Articles About MOOCs

Reusable Media, Social Software and Openness in Education
September 7, 2004. Full Text, PowerPoint slides and the full MP3 audio version of my keynote at ITI in Utah. The abstract: "In the three themes described in the title of this paper there is a common thread, a tension between the producers of media, both online and traditional, and between the consumers of this media. Greater connectivity and greater capacity for content creation have given the consumers the capacity to produce their own media, and this poses what is deemed to be unacceptable competition to the producers, who find that their traditional modes of production, business models and distribution channels are threatened. In every domain, it seems, we hear the call for a closed network, whether it be in the form of bundled libraries, proprietary social networking sites, digital rights and authentication, learning design, or media formats. The developers of processes and standards for these multiple domains, heeding the demands of the producers, are complying with development that have the effect,...

Cascades and Connectivity
November 29, 2004. There are numerous instances where a cascade phenomenon is undesirable, and not simply in cases where Plan A is not the best plan. In many instances, following the leader is not the most viable strategy, for example, in cases when being the leader confers significant advantages.

Informal, Connected, Learning 2.0
November 7, 2005. Jay Cross, George Siemens and I sat down and chatted in jay's Breeze conference facility last Friday, a conversation that - with some slides and some video of Jay in his office, was captured as a Breeze presentation. It's pretty loose and unstructured - viewers should realize that this is a conversation, not a presentation, and that we're trying to work our way through to some ideas, rather than to present some insight. Topics covered include connectivism, the role of corporate training, learner-centeredness and e-learning 2.0, and more. Expect audio issues as well (next time we should just lean on the folks at Ed Tech Talk for the use of their facilities ;)). View the Conversation.

An Introduction to Connective Knowledge
December 22, 2005. This paper provides an overview of connective knowledge. It is intended to be an introduction, expressed as non-technically as possible.

High-Speed Connectivity in Spain and the World
July 26, 2006. You totally change your way of researching - eg the possibility of having virtual centres, with resources distributed.

Learning Networks and Connective Knowledge
October 10, 2006. This paper represents my latest effort to ground learning networks in a connective epistemology, and while there are still loose bits and questionable areas I think this is as close as I've come yet. For me, this is a major paper. I hope you enjoy it.

A New Website, Part Eleven - Content Construction
December 4, 2006. It wasn't clear to me at first how the system would support multiple authors, but it turns out that CCK does it quite nicely.

What Connectivism Is
February 5, 2007. In connectivism, there is no real concept of transferring knowledge, making knowledge, or building knowledge. Rather, the activities we undertake when we conduct practices in order to learn are more like growing or developing ourselves and our society in certain (connected) ways.

Non-Web Connectivism
February 20, 2007. The ease with we can switch from saying society requires something to saying society requires a different things demonstrates the extent to which our interpretations of what society has to say depend much more on what we are looking for than what is actually there.

Kirschner, Sweller, Clark (2006) - Critique
November 15, 2007. These notes became my PowerPoint presentation criticizing the Kirschner, Sweller, Clark (2006) article I titled it: Free Learning and Control Learning: On the So-Called Failure of Constructivist, Discovery, Problem-Based, Experiential, and Inquiry-Based Teaching A Free Learning (Connectivism) Connectivism: The theory that knowledge and learning can be described and explained using network principles Two major aspects: ‘knowledge’ is to be organized in a certain way - ‘knowing’ is like ‘recognizing’, ie

Connectives and Collectives: Learning Alone, Together
July 21, 2008. Summary of George Siemens's opening keynote at the Tools
August 1, 2008. Thinking aloud about what tools we want to use in CCK08, drawing from George's post on the weekly activities.

Connectivism and its Critics: What Connectivism Is Not
September 10, 2008. There are some arguments that argue, essentially, that the model we are demonstrating here would not work in a traditional academic environment. These arguments, it seems to me, are circular. They defend the current practice by the current practice. Right now we are engaged in the process of defining what connectivism is. Perhaps it may be relevant for a moment to say what it is not.

