Keith Devlin of Stanford University is on a mission to educate the world with a five week Maths Mooc this autumn. He reflects on the experiences of his colleagues who have set up Udacity and Coursera following the activity in their Moocs. He wants to develop a community of others who are also running Maths courses at that time of year to connect with each other
Learning is all about human interaction. The technology just provides the medium for that interaction. In offering my math transition MOOC at the start of the fall term, when many colleges and universities offer their own transition course, I am inviting any instructor who will be giving such a course, together with their students, to join me and my MOOC students online, making interaction with other students around the world a part of a much larger learning community
The Atlantic reports on MOOCs – looking at the offerings from EdX and Coursera and wonders about sustainability of these models.
While classrooms or campuses are not going away, the nature of a classroom is evolving. Sometimes they will be physical places, and sometimes they will be virtual. Some students will experience both at the same time, while others will alternate between different modes of learning at various times in their lives, depending on their needs.
these days anyone can take a course at Stanford. You don’t even have to pay. All you need is access to a computer and a reasonable Internet connection. So what we can say is my 11 year old son just watched a bunch of videos on the Internet
He followed his son’s journey on a Game Theory course , who consulted wikipedia for aspects of algebra and probability and watched the lectures which were slides with heads and found it less interesting. Joshua notes that this is similar to traditional university. There were aspects of online experimentation and assessment available and describes an unusual experiment that his son tries out on the streets.
Laura McKenna in The Atlantic reports on the MOOCness that is starting to sweep across higher education where she reviews Coursera and Edx, noting that they are similar to Khan Academy. They are looking at removing the need for human beings to moderate and grade discussions and assignments.
Multiple choice tests can be easily graded using technology, but essays, the most accepted form of assessment for the humanities and the social sciences, have proven to be trickier. It would be impossible to hire enough people to grade the essays for a class that served 20,000. At Coursera, three engineers worked for two months on creating a system similar to Amazon Mechanical Turk for peer evaluation. This program will launch in about a week. EdX will use essay-grading software.
Discussions are moderated by peers who “vote” good comments up on the discussion board. Bad comments and spam are pushed to the bottom of the discussion threads by voters.
After the videos are created, the assignments are written, and the initial kinks are ironed out, Koller expects that these courses should be self sustaining and run on auto-pilot.
The funding models for Coursera and Edx are both slightly different.
She neglected to mention the history of MOOCs which can be found at http://www.mooc.ca/
Justin Marquis looks at whether MOOCs are bringing forwards a teacherless classroom by looking at the current MITx initiative. Whilst the course plans seem fairly standard, the analysis is fully automated.
He provides a detailed look at the benefits of large scale implementations of these model but notes that this does not provide universal access:
Simply put, if an individual lacks a computer or compatible portable device, Internet connectivity, or even electricity, they cannot use free online educational resources, regardless of how groundbreaking and well-designed those assets are. In order to take advantage of innovative educational opportunities such as MITx, people must be able to access and use them. This is still a significant obstacle both globally and in the U.S.
Louise Fenner reports on the increasing trend in major US universities to offer MOOCs to students everywhere, noting a previous trend of open courseware that was introduced a decade ago. A familiar MOOC format is outlined, first introduced in 2008 and a look at the importance of accreditation from a major university – will these have credibility with employers?
“To what extent will people try to use the statements of accomplishment as a credential to show employers, and how do the employers weigh them? I think only time will tell.”
Digital certificates and badges that indicate competency in a subject or skill “are only as good as whoever’s issuing them,” Culatta said. “If it’s an organization or group that carries some weight, then these certificates will really mean something.”
Contributed by Liz Renshaw
I would like to introduce you to Jaap Bosman. Jaap lives in the North West of the Netherlands in a polder built in 1930. 😉
It is 4 metres below sea level. At university Jaap studied Pedagogy and majored in the Philosophy of Science. He has been teacher, trainer and a book publisher.
Jaap is now the editor an educational site called Kennisnet at http://about.kennisnet.nl . Kennisnet is the public educational organisational that supports and inspires Dutch primary, secondary and vocational institutions in the effective use of ICT. Jaap’s speciality is soft skills: http://softskills.kennisnet.nl/
Jaap says that as an editor
I am always looking for inspiration and information and that is why I am in the MOOC
Jaap finds abundance of information is not a bad thing. He sees it as a blessing and chooses and selects the resources he needs for his job.
Jaap believes that building a network or PLE means that you must be trustworthy and send messages of value. Also he likes to ask questions. He sees it as being human and recognises the importance of answering questions, responding and adding personal messages.
He finds that most of his friends and people he connects to are using Twitter and Facebook so as an editor he uses these tools to communicate.
In the Change Mooc he found that some presenters did excite him but he was really happy with his fellow students. Jaap’s post on this topic can be found at [http://connectiv.wordpress.com/2012/02/02/change11-teacher-roles-and-mooc/.
If you follow Jaap’s blog you will see that he always uses pictures. His pictures are always intriguing and leave readers pondering their meaning and connection to the writing.
He believes that pictures are important. Words can tell a story, but pictures [http://jjbs.wordpress.com/] will tell so much more. Jaap’s minor at university was was “Images and words” a combination course of literature, arts and history of arts.
I would like to thank Jaap for agreeing to provide a profile for our Blog Calendar.
In this article, Bob Adelmann looks at the potential impact of MITx and how with an open learning platform that is free and online including MITx credentials, other educational institutions may follow suit with MIT offering the platform to other universities who offer massive open online courses.
Will it break down barriers?
Contributed by Liz Renshaw
I teach in two places – e-learning with adults and children’s dance and gymnastics.
My name is Teresa. I am MSc. in Human Movement, and live in Brazil.
2. Why did you decide to participate Change11?
I thank my friend Daisy Grisolia who told me about the course. I immediately accepted and was very happy.
3.What were a couple of highlights so far in Mooc?
I learn a lot in the Mooc each week. The CCK11 was shorter than the Change 11 Mooc.
4. How do you deal with the abundance of information on Mooc?
I am not afraid of the flow of information. I take what immediately catches my attention. I am happy in this tangle of information. I like the chaos because it represents numerous possibilities and freedom.
5. How are you going to build and sustain your Personal Learning Network?
I love blogs, and I intend to build a blogroll to continue reading.
6. Do you see any disadvantages with any social networking tools?
I do not know any social networks that do not have friends! I like to experiment to see whether they are good or bad.
7. Did some presenters really resonated with you?
They all leave their share of knowledge. Some of the subjects were very new to me.
8. Anything else at all!
I love MOOCs.
by Sean Coughlan, BBC Education Correspondent
In this article, Sean reports on MITx which is a free open online course available with assessment and MIT certification.
“This is not a “watered down” version of the campus course or “any less intense”, says a university spokesman.
The main difference is that the MITx version has been designed for online students, with a virtual laboratory, e-textbooks, online discussions and videos that are the equivalent of a lecture. It is expected to take 10 hours per week and will run until June”