Monday, October 28, 2013

Monday MOOC News

Between teaching, freelance projects, and settling a new apartment I have been a bit lax in writing new posts. To recommit to this blog, here is the Monday MOOC News.

Debt-Free Degrees - Former Acting Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary education at the U.S. DoE David Bergeron, and philanthropist Steven Klinksy, propose a new accreditation association called Modern States that would accredit specific courses and not whole degree programs. This would allow MOOCs to grant credit for specific courses, reduce student costs, allow the creation of competency-based education models, and other good things. I think this would work, but creating it in the current environment, with faculty concerns of corporatization of the university, federal scrutiny of for-profit institutions, etc., would be difficult. Not saying it shouldn't be tried, just unsure how successful it will be.

MOOCs: Corporate Welfare for Credit - Salon has an insightful look into MOOCs, but creates a clunky argument against corporate MOOC providers. The problem of retention in higher education is apparently the same problem of retentions in MOOCs, even though the aims of students taking courses from either are completely different. Competition for K-12 schools is bad, resulting in poor results for charter schools, and therefore must be bad for MOOCs, even though their structures are completely different. The 'real' issue in higher education is low retention, the primary cause of which is cost, yet 'free' courses don't really address this issue. The article makes good points (cost really is an issue), but does not string them together to create a cogent argument against MOOCs.

Elearn Space has released a few of its MOOC presentations in preparation for the MOOC Research Initiative Conference. They are by Dr. George Siemens, and contain a good summary of MOOCs, their expansions, and a possible framework.

Keeping Introverts in Mind in Your Active Learning Classroom - Teaching even one college-level course you will find a variety of personality types, one of the most challenging is the introvert. Not because they are difficult people, but because they tend to not participate in the 'expected' way of most college students, sharing their thoughts when asked, responding to questions, and volunteering responses. This article discusses how to get introverts engaged, through modifying the course structure, and grade composition. I already use discussion forums in my math and stats courses, but may consider including them as part of a participation grade.

The Common Core, and Big Data courses started last week, but I have yet to participate. Hopefully I'll have some time later this week to get invovled.

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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