Response to Fitzpatrick
September 10, 2008. Here is my response to Catherine Fitzpatrick's lengthy critique of What Connectivism Is Her comments are in italics Here's my problem with your ideology, Stephen, which appears to me to be even more radical than constructivism and tries not only to describe or defend a new epistemology, but appears to disrupt social systems as well, in the name of some putative technocommunism that will reign supreme on the Internet with everybody working for nothing and getting everything for free and living happily ever after

That's Week One in the Record Books
September 12, 2008. Reflections on the first week of the Connectivism and Connective Knowledge 2008 course.

That's Week One in the Record Books
September 12, 2008. It's Friday evening, I've just sent out OLWeekly, and I can reflect on the first week of the course

Types of Knowledge and Connective Knowledge
September 14, 2008. This is a presentation for At the End of Week Two
September 20, 2008. Reflections on the second week of Connectivism and Connective Knowledge (CCK08).

Week 3: Networks
September 28, 2008. Summary of week 3 of the Connectivism and Connective Knowledge course, and some discussion about networks.

Access2OER: The CCK08 Solution
February 16, 2009. Contributed to the Connectivist Dynamics in Communities
February 24, 2009. I was asked, "if you could give me some orientation on how I could integrate some questions in the survey (or maybe in the Social Network Analysis) that explain or prove the existence of connectivist dynamics inside the community and if it’s impact can be tested" That question, in turn, begs the question of what exactly would constitute connectivist dynamics On the one hand we could say simply that it's network dynamics, and that if we detect network properties (as revealed, say, in social network analysis) then we have connectivist dynamics

Surveys Are Not Connective Knowledge
April 1, 2010. Responding to Steve Covello, who asserts "the collective opinion based on crowdsourced data collection means nothing more than a statistical point of interest

Connectivism and Transculturality
May 16, 2010. Transcript of my talk delivered to Telefónica Foundation, Buenos Aires, Argentina

How This Course Works
June 10, 2010. Overview of how a connectivist course works, first posted for the Critical Literacies course. Critical Literacies is an unusual course. It does not consist of a body of content you are supposed to remember. Rather, the learning in the course results from the activities you undertake, and will be different for each person. This type of course is called a ‘connectivist' course and is based on four major types of activity: aggregate, remix, repurpose, feed forward.

Critical Literacies and Connectivism
July 5, 2010. Although it is still fashionable to deny that Connectivism is a 'theory', properly so-called, I prefer to frame my thinking about learning in terms of Connectivism because I have not encountered an alternative approach that draws out what seems to me to be essential with the same degree of precision and clarity As I have Connectivism and Connective Knowledge
January 7, 2011. The underlying message of connectivism: it is a pedagogy based on the realization that knowledge is not something we can package neatly in a sentence and pass along as though it were a finished product. It is complicated, distributed, mixed with other concepts, looks differently to different people, is inexpressible, tacit, mutually understood but never articulated. Posted on Huffington Post.

Network Diagrams
January 24, 2011. For #cck11 here is a selection of network diagrams.

Connectivism, Peirce, and All That
February 4, 2011. The approach to meaning I have adopted and understand to be a better way of thinking about it: the meaning of the word does not lie in anything distinct from actual instances of the word (by analogy: the colour 'red' does not lie in anything distinct from instances of the colour 'red'; the quantity '1' does not lie in anything other than instances of the quantity '1'). Harvested from Half an Hour

What Networks Have In Common
March 5, 2011. David T. Jones asks, "Does connectivism conflate or equate the knowledge/connections with these two levels ("neuronal" and "networked")? Regardless of whether the answer is yes or no, what are the implications that arise from that response?" The answer to the first question is 'yes', but with some caveats. Harvested from Half an Hour.

Knowledge Transfer
July 1, 2011. So we have this discussion back and forth about the merits of MOOCs. We have the Chronicle acting as though the MOOC has just been invented by some American, Wiley complaining that “MOOCs and their like are not the answer to higher education’s problems” and now this piece of nonsense.

