Well, after 5 weeks of some interesting reading, writing, and occasional frustration, I completed my MOOC through Coursera.
PLEASE NOTE: THE ONLINE OFFERING OF THIS CLASS DOES NOT REFLECT THE ENTIRE CURRICULUM OFFERED TO STUDENTS ENROLLED AT
THE UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH. IT DOES NOT AFFIRM THAT THIS STUDENT WAS ENROLLED AT THE UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH OR CONFER
A UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH DEGREE, GRADE OR CREDIT. THE COURSE DID NOT VERIFY THE IDENTITY OF THE STUDENT
Interestingly, Professor Martin Hall, VC of Salford University has completed the same MOOC, and has provided a very thoughtful blog about both his experiences, and his views on the MOOC phenomenon.
He asks how MOOCs might acts as a disruption and provides three points of perspective, and three of possibility:
- Time on Task – he estimates that based on the time needed to complete this MOOC and relating this to credits, you would need to complete 60 equivalent MOOCs per year for 3 years to cover a full undergraduate degree programme
- Pre-requisites- building up a full suite of MOOCs to degree equivalence will probably require the re-invention of the conventions of successive years of study, and of entry requirements in the form of prior completion of lower-level MOOC
- Validation – the only validation on this MOOC was online acceptance of an honor code. If MOOCs are to provide credit with any currency, then this will have to change.
The three possibilities identified are:
- MOOCs are a smart marketing move for other courses
- They could finish off the lecture as a form of conveying information, and the teacher becomes an expert guide in a world of abundance rather than a lecturer passing down wisdom from the podium.
- Pre-registration sign-ups for MOOC-like taster courses may become an element in pathways into formal learning. He makes the point that a lot of metrics about his learning behaviour will now be available to Coursera! I guess they know all about me too!
So the implications for us?
If we are to “get into MOOCs”, we need to have a clear idea of what we are trying to achieve. how we would measure success? What software we use, whether we develop our own or use an existing platform? Can we use the lessons learnt to redevelop the way in which we approach our on campus teaching – could this finally be a chance to move away from the oft criticised (but still delivered) 1 hour lecture, and use academic staff more as guides to learning? Could it provide better, and different support to our students in partner colleges?
There are challenges to be brought about by the ready and well curated access to information and learning, I still don’t think that the changes will be an end to universities we just need to redefine what our role will become.