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Part 4 of my Top 10 Ed-Tech Trends of 2013 series
Barely a week has gone by this year without some MOOC-related news. Much like last year, massive open online courses have dominated ed-tech conversations.
But if 2012 was, as The New York Times decreed, the year of the MOOC, 2013 might be described as the year of the anti-MOOC as we slid down that Gartner Hype Cycle from the “Peak of Inflated Expectations” and into the “Trough of Disillusionment.” For what it’s worth, Gartner pegged MOOCs at the peak back in July, while the Horizon Report says they’re still on the horizon. Nevertheless the head of edX appeared on the Colbert Report this year, and the word “MOOC” entered the Oxford Online Dictionary – so whether you think those are indications of peak or trough or both or neither, it seems the idea of free online university education has hit the mainstream.
MOOCs: An Abbreviated History
To recap: in 2008, Dave Cormier coins the term “MOOC” to describe George Siemens’ and Stephen Downes’ course “Connectivism and Connective Knowledge.” In the Fall of 2011, Stanford offers open enrollment in online versions of three engineering classes: Artificial Intelligence (taught by Sebastian Thrun and Peter Norvig), Machine Learning (taught by Andrew Ng), and Databases (taught by Jennifer Widom). In December 2011, MIT unveil MITx. In January 2012, Thrun announces he’s leaving Stanford to launch Udacity. In April 2012, Ng, along with Stanford colleague Daphne Koller, launch Coursera. In May 2012, Harvard and MIT team up for edX. In December 2012, 12 British universities partner to launch their MOOC platform, FutureLearn. And in 2013…
Thomas Friedman declares that “revolution” – the MOOC revolution, that is – has hit the universities.
Coursera launches Signature Track, its plans to verify students’ identities so that it can confidently award “certifiable course records” (for a fee).
San Jose State University forms a partnership with Udacity to offer 3 online classes for credit.
Next semester, in the class I'm teaching on "The History and Future of Higher Education," one project my face-to-face students will take on is creating their own institution of higher (tertiary) learning, from scratch, with no legacy concerns. They will then put up three or four different model institutions on the Coursera Forum for the MOOC version of "The History and Future of (Mostly) Higher Education," where as many as 50,000 participants (so we've been warned!) might be involved. Can you imagine what that will be like if even some tiny percentage, say 5 percent, from read more
- Keith Devlin
A real-time chronicle of a seasoned professor just about to launch the fourth edition of his massively open online course.
Last week, I headed off to Arlington, Texas, to participate in a large, international conference on MOOC education, part of the Gates Foundation funded MOOC Research Initiative (MRI). While the founders of the big, massively-funded American MOOC (“MFAM”) platforms Coursera, edX, Udacity, and Novo Ed capture most of the media’s attention, this conference was led by the sma... show all text
My #mri13 keynote panel talk last week was on “the post-MOOC-hype landscape.” It was supposed to be about what I think we can do in the current “we have a lousy product” hype gulch before it all gears up again to bend the ear of NYT readers all over academia. And Silicon Valley. What's Next? [...]
- Michael Feldstein
As Phil mentioned, he and I were both lucky to attend the MOOC Research Initiative conference, which was a real tour de force. Jim Groom observed that even the famously curmudgeonly Stephen Downes appeared to be enjoying himself, and I would make a similar observation about the famously curmudgeonly Jonathan Rees. If both of those guys can be simultaneously (relatively) pleased at a MOOC conference, then something is going either spectacularly right or horribly wrong. I believe it was the former show all text
Connectivists are inclined to turn up their noses at xMOOCs. I’ve done this myself, (Why can’t an xMOOC be more like a cMOOC ?), pointing at the instructivist pedagogy that xMOOCs inherit from traditional courses. Now, one way or another, I’ve participated in several xMOOCs and I’ve even completed ‘Introduction to Philosophy‘ and ‘Quantum Mechanics […]
The MOOC Research conference has resulted in some really interesting discussions that are playing out right now, and I want to take a moment to try and capture a few of them. I’ll start with Michael Feldstein’s thoughtful post “Changing the … Continue reading →
Well, there it is folks. After two years of hype, breathless proclamations about how Udacity will transform higher education, Silicon Valley blindness to existing learning research, and numerous articles/interviews featuring Sebastian Thrun, Udacity has failed. No one did more of a disservice to MOOCs than Thrun through his wild proclamations (“we have found the magic [...]
