC News, on a Tuesday!


I've been planning to do a regular Monday MOOC News article for some time now, compiling my own experiences with MOOCs, and discussing some of the current news and trends. Yesterday I was busy with a few small projects, applying for teaching positions this fall, and there was a general lack of MOOC news. Today has been almost the complete opposite, so let's get into it.

EdX and Google get in bed together.
So it seems that EdX and Google are teaming up to launch MOOC.org sometime next year in the hopes of creating a platform for MOOCs. Individuals, businesses, educational institutions and others would be able to offer their own MOOCs through this platform, similar to having your videos hosted on YouTube. This seems confusing to me, doesn't Google have something like this in Course Builder? What does EdX have that Course Builder doesn't? Well, users for one. Course Builder really hasn't had wide-adoption, and with their university partners, EdX's standing in the field will give a sense of legitimacy to Google's MOOC platform offerings.

A new MOOC looks at badges.
A few groups have joined together to demonstrate the use of badges by putting together a MOOC on the subject. Mozilla (naturally), Blackboard, and a couple others are offering this MOOC, starting yesterday! First, thanks for the heads up guys. You may find your enrollment numbers go up if you give people fair warning. Second, awesome! With more MOOCs being offered having some kind of standardized accreditation, or credential to demonstrate competency is necessary to MOOCs continued success.

The Great MOOC Experiment
Gary S. May, Dean of the College of Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology, has a great article at Inside Higher Ed, talking about how MOOCs are in their experimental phase, and that we should give them time to mature. While I disagree with his statement "The prospect of MOOCs replacing the physical college campus for undergraduates is dubious at best.", everything else is fairly on point.

And from the young people acting like grumpy old people pile...
.. the Daily Tar Heel, the student news paper of UNC, has put out an editorial with the title "MOOCs will never replace traditional methods". You can read the article yourself, but I thought this passage was worth talking about "It also wouldn't be fair to the student in the physical classroom that has met the rigorous demands of lectures and in-class exams to be equated to a MOOC." These students seem to assume that the in-class, and the online environments are inherently different, and that one is more rigorous than the other. Their 'evidence' is that in-class lectures and exams are somehow more difficult than online. In my experience this comparison is flatly false, and that both types of environments are demanding in different ways. The amount of self-control, discipline, and perseverance that are needed for any kind of online course is far greater than that needed for face-to-face courses.

My MOOCs

Looks like the Big Data in Education MOOC through Coursera has been put off until October 24th. I'm really looking forward to it, so hopefully this delay will make the course that much better.
  1. Teaching with Moodle: An Introduction - This course is focused on Moodle newcomers, but I signed up to get Mary Cooch's perspective on Moodle, and to help build my contact list with other Moodle users. I spent today answering questions in the questions and answers forum, and replying to other posts. Its always fun to hear how people use Moodle, and how they solve issues differently.
  2. Instructional Methods in Health Professions Education - I haven't been active in this course, but I am looking forward to taking a day and seeing what they have for andragogy, and any special things to watch out for in health care education.
  3. Foundations of Business Strategy - Another course I'm kind of half taking, but I may become more involved in it soon. Having just started my business I'm going to need to start thinking in business strategy terms more and more.


Monday MOOC News comes out every Monday (hopefully) and contains my thoughts on current MOOC news, and a brief summary of the MOOCs I am taking. Feel free to join the conversation.

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