#Oped12 The Future of Higher Education and the MOOCs

With thanks to  John Mak for this post:

This talk by Michele Pistone discusses the future of higher education, which has been based on the same educational model for more than 100 years.

But the status quo is about to be disrupted, by the Internet and those educators — including new competitors — who would unleash its potential. Higher education institutions at a whole have not adequately recognized the threat to the status quo, or come close to responding adequately to it. In truth, responding adequately will be very difficult, because higher ed face a classic innovator’s dilemma. (TED video description)

There are many questions that relate to the future of higher education:

1. What would be the future role of Higher Education Institutions and Universities in the global and local communities?

2. What would they do, in times of rapid changes in society and a quest for more responsive to the needs and expectations of the society, government, learners and educators?

3. How would they do it differently?

One of the significant responses to these questions is the MOOC movement, with the introduction of x MOOCs by some of the prestigious Higher Education Institutions and Universities.

Here in an overview of MOOC, a typical MOOC likes Coursera is run based on the following design and delivery

With Coursera, the faculty member developing a course can either record lectures as presented to a class of students, or can make the recording in a studio or other location. The professor can then supplement the video with assessments—like quizzes—that can be automatically graded using Coursera software. The courses also include mastery-building interactive assignments and collaborative online forums. Time commitment varies; courses can range from a few weeks to over two months.

Ray Schroeder elaborates in this post on “how did we get here in the first place” – with MOOC, and what will happen next.  Ray explains that maturing of the internet, the recession that happened a few years ago and the rate of increase in college tuition and fees in recent years have led to the development and demand of such xMOOCs.

He further concludes: “These announcements point to the potential for a radically different higher education marketplace, disrupted by MOOCs. Classes with massive enrollment from a relatively small group of providers may dominate the market for many courses, and perhaps even degree programs. Colleges and universities may become brokers of credentials gathered from many sources, in many formats.”  I think this would soon have a multiplier effect, where more institutions would establish their own MOOCs or join the current MOOCs partnership, in order to be the leaders in this MOOC movement.

In this Schaffhauser, Dian. “Education Leaders See MOOCs, Distance Learning as the Future of Higher Ed.” Campus Technology 20 Aug. 2012. Web.http://campustechnology.com/articles/2012/08/20/education-leaders-see-moocs-distance-learning-as-the-future.aspx

“The overall findings of the survey stated in the form of an equation might be: Today’s tough economy + market dynamics + technological advances = a higher education environment by 2020 in which 1) most people will get at least some of their education in massive open online courses; 2) a fairly large percentage will get all of their education in MOOCs; and 3) only a select few are likely to be able to afford to experience a fully campus-based, face-to-face education,” said principal author Janna Quitney Anderson, director of Imagining the Internet and associate professor in Elon’s School of Communications

I have been wondering how these MOOCs would evolve.  It seems that the current trend of more and more higher education institutions joining in the x MOOCs would likely exhibit the patterns as shown in the figure below, where such disruptive innovations (MOOCs) would soon out-perform the higher education institutions in a number of respects, especially in terms of the number of registrations of the students to MOOCs on a global basis, the attraction of global learners to those higher education institutions, and the branding in an international market, in the adoption of innovations in education and online education.

However, there may be challenges to such xMOOCs when it comes to the quality accreditation (such as those plagiarism and identity problems), and the sustainability of the business models (i.e. how it would be  financed in the long run).  There are also numerous critics on the pedagogy employed in xMOOCs, where concerns are made on the push education model where knowledge is pre-packaged and broadcasted, basically on a knowledge transfer model from the professor to the learners, with machine grading for the assessment.  It seems that there are little ACTUAL interaction between participants and the professor throughout the course, especially when the course participants amounted to tens of thousands.  See my previous post on the merits and demerits of the MOOCs.

In this connection, it may be important to speculate the future of MOOCs using the Product Life Cycle concept.  There are lots of assumptions behind this Product Life Cycle, and that we need more information in order to complete the Cycle.

First, what would be the Product Life Cycle like?

I reckon the current x MOOCs are at the stage of growth, though the business models are still emerging, see this post and this post on the possible models.

Institutions and MOOCs providers would likely refine their MOOCs as more experiences are gained, based on the feedback of the professors and learners, and the findings from the researches.  Also, there would be more intense competition among the different MOOCs providers in showcasing their brands, together with the “travelling” free study groups and free webinars and conferences to further attract new institutions on board and new learners to participate in the courses.  This might take two to three years for the growth to fully develop.

I would speculate that after 2 years of growth, in around 2014, the MOOCs would mature into global platforms where there would be different categories, with x MOOCs, c MOOCs and hybrid c & x MOOCs etc. all building their reputation in a global market.

What would happen next?  What do you think?

Photo credit: this post.

DeGraff awarded $1 million NSF grant to continue linguistics research in Haiti

Peter Dizikes reports on the award of this grant to Michel DeGraff whose research has specialised in use and origins of Creole language.