Theoretical Synergies
July 13, 2011. No doubt different people have their own theories, but I have argued in the past that one of the major differences between connectivism and constructivist theories generally is that in connectivism learning is a property of the system, something that happens all the time, and is not therefore the subject of intentional activity.

How to Participate in the MOOC
September 13, 2011. This short post is intended to help you participate in the Massive Open Online Course, of MOOC. It won't cover everything, but it should be enough to get you started. Note that how don't have to participate this way; it's just recommended as a good place to start.

How to Participate in the MOOC - 2
September 14, 2011. Today it's all about setting up your social web. Remember from yesterday that if you want to engage more actively in the course, the best way is to create your own contributions online. You are not required to do this, but you may well find yourself more engaged in the process if you do.

MOOCs and the OPAL Quality Clearinghouse
November 20, 2011. I have submitted the following responses about #change11 and MOOCs in general to the Open Education Quality Initiative (OPAL) survey of OER practices (I love how the email said it would take five minutes to complete the survey).

Engagement and Motivation in MOOCs
November 22, 2011. Research conducted into the extant literature on the subject of engagement and online learning, in preparation for a talk on the subject.

The Right Mix
November 27, 2011. It's easy enough technically to implement some sort of collaborative filtering or reputation management system, but the result would conflict with the objectives of the design of the MOOC.

Creating the Connectivist Course
January 6, 2012. In 2008 we were not setting out to create a MOOC. So the form was not something we designed and implemented, at least, not explicitly so. But we had very clear ideas of where we wanted to go, and I would argue that it was those clear ideas that led to the definition of the MOOC as it exists today.

E-Learning: Générations
February 11, 2012. Ces dernières années, j'ai travaillé sur deux grands concepts: d'abord, la théorie de l'apprentissage en ligne connectivist, qui considère l'apprentissage comme un processus de réseau et, deuxièmement, le massif cours ouverts en ligne, ou MOOC, qui est une instanciation de ce processus.

E-Learning Generations
February 11, 2012. In recent years I have been working on two major concepts: first, the connectivist theory of online learning, which views learning as a network process; and second, the massive open online course, or MOOC, which is an instantiation of that process.

What a MOOC Does
March 1, 2012. What we are trying to do with a MOOC is to create an environment where people who are more advanced reasoners, thinkers, motivators, arguers, and educators can practice their skills in a public way by interacting with each other.

Education as Platform: The MOOC Experience and what we can do to make it better
March 12, 2012. What this talk is about is the idea of exploring some of the experiences we've had with massive open online learning, and exploring some of the criticisms that we've experienced, some of the criticisms that we've seen, and trying to understand what elements of the design are working and what elements of the design are not working

LCT Poll
April 20, 2012. I have a quick Twitter poll - I'm considering offering a MOOC in logic and critical thinking starting in September... informal yet rigorous.

The Rise of MOOCs
April 23, 2012. Responses to interview questions posed by Kevin Charles Redmon, Independent Journalist and Middlebury Fellow in Environmental Journalism

Learning and the Massive Open Online Course
April 4, 2013. This is a set of notes taken from the ELI Online Spring Focus Session on MOOCs in on-campus education. The bulk of the discussion is around describing (and justifying) 'wrapping' MOOCs with traditional in-person coursework (resulting in MOOCs that are neither massive, nor online, nor open, and barely recognizable as courses). April 3-4, 2013

Presentations About MOOCs

MOOC and Mookies: The Connectivism & Connective Knowledge Online Course
September 10, 2008. eFest, Auckland, New Zealand by Elluminate (Seminar). Description of the software environment used so support our Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) along with an outline of where the students have taken it and of the principles governing the design. Delibered online to eFest (Auckland, New Zealand) from Moncton, Canada

Ellyssa Kroski Interview
September 14, 2008. , Skype (Interview). In this interview with Ellyssa Kroski from mid-September Interview I discuss our current CCK08 online course and open education generally. Kroski's course, with numerous resources and a number of interviews from other people, is available online.

