by Stephen Downes
Sept 29, 2016
#FUSION12 - Discussion about MOOCs with Stephen Downes
Stephen Downes, Jan 20, 2020, D2L Fusion,
I want to cut this out and put it on the wall around here: "There is a recurring cultural fantasy that 'solving' the education 'problem' consists of creating a customized playlist of little content bits... Nobody who has taught believes that proper sequencing of content chunks is the hard part." Oh, but that's all so many people want to do. That's how 'learning analytics will solve education!' Argh! People (as Michael Feldstein vividly demonstrates (with examples)) should stop listening to ed tech vendor marketing when thinking about how to design and use educational technology.
How 'ready' are people to take online learning courses (especially those that, like MOOCs, require a fair degree of readiness)? According to this Pew report, which looks at Americans only, the degree of readiness varies across society. This really should be no surprise. The statistics range from 17% for 'fully prepared' (from higher income households and with more education) through to 33% who are 'reluctant' (tend to be men 50 and over with lower educational backgrounds and lower incomes) through to 14% who are 'unprepared' (who tend to be women and over with lower educational backgrounds and incomes). I would imagine you could find similar patterns in other countries, which skews toward more-or-less prepared depending on income. The interesting find would be the outliers - countries like Ecuador and Uruguay, maybe. But Pew doesn't look at that.
From Open Culture: "Let’s give you the quick overview: The list lets you download audio & video lectures from schools like Stanford, Yale, MIT, Oxford and Harvard. Generally, the courses can be accessed via YouTube, iTunes or university web sites, and you can listen to the lectures anytime, anywhere, on your computer or smart phone." Free an d open online learning is coming of age.
Inge de Waard has been working on this just about as long as I have known her. So it's nice to she she has shut down her word processor and shipped some product. "This research investigates the informal learning journeys of 56 experienced adult online learners engaging in individual and/or social self-directed learning using any device to follow a FutureLearn course." You can read it here.
Audrey Watters is "perplexed by the recent call to create a new discipline for education technology" but I think she has it right when she suggests that the point of the initiative is "to determine the intellectual contours and to shore up the departmental boundaries – to decree an orthodoxy – for education technology?" And, as she suggests, "this feels like yet another rebranding, rehistoricizing of ed-tech by elite American universities."
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