Not a MOOC

May 16, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Posted in waffle | Leave a comment

I’ve already referred to my participation in the ‘Bonk MOOC’, but it should perhaps be clarified that the organisers never claimed it was a MOOC – it was just an ‘open course’ that happened to attract a large number of participants. I mention this as an aside to an interesting post by Doug Holton on EdTechDev, ‘What’s the “problem” with MOOCs?‘ He has two key criticisms; 1) that none of them (apparently) have been designed by qualified instructional designers and 2) that MOOCs “impose an existing worldview (traditional instruction, courses, and instructors) on a new medium for learning”

Of these, the second is by far the most interesting point – they are a finite course with instructors in a central role and a syllabus that aims to keep the learners in sync. Of course Stephen Downes and others would argue that a MOOC is all about the connections that one makes with other learners, although this requires a level of maturity, intrinsic motivation and self-direction that many learners seem to lack. Doug goes on to propose a new model, the MOOLE (Massive Open Online Learning Experience) that is more of an open-ended community that revolves around finding solutions to problems – so is a variant of Problem-Based Learning and Life-Long Learning. There are already similar communities on the web, built around specialist interests (e.g. The Oil Drum or Librarium Online), massive multiplayer games or software development and use (e.g. Linux or Processing). Perhaps in the future we will all be members of several online professional communities in which we develop our status and reputation, and that will be how prospective employers will view our ‘qualifications’? Hmmm… maybe I should be posting all this stuff in LinkedIn Groups instead…


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