It can be done!
September 17, 2008. , Skype (Interview). This is an interview I recorded with Jochen Robes in preparation for the SCOPE online conference, held October 1. I talk about the CCK08 course and about connectivism in general. Interesting bit, I think, where I talk about my role in the course. Also some stuff near the end on my understanding of knowledge.

Educamp CCK08 Talk
October 1, 2008. WE Magazine Educamp 2008, Germany, via Skype (Keynote). I describe how we set up the CCK08 course, talk about what the students added on, summarize the content of the course thus far, and outline the gRSShopper tool I'm using to doi my part. Delivered via Skype to an educamp in Germany. Sorry about the echo in the voice. Links are here. Video is here.

International Perspective
October 31, 2008. eLearning Alliance Annual Conference 2008, Edinburgh, Scotland, via Elluminate (Keynote). In this presentation by Elluminate to the e-Learning Alliance conference in Edinburgh, Scotland, I run through a fast-paced description of progress in the CCK08 online course thus far, outline my gRSShopper PLE software, and make soe remarks about the future of learning online.

Connectivism: A Theory of Personal Learning
December 3, 2008. Educational Development Centre, Ottawa (Keynote). Overview of personal learning and personal learning environments, connectivism, and our experience in the CCK08 course. Original slides are here, but they are gibbled by Apple's proprietary nonsense (and are 52 megabytes, compared to 4.7 megabytes for the PDF).

CCK08 Course Recap
February 23, 2009. Special Seminar, Online, Elluminate (Seminar). The recording is now available. We discussed a wide-range of topics, including lurking in online environments, lessons learned from CCK08, Stephen's serialized course feeds, what we'll do differently for the September '09 offering of the course, etc.

New Technology Supporting Informal Learning
May 14, 2009. Challenges 2009, Braga, Portugal (Keynote). Photo by Storrao Description of the transition from linear adaptive learning systems to open networked based object oriented environments. Overview of the CCK08 online course, and description of the idea behind the PLE. See the paper associated with the presentation (note that the presentation actually delivered differs from the paper). See also this short video clip of part of the talk.

Personal Learning Environments and PLENK2010
October 20, 2010. Training Development Officers, Halifax, via Skype and (Seminar). I describe the organization of connectivist courses such as CCK08 and PLENK2010, demonstrate some of the technology, and discuss some of the thinking behind the design.

MOOC 2011: The Massive Open Online Course in Theory and in Practice
September 6, 2011. IV Innovar para Transcendar Simposio de la COMINAIC, Guadalajara, Mexico (Keynote). In this presentation I set the MOOC within the context of the objectives of this symposium on curriculum design, provide an outline of the history of the MOOC, and use that history to create a description of MOOCs. See also The MOOC Guide.

How to Organize a MOOC
September 10, 2011. IV Innovar para Transcendar Simposio de la COMINAIC, Ameca and Guadalajara, Mexico (Seminar). Long set of slides (really a compilation and reordering of four previous slide sets) for my workshop held in Ameca, Mexico (Setember 6, 2011) and Guadalajara, Mexico (September 7, 2011). The first day (for which there are no slides) I offered a demonstration of my gRSShopper system. The slides then examine the theory behind that application. Part 1, Ameca, Mexico, September 6 Download MP3 Part 2 (cut a bit short), Guadalajara, Mexico, September 7 Download MP3 Part 3, Guadalajara, Mexico, September 7 Download MP3

Engagement and Motivation in MOOCs
November 23, 2011. CQU OLT Educational Technology, Online to Queensland, via WebX (Keynote). In this presentation I look at the issues of engagement and motivation in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). I outline the development of MOOCs and some of the features that make them distinct from traditional courses. Then I look at some of the literature regarding online student engagement, and apply that with respect to MOOCs. I find that many traditional measures - such as counting attendance or page views - do not account for the sort of engagement we'd like to see, and is demonstrated for example in ds106. In addition, provision of the ability to determine one's own educational path or even to satisfy one's other motivations, may be necessary, but are not sufficient, to support motivation in MOOCs. In the end I consider the example of how motivation is created in gaming environments, and wonder whether MOOCs need challenges and the possibility of failure in order to stimulate student engagement. Please note that the video is a short 5-minute promo, and is not the sa...