Along with this research, DeGraff has helped initiate a project, Open Education Resources (OER), intended to develop Creole-language classroom tools. The NSF grant will enable OER to create and disseminate those tools in the so-called STEM fields: science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

In full

Open Educational Resources: It’s not the artifact, it’s the process

Mark McGuire provides a recording and presentation from a seminar that he recently presented on open educational resources:

“Abstract: If we think of OERs as we think of physical artifacts, we might focus on their design, production, storage and distribution. We could quantify their number, calculate their popularity, and track their use. However, in open, distributed, networked learning environments, the emphasis is not be on the resources but on the engagement between participants who create, use, modify, and share experiences. Resources can be used to prompt and fuel conversations, and the results of one conversation can be saved and used as fuel for another, but it is the way in which they are created and used that determines their effectiveness in learning contexts.

In this talk, I will use examples from several open courses to explore the nature of digital resources and discuss how they are used to enable constructive engagements between networked learners. I suggest that, although appropriate resources are an important part of the learning process, we need to pay more attention to the design of the structures and networks in which they are generated and circulated.”

In full


Open Access: Money and Data talk and say the same thing?

Stephen Curry reflects on open access and the basic principles of bulk buying – for libraries purchasing journals – the articles are cheaper but they end up buying a lot of content that may not be accessed and a study which noticed a ”weakening relationship” between journal Impact Factors and individual papers’ citations. He questions whether the notion of ‘journal’ itself is disappearing with increasing digital access and encourages people to sign up to the White House petition.

There seems no immediate danger; even relatively new and online-only journals, such as PLoS ONE, have a journal identity. But what does that mean in the absence of a physical object that looks like a printed journal? I suspect the dissociation of the concept from the thing itself may weaken people’s habituation to the form

Discussion in the comments challenges the study findings as to whether there is actual data to back up the claims made. They also look at the impact of media that reflect certain perspectives prior to detailed review

In full


What does it mean to be open online?

Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda, recently addressed the World Wide Web conference on the subject of being open online.

She mentions that she received a pair of handcuffs in the mail. She believes that openness can improve lives through greater access to information and how the development of open standards can promote innovation.

For me, openness means giving every person a forum in which they can express themselves. Every creator a way to be rewarded and recognised for their work. The security that ensures liberty for all. And services that transparently provide the consumer with what they’ve asked for and pay for.

Innovation can deliver all of these, giving choice and opportunity to all. Let’s really be open, and allow that innovation to happen

In full

Towards Peeragogy

At DML Central Howard Rheingold shares his experiences with students collaborating using a range of social software, how groups interacted with each other and how they build a community of co-learners.

It’s not exactly a matter of making my own role of teacher obsolete. If we do this right, I’ll learn more about facilitating others to self-organize learning.

In full

MIT launches free online ‘fully automated’ course

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”

In full

Getting to know you: Introducing Jonas Bäckelin

Introducing Jonas Bäckelin, Contributed by Liz Renshaw:

1.    Can you tell us a bit about yourself Jonas?

photo of JonasMy name is Jonas Bäckelin and I’m living in Balchik by the Black Sea Coast of Bulgaria.  My professional career started with my qualifications in environmental chemistry and marine biology, followed by working as a teacher with specialization in didactics and ‘Information and Communication Technology’ (ICT). I’m now focusing on my thesis for my Master of Arts and Social Science in ‘Adult Learning and Global Change’ (ALGC), with the working title “Navigating Distributed Knowledge with the use of Web Tools”. My commitment to a new level of teacher training curriculum has involved me in the development of coherent strategies to fully integrate the use of computers as pedagogical tools in the classroom.

In 2012 I’ve started eduToolkit a ‘Grassroots Organization’ promoting ‘Teachers Open Online Learning’ (TOOL) for Professional Development. We investigate the concept of ‘The Networked Teacher’ and find out more about ‘Networked Literacy & Fluency’ in education. I’m developing our first course with the help of WikiEducator called “Certified Networked Teacher – The Use of WebTools” and we will use assessment badges through Peer-2-Peer University (P2PU).

2. Why did you decide to participate in Change11?

A: My fellow students from Canada in ALGC introduced me to the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) “CCK08-Connectivism and Connective Knowledge”, but it took me until the third offering of  CCK11 facilitated by Stephen Downes, George Siemens and Dave Cormier until I was participating as a for non-credit student.  I got bitten by the MOOC bug, completed the eduMOOC and enrolled as ‘Network Mentor’ in Alec Couros course “EC&I831-Social Media and Open Education”.  Continuing with the MOOC ‘Change – Education, Learning and Technology’ in September was only natural as an ‘early adopter’.

