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 :).
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 :).