Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Responding to Another Article About MOOCS

My Friend and Colleague Bob Cartelli sent this item about MOOCS over this morning from the Harvard Business Review: "Eight Brilliant Minds on the Future of Online Education"

 We are just discussing commenting on blogs in one of the online courses I teach this term. Though I tend to stay on the low-profile side, today I stepped into the comment area of that particular blog. I keep looking for some key questions to surface in the discussion about who will accept successful MOOC completion as course credit, what will be the cost of higher level assessment activities, and how students will be oriented and supported for MOOC success.

Probably what I might have established was how long I've been in online education and that some of these questions are certainly not new, they just haven't been addressed with MOOCS yet.
And if I'm uninformed, I hope to hear differently :).

 Cross-Posted Comment:

People attend higher ed for the sake of learning, to acquire social networks, and to gain employment skills. Self-directed learners have had mechanisms available to them under Credit for Prior Learning Assessments that translate the learning to credits at a given institution: Standardized tests like CLEP, challenge exams, and portfolio documentation.

 With MOOC as a viable addition, it remains to be seen which institutions will take a successful MOOC completion in transfer. Yes, I could gain the knowledge from MOOC and use that with one of the other PLA mechanisms, but the outright acceptance for credit is a different question. So beyond the learning, transfer, transcripts and credentialing are important issues. Additionally, some learning outcomes need more sophisticated assessment measures--who will provide that service at an institution and at what cost? Yes, we have TA's and yes, we have graders, and MOOC may well need those too.

 I understand that some higher models are currently in play and under study. I hope they will also look at who is successful, and how students are oriented and supported with such a model.

 PS. I have participated in two MOOCs and was mildly successful in one one them :).

1 comment:

  1. Who says MOOC's are a "viable addition" beyond the popular press and media? What criteria has been established to determine their value?
    Well, you state that beyond "learning, transfer, transcripts and credentialing there are important issues." What are those important issues? Why not elaborate on them, e.g., finances, institutional reluctance (politics), accreditation standards? What might they be and what is the importance of them as we begin to see more MOOCs and partnerships to offer them?
    On another note, you write about the need for "more sophisticated assessment measures." My caution there is not to discriminate since some, like me, might argue that course assessment is not traditionally that sophisticated. That is to say, there are often no agreed upon standards within a discipline, no consistency from one instructor to another and often no core competencies or outcomes universally accepted. So, we not only need "more sophisticated assessment measures," we need some consistent, reliable and valid measures with greater acceptance within programs and between institutions. And wouldn't it be nice if we really got to the point where students and instructors saw assessment as part of the learning process rather than "a grade?" Or, am I mistaken in my thinking?
    Exactly what is your understanding about "some higher models currently in play?" And what constitutes "higher?" Would that be in the top shelf? In the sky? Or, ephemeral?
    Well! Your post raises more questions. I need to go to The Eight Brilliant Minds...." piece before getting to carried away with my own questions. I'll do that next. Probably should have done it first. Oh! Well!
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.