3. What have been a couple of highlights so far in the Mooc?

A:  We are moving several frontiers simultaneously and I’m starting to realize that a single teacher can’t cope with the scope of change in education.  Some of the highlight are Mobile Learning (Zoraini Wati Abas), Collective learning (Allison Littlejohn), Rhizomatic Learning (Dave Cormier), Slow learning (Clark Quinn), Authentic learning (Jan Herrington).  The general trend is that fragmented and distributed knowledge can be managed through teaching, but we need online resources and tools.

4. How do you deal with the abundance of information in the Mooc?

A: I try to pay attention to outlines or key distinctions in order to create my own learning outcomes.  When listening to recordings or reading blog posts and articles I use our traditional tool Pen & Paper to create a concept map.  During CCK11 I created a workflow where I summarized my progress weekly in Insights, Thoughts and Questions.  This model has proven useful for monthly updates in the Change MOOC.  With help of examples and blog posts from other participants I like to make comparisons and find relationships – Remix and Mash-Up.

5. How do you go about building and sustaining your Personal Learning Network?

A: My struggle involves finding the balance between Practice & Reflection (i.e. blogging) and Model & Demonstrate (i.e. facilitating learning) and my main focus is on how I will become a node that creates learning resources for teacher’s open online learning.  The connections with experts in the ‘knowledge domain’ have grown into my ‘Personal Learning Network’, but the self-generating and sustainable networks come from expectations and feedback among peers and friends. NEXT PAGE

Lurking or Legitimate Peripheral Participation

By Christy Tucker, CC/A/3.0

During the July 7 early #lrnchat about social media and social learning, there was a lot of discussion about lurking.

Can I Play?In response to the question “What are some ways you learn through social media that aren’t collaborative, with other people per-se?”

I replied:

I do a fair amount of lurking (ie “legitimate peripheral participation”)

I also retweeted this message by Colby Fordham:

We all like sharers, but there is a value in lurking. [You] have to [learn] the rules and important topics.

and Jane Bozarth replied

…and then stop lurking

Often, lurking is just a temporary phase, and you do jump in afterwards. But is that always necessary? I have lots of online communities where I sit on the periphery and lurk, long past the initial phase of learning how the community works.

A few examples:

  • YouTube: Most of the time on YouTube, I’m just watching. I’m not creating my own videos, commenting, sharing, or bookmarking. I have a few videos, but I’m lurking at least 90% of the time.
  • Kongregate: Technically, I am not a lurker on this gaming site by the strictest definition, since I do rate games. I read through the forums and chat  sometimes, but rarely jump into the conversation.
  • News: I don’t get a newspaper in “dead tree” format; I get most of my news online. I read several newspapers and blogs, all of which have commenting or community features. Most of the time I don’t even read the user discussions, and I never add my own comments.
  • Slashdot: I skim the RSS feed, but I don’t have an account and have never commented.
  • Wikipedia: At one point, I contributed quite a bit (2500+ edits), but it’s been over a year since I’ve been active.

I learn on all those sites. (Yes, even Kongregate: I learn game strategies on the forums. What I learn is of limited use in the rest of my life, but it’s useful for my goals when I’m on that site.) I’ll be honest; I’m not really interested in getting sucked into the high drama conversations on most of those sites. Wikipedia, for example, can be pretty intense and nasty. It’s the only place online I’ve actually been directly threatened (although there was no actual danger, it was still disconcerting). If I’m going to be part of conversations, I’d rather they be part of the learning community, or at least more productive than many of the conversations at the sites above.

Would I be a better gamer if I was active in the Kongregate forums? Most likely. But I’m not looking for a high level of expertise in gaming. So why should I expend my energy there, when peripheral participation gets me enough expertise to meet my personal goals?

In the #lrnchat conversation, Jane called this behavior “taking,” and she’s right—I’m reading and taking advantage of the resources without giving back. I give back here, but I don’t give back in every community that I use. My giving is very uneven, and sometimes I just lurk.

Is it wrong to lurk, or is it appropriate to have different levels of participation in different online communities? Should we exclude anyone from reading the RSS feeds of our blogs if they aren’t commenting,  bookmarking, +1-ing, etc?

In Digital Habitats, Etienne Wenger, Nancy White, and John D. Smith call lurking “legitimate peripheral participation”:

From a community of practice perspective, lurking is interpreted as “legitimate peripheral participation,” a crucial process by which communities offer learning opportunities to those on the periphery. Rather than a simple distinction between active and passive members, this perspective draws attention to the richness of the periphery and the learning enabled (or not) by it. (p. 9)

Do the people active in a community learn more than those on the edges? Yes, I do believe that. But if your goal isn’t to be an expert, peripheral participation may give you enough learning to meet your needs. You can learn via social media without it actually being social learning.

What do you think? Are there communities where you are in the center of the action, but others where you’re on the periphery? Is there a place for lurking in learning communities, or should everyone be an active participant? If we’re designing learning with social media, can we focus just on social learning, or can we also support use of social media for peripheral participation?

Image credit:

Can I play? by jaxxon