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February 20, 2013

When MOOCs melt down
Robert Talbert, Casting Out Nines, February 20, 2013

In the news this week is the story of a professor who quit his own MOOC half way through. The Chronicle provides one side of the story - "the problem had stemmed from Mr. McKenzie’s reluctance to loosen his grip on students who he thought were not learning well in the course" - but we read from these tweets quite a different perspective: "What he didn't like most was the students who WERE informed, but were fighting back on his rigorous rational economics model. He didn't like criticism from those knowledgeable at economics. And the text that was not free was HIS!" (Tweets combined and edited for spelling.) This is being depicted as a failure for Coursera, but I see it as a victory - one wonders what has been happening in Richard A. McKenzie's classroom over the years, with what appears to be a dysfunctional teaching style operating obscured from scrutiny. More links: here's the course, Microeconomics for Managers. Here is Mackenzie's video course and his YouTube channel. Coveage of the incident from the L.A. Times, GigaOM,

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Traditional and Online Courses, Twitter, YouTube, Video, Google]

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Posts About MOOCs
Stephen Downes, Stephen's Web ~ OLDaily, February 20, 2013

So I thought it was pretty impressive when Jay Cross posted a list of 195 posts about MOOCs yesterday. Authoritative. Then I got to thinking, did some checking, and realized that I have personally authored 453 posts about MOOCs. This link is to that page, and I've set it to automatically update weekly, so there will always be a current list. Meanwhile, I went over to mooc.ca and found that since last July that site had aggregated 3708 posts about MOOCs. So I think between the two sites we've got the topic pretty much covered.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: none]

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Making Search Engines Work for Education Resources
John K. Waters, THE Journal, February 20, 2013

This article unwittingly makes the case both for and against the Learning Resource Metadata Initiative (LRMI). The idea of such an initiative is to help educators find resources to support learning either in the classroom or online. But this, we are told, is very difficult. "Try this for information overload: Open your favourite browser, and in the search box type 'multiplying fractions.' In about a quarter of a second, you'll find yourself buried in more than 4 million results. Four million." Sounds daunting, right? But I modified the query slightly, to "how to multiply fractions" and got 812,000 results. Still sounds bad? No - every one of the results on page 1 was a perfectly good explanation of how to multiply fractions. The problem for LRMI is that it's pretty hard to improve on that, and it's not clear that it's necessary. Indeed, that's why the next step in online learning was to evolve from assigning resources, as they do in traditional learning, to enabling learner choice, as we do in MOOCs.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Google, Online Learning]

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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