Cloud Computing and Creativity: Learning on a Massive Open Online Course

Rita Kop, Fiona Carroll, European Journal of Open, Distance, e-learning, Dec 22, 2011
Commentary by Stephen Downes

This paper maps the concept of the MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) to cloud computing. "In effect, millions of people from all around the world can gain access to data and services, including their own data and documents, without the need for large local data centres, from any device that connects to the internet." While there are clearly economic benefits, they write, what are the educational benefits? The answer (not surprising given the theme of this issue of the journal) is found in creativity: "Amabile (1996) ... sums up the environmental stimulants for creativity, these include: freedom, good project management, sufficient resources, encouragement, various organisational characteristics, recognition, sufficient time, challenge, and pressure." Consequently "open classrooms with more personalised instruction and less emphasis on teacher control, might possibly be more conducive to creativity than traditional classrooms." According to the authors, while "it takes time for people to build confidence and to experience the spark that drives people towards taking that creative production step," it was nonetheless the case that "the artifacts that others produced and the social interaction within the course network, by using micro-blogging tools and discussion forums, inspired and motivated people into creating."

One small note: the process of learning in a MOOC attributed to Siemens and myself in the paper is described as "Attribution - Remix - Creating - Feed Forward". This is not accurate. As I have stated in numerous places (for exmaple, How this Course Works) the process is actually "Aggregate - Remix - Repurpose - Feed Forward". I'm not sure why the terminology was changed, except (I suppose) to go along with the journal's theme. I would have preferred to have been represented by what I have actually written, as I said, in numerous places, rather than an artifice of that.
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