Definitory Power on MOOCs

Matthias Melcher, x28's New Blog, Mar 09, 2012
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Matthias Melcher comments on the watering-down of the term MOOC. My observation is that the theft of any concept by commercial interests is inevitable, because this is what they do; they did it to punk, they did it to edupunk, and they'll do it to MOOCs and whatever else we come up with.

This is more interesting thinking: "I would be more interested in new methods of emphasizing the network connections of varying strengths between the concepts, instead of hierarchically organized pigeon-holes, or snap-in jig-saw puzzle pieces." I used to do this, creating gigantic concept maps, but the problem is that you're tied to the sign, word and symbol. The interesting connections are subsymbolic, beyond conceptual, but there's no easy way to bring that out.

Bryan Alexander meanwhile relates a discussion on MOOCs, but I fear this is a symptom of the media mis-messaging. He writes, "Is there a culture/discipline split in MOOC curricula? So far STEM fields seem to be the first coming on line. Not much in the way of law or humanities so far." This is true if you consider the domain of MOOCs to be Stanford-MIT, but in the real world of MOOCs we see titles like 'Connective Knowledge' (humanities), 'Critical Literacies' (humanities) and 'Digital Storytelling' (humanities) and Creativity and Multicultural Communication (humanities).

On a related note, George Siemens writes, "If I was Alec Couros, Will Richardson, Vicki Davis, Steve Hargadon, or any of the thousands of K-12 educators that have been pushing for networked/connected learning for years (in Will’s case, more than a decade), I’d be fairly irritated to have been written out of the vision of connected learning that is now emerging from DML. I don’t see any mention of the folks that have been pushing for open, social, networked, and collaborative pedagogical models on the site’s connected learning principles... Alec Couros, as an example, did his dissertation on the topic.... Julie Lindsay and Vicki Davis have just published a book on the topic. [But] basically, a new initiative seems to arise out of nowhere with this brilliant vision of connected learning." Like I said; this is what they do.
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