I heard the word MOOC long after I participated in my first MOOC. What is a MOOC by the way? MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Course and the term was coined by David Cormier after launching the course Connectivism and Connective Knowledge (CK08) in a Canadian University.
Back in 2008, thousands of open learners enrolled the CK08 course compared to 25 on-campus students making the course organizers understand that they were in front of something big and new.
A Massive course! Some MOOCs engage millions of participants across hundreds of universities all over the world. However, the massiveness could be turning into Meandering since the courses are available through the year so the students do not pile up into one big session.
The MOOCs are Open! Coursera, one of the big MOOC providers, was to me like a FREE treasure chest. However, to my disappointment, I found that the most interesting courses were not free anymore.
Why? MOOCs are supposed to be open and free! Well it seems that costs are motivated by extension of certificates, employee matching services, payment of administration fees etc. What is making the courses profitable is the professional development course packages. So the lifelong learners may not be the main target anymore. Other aspect overruling the openness is that the lectures are available online only for a limited amount of time or cannot be freely reused or remixed due to copyright restrictions.
However, luckily similar courses may still be free via EdX, another MOOC provider that in fact is growing very popular compared to Coursera
The Onliness of the MOOCs is also changing and more blended variants are showing up where institutions provide instruction on campus.
The big MOOC providers are affiliated to prestigious universities such as Harvard, Stanford, MIT, Princeton etc. However, participating in one of these MOOCs, still does not give the same credits as the on campus diploma. Assessment of the students based on computer tests and peer review from other participants might not be rigorous enough?
Moreover, 7-9% of the students drop out while others are silent learners, partially engaged or participate but never take the final exam. Therefore, it may be difficult to assess the quality of the contribution and the knowledge gained by the students. To have an idea of how much is written about MOOCs I am sharing here a Padlet done by PBL9 to introduce topic 2 as part of the ONL162 course
I want you to notice the beautiful background. The same picture that appears at the beginning of this post. This is from the Cuban artist Alex Lago. What does it say to you? For me, it summarizes what we learned in this topic: You have to get out of the shell and keep running toward the open, keep learning but never forget that you are bound to others in your run…
Finally, my favorite reference: Teaching in a digital age. A book easy to understand and fun to read before bedtime 🙂