I am currently sitting in Dallas Fort Worth airport hoping to escape the ice storm that hit Dallas during the MOOC Research confernece. Despite the atypical elements, this is one of the best conferneces I’ve been to in a while, … Continue reading →
So, the Typhoid Mary of education disruption, Sebastian Thrun, has admitted that venture capital interests are not well-suited to the complex structural realities of public education, and moved on to professional and corporate training. Ding dong, the MOOC hype is dead. (Yes, Audrey Watters and Mike Caulfield are both quite right: this doesn’t mean venture [...]
It may seem counter-intiutive to wonder about teachers in a Massive Online Open Course (MOOC), but throughout the virtual MOOC I'm teaching starting in January, on "The History and Future of (Mostly) Higher Education," are interwoven maybe twenty video interviews posing the question, "Who's Your Favorite Teacher--and Why?" We are wondering what makes a great teacher--and is this something that can be accomplished online? The whole reason to do this MOOC is to find out answers, not to confirm our own preconceptions so, instead of just say, "Nah!read more
I am currently sitting in Dallas Fort Worth airport hoping to escape the ice storm that hit Dallas during the MOOC Research confernece. Despite the atypical elements, this is one of the best conferneces I’ve been to in a while, right up there with OpenEd (kudos to George Siemens, Amy Collier, and Tanya Joosten for a job well done). The quality of people was amazing and the vibe, as Mike Caulfield already mentioned, was almost dreamlike. I also had the distinct pleasure of finally meeting a numb... show all text
by Cindy LondeoreDropout. It’s such a nasty word. The high school dropout rate is held up by reformers to bolster their argument that the American public school system is failing. Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have an expected 90% dropout rate which is not considered a problem. This juxtaposition begs the question; when is dropping out not a big deal? Individuals who join a MOOC are described as being part of course enrollments. However, this is confusing and fallacious, as the term “enrollments” in a traditional in-person course implies a level of commitment not necessarily present in students who enroll in a MOOC. Initial enrollment in a MOOC is more akin to all the students who read a description of the course in the school catalog, and consider taking it. MOOC students who submit the first assignment may be a better comparison to initial enrollments in a physical class.
In a little less than two weeks time, I’m facilitating a week-long discussion/overview/ exploration on “Building a Networked Identity: Becoming a Connected Educator” as part of the #wweopen13 MOOC-ish course on Online Instruction for Open Educators. I say MOOC-ish because the term has become so fraught lately I’m not even sure what people conjure up [...]
This past week, in preparation for our upcoming MOOC research conference (early bird registration ends Oct 31), I held two online presentations on a) MOOC Research Initiative (a review of literature, research themes) and b) Lessons MOOCs can learn from online education. Slides and recordings are below. MOOC Research Initiative Recordings: YouTube video BlackBoard Collaborate [...]
A response to Kevin Werbach on MOOC "rock stars" — Kevin Werbach, a Wharton professor who has been teaching a MOOC on gamification (I know, my two favorite tastes together at last!), has written a Chronicle post decrying the use of the "rock star" moniker for MOOC profs. "The rock-star meme implies that teaching is all about performance," says Werbach. Of course, it's possible that the rock star metaphor works precisely because all that matters is performance. One of the arguments I've made about MOOCs is that they are a kind of entertainment media that extend today's trends in para-educationalism: TED talks, big idea books, and so forth. So to... (read more)
Several presentations this next week that might be of interest to readers: 1. Open Access Week at Athabasca University. Daily presentations starting Oct 21 on MOOCs, OERs, open access, libraries, and more. Schedule and access details have now been posted. 2. As part of the MOOC Research Initiative, I’m organizing two open events this coming [...]
