by Stephen Downes
Aug 19, 2016
New Models of Open and Distance Learning
Stephen Downes, Aug 18, 2016.
The combination of customization and personalization provide some, but not all, of the objectives set by new pedagogies. Students are limited by the capacity of the LMS. Community-formation is limited to the students enrolled in the course. Students can participate and interact, but their creativity is limited by the LMS environment, and they lose access to their work at the end of the semester.
One of the issues I have with competencies is that too often they are just a rewrapping of content knowledge in new terminology. Take this Blackboard post for example. The author begins reasonably: a competency requires "a clear understanding of (a) a summary of what the competency is about, (b) a specific definition of the competency, and (c) the associated topics that will help assess the competency." But then we get an example of a competency definition: "Describes, classifies and critiques the origins, actions and consequences of American civil rights," and as a subcompetency: "Political shift of south" and various others. This isn't a competency in any real sense. It's just some content the student is expected to know about. And we have no sense whatsoever about why students are expected to know this content, what would count as evidence they've achieved it, nor what they're supposed to do with the knowledge.
Females’ Enrollment and Completion in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Massive Open Online Courses
Suhang Jiang, Katerina Schenke, Jacquelynne Sue Eccles, Di Xu, Mark Warschauer, arXiv.org, 2016/08/19
According to this study, "globally MOOCs have the potential to provide learning opportunities for females in less developed countries. Findings from this study support the hypothesis that greater gender segregation may exist in more economically developed countries." Even so, only about 24% of enrollees in STEM MOOCs were women, suggesting a need to explore ways to make them more gender-inclusive. Data for the study were from the public MOOC dataset provided by HarvardX - MITx.
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