Of all the weeks’ readings, week 7 was probably the one that left my heartstrings pulled in two opposite directions. On the one hand, I would love to see massive open online courses (MOOCs) flourish. On the other, I am not sure if it’s necessarily the right solution. As the authors of “A Pedagogy of Abundance or a Pedagogy to Support Human Beings? Participant Support on Massive Open Online Courses” point out, MOOCs inevitably expect learners to take on the responsibility of gathering information and also validating that information. And, it requires that learners have advanced analytical skills to correctly discern what they are learning. While I have seen the benefits of instructors imposing lesser control over my learning experience, I would still love to have some hand holding going on.
In an age that seems to be steeped in social networking, this article’s emphasis on social presence in learning environments makes absolute sense. But, is it absolutely essential? After all, isn’t quasi-anonymity one of the benefits offered by virtual environments? Can the lone “learning” ranger not have an equally valuable learning experience?
This article also introduced me to the new world of connectivism. My google search led me to this article: http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/connectivism.htm
In my own experience, I have definitely seen the half-life of knowledge. What was hot yesterday is no longer the next week. Also, in my career as a technical writer, I have seen computer technology drive innovation in various industries so fast that I’ve had a hard time keeping up with the latest. Oh, and I KNOW my brain is getting re-wired by all this information and new technology. I now have the attention span of a goldfish—thanks to all the gadgets that surround me.
I was particularly intrigued by the MOOC findings on participation. While the registrations were considerably high, active participation seemed to have been much more limited. Because there’s no one pushing to reach higher than you want to. Doesn’t that affect the participatory nature of the class then?
I have to ask—what happens to instructors, professors, and lecturers if MOOC is the way to go in the future? Further job shrinking perhaps? Or, do they have to come up with innovative to remain in the profession?
Having said that, I liked some of the points highlighted in “The Importance of Open Educational Resources.” For example, what’s the point in conducting research if you don’t plan to share it with more people? And, why limit what is considered an educational research?
Even the biggest fans of open educational resources have to contend with the fact that it does cost to create and distribute these resources. If we then decide to be so charitable with educational materials, aren’t we reducing its sustainability in the long run? Instead of making it completely free, can we subsidize costs, and make it work long term?
My biggest source of delight in this class has been the introduction to the Khan Academy and the work of Salman Khan. Imagine reaching a viewership of 56 million people in such a short time! No wonder he is Bill Gates’s favorite tutor.