I made a prediction in January and then reiterated it six months later that the utopian fervor attributed to MOOCs (massive open online courses) would cool down. And they have. Simply because something is BIG does not mean it is good or successful. Periodically throughout the year we also have been treated to articles that […]
Next semester I'm teaching the boldest, most innovative, most complicated course I've ever taught, ISIS 640, "The History and Future of Higher Education." What started as a MOOC on that topic has become an open-learning collaborative peer-grading extravaganza. And I'd love your feedback on the syllabus as it is evolving. I've posted it as a public Google Doc that accepts comments here: http://bit.ly/GQqu1dread more
The Chronicle of Higher Education ran a section this week called NEXT: The Future of Higher Education. Last year the future was Massive Open Online Courses. This year the future is something else. The shift can be visualized in this graphic, accompanying a piece by CHE Editor-at-large Jeffrey Selingo on a recent poll of professors and college presidents.The orange bars represent faculty opinion, and the blue, that of the college presidents. The opinion of both groups is now overwhelmingly negative towards MOOCs--at least as a mode of college education, and MOOCs will carry on and improve in the wider world. A solid majority of college presidents agree with 2/3rds of faculty that MOOCs are a negative force in higher ed, which is not something that I for one would have predicted even six months ago. On the other hand, hybrid courses do well with both groups, particularly the presidents. Adaptive and interactive learning technologies do pretty well too. At a minimum, this poll suggests that nine of ten faculty feel that adaptive and interactive technologies in a hybrid environment will do no harm. It shows fairly strong levels of faculty interest in learning innovation. The 2012 MOOC wave had the virtue of getting instruction back on the agenda of many faculty, in large part by making teaching seem more like a site of research, where new discoveries occur and improvements are put in place. This poll confirms the momentum behind better learning. The first thing we can say about this year's CHE future is that it's focused on student learning.Mr. Selingo identifies a further condition that would help make learning innovation more sustainable. Noting that large majorities of both faculty and presidents would like to see more change rather than less, he writes,When it comes to driving change in higher education, faculty members overwhelmingly believe that while they should be leading the discussion, politicians were often the ones pushing the agenda. Somewhat surprisingly, presidents also said faculty members should be driving change, and agreed that it's often politicians who control the conversation.
Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) continue to receive a steady stream of media attention. The conversation is more nuanced now than it was a few years ago as attention has turned to credit, the impact on faculty, learner success, and related challenges. MOOCs, like personal learning environments and networks (PLE, PLN) from mid-2000′s, are not [...]
MOOCs: “Not Dead Yet”
For those ready to dance on the grave of MOOCs following Udacity’s “pivot” last week, well…
Coursera announced today that it has raised another $20 million in investment. This brings to $63 million the Series B funding that the company raised in July (and $85 million total). Part of this latest cash influx comes from three unnamed universities. Any bets on which ones?
This funding news throws cold water on Higher Education Strategy Associates’ Alex Usher, who speculated this week that Coursera is burning through its funding at such a rapid rate that it only has “maybe 15 months before the VCs pull the plug.”
According to a survey undertaken by the University of Pennsylvania of students enrolled in its Coursera classes, 80% of respondents already had a 4-year degree. 44% had some graduate education. You can read the full study here.
Kris Olds has “mapped Coursera’s global footprint,” showing where the MOOC startup has struck partnerships and where the participants in Coursera classes come from.
Frustrated by the deals that its administration has struck with MOOC providers, the faculty at San Jose State is weighing a measure that would, according to The Chronicle, “forbid the university to sign contracts with outside technology providers without the approval of tenured and tenure-track faculty members in whatever department would be affected.” (Initially schedule for a vote early this week, the measure has been tabled ’til December.)
Udacity continues its roll-out of training in corporate tech, this week with classes to help you build apps on the Salesforce platform.
According to a story in the Silicon Valley Business Journal, Coursera too might be weighing a move into corporate training. “We think that many companies view Coursera as a quality, convenient, inexpensive way to continue employee development,” Andrew Ng told the publication.
MITx unveiled its third XSeries certificate (this one in aeronatics. The other two are “Fundamentals of Computer Science” and “Supply Chain Management.
by George VeletsianosLearner Experiences with MOOCs and Open Online Learning is an e-book in which student authors describe and reflect upon their open online learning experiences. Current conversations around educational innovations in general, and MOOCs in particular, lack student voices. This book enables learners to share their stories, thus contributing to our understanding of open online learning. A number of questions guided the development of this book. These included: What are learner experiences with open online courses, MOOCs, and other forms of open online learning? What is it like to participate in open online learning? What are learners’ perspectives on open education? Answers to these questions clarify the nature of open online learning, help us focus innovations on learners, and aid us in improving digital learning initiatives.
MOOCs have been around for some time now but exactly what they are for is still not too clear. It’s not that there can be no accounting for what’s learned in a MOOC, it’s just that getting a handle on it all is far more difficult in comparison with the traditional one-dimensional course where knowledge is […]