Evaluating a cMOOC using Downes’ four “process conditions”

Christina Hendricks, , Jun 17, 2013
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Interesting summary and reflection of a 2010 paper by Mackness, Mak and Williams on the four conditions (autonomy, diversity, openness, interactivity) I set for evaluating MOOCs. The paper itself is of limited value as a research paper, being based as it is on a survey of 22 people. But the discussion is interesting, as "puzzling that in that recent post Downes doesn’t talk about asking participants about their experiences in a cMOOC at all." But some of the remarks in the paper show exactly why. Consider this: "The researchers provided quotes from two participants stating that they would have preferred more structure and guidance, and one course instructor who reported that learner autonomy led to some frustration that what s/he was trying to say or do in the course was not always 'resonating with participants'." So how is this relevant? So some people didn't like autonomy (one because they couldn't control outsomes) - what do I do, revise the criteria for assessing courses based on this? Clearly not.

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