E-Learning: Générations
February 14, 2012. Clair 2012, Clair, New Brunswick (Keynote). Presented in French / Presenté en français Ces dernières années, j'ai travaillé sur deux grands concepts: d'abord, la théorie de l'apprentissage en ligne connectivist, qui considère l'apprentissage comme un processus de réseau et, deuxièmement, le massif cours ouverts en ligne, ou MOOC, qui est une instanciation de ce processus. Ceux-ci, cependant, ne représentent que la plus récente de ce qui peut être vu comme une série de «générations» de e-learning. Dans cet exposé, je décris ces générations et je discute de la façon dont ils ont conduit à, et sont une partie de, l'œuvre le plus récente dans l'apprentissage en ligne. (In recent years I have been working on two major concepts: first, the connectivist theory of online learning, which views learning as a network process; and second, the massive open online course, or MOOC, which is an instantiation of that process. These, however, represent only the most recent of what can...

Facilitating a Massive Open Online Course
February 24, 2012. IMU-LS, Kuala Lumpur, online, via WizIQ (Seminar). In this (nearly 2 hour online) talk Stephen Downes, one of the originators of the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) format, described the organization and management of a MOOC, beginning with the arrangement of technology, organization of learning materials, communications with students, support tasks, and interaction with guest presenters. This talk is based on fifteen years’ experience designing and delivering web-based instruction, as well as knowledge amassed though the delivery of six MOOCs to almost ten thousand students since 2008.

Education as Platform: The MOOC Experience and what we can do to make it better
March 14, 2012. EdgeX, Delhi, India (Keynote). In this presentation I outline the motivation and design of the massive open online course (MOOC) and then outline a number of criticisms of the form as it has evolved thus far. My argument is that to the extent that a MOOC focuses on content, like a traditional course, i begins to fail. A MOOC should focus on the connections, not the content. I outline some ways of focusing on connections, using connectors. By way of an example, I discuss structured connections such as chess games and budget simulations. Full text is available: Click here.

A True History of the MOOC
September 27, 2012. Future of Education, Online, via Blackboard Collaborate (Panel). A one-hour live and interactive webinar hosted by Steve Hargadon on the "true history" of the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) with Dave Cormier, Alec Couros, Stephen Downes, Rita Kop, Inge de Waard, and Carol Yeager. While a wave of courses from prominent universities are now labeled as MOOCs, we'll drill down on the connectivist roots of the early MOOC offerings and discuss the importance of the differences between them and the current breed. Recordings: The full Blackboard Collaborate recording is here and a portable .mp3 recording is here. Mightybell Space: Resources, videos, links, and conversation about the interview can be found here.

The Connective Learning Environment
October 8, 2012. Tele-TASK Symposium, Potsdam, Germany (Keynote). Overview of the model of learning informing the design of the first MOOCs, including a look at some aspects of the gRSShopper software we have been using to support the MOOCs.

L'apprentissage ouvert et les affaires
November 1, 2012. Forum sur l'économie du savoir, Edmunston, via Google Hangout (Keynote). Talk given en français on the subject of open learning, MOOCs and the lessons for small and medium businesses. Full text of the talk is available here. Sadly, the video shows only the remote audience, not the speaker and slides.

Sustainability and MOOCs in Historical Perspective
November 15, 2012. Simposio Internacional Estado Actual Y Prospectiva De La Educacion Virtual, Bogota, Colombia (Keynote). Overview of the historical factors leading to the development of massive open online courses, and discussion of what this history can tell us of the sustainability of MOOCs in the future.

The LMS and the PLE
November 23, 2012. MoodleMoodUY, Montevideo, Uruguay (Keynote). Keynote on the topic of the LMS and the MOOC model. Abstract: "With the widespread adoption of the massive open online course (MOOC) over the last year, questions are now being raised about the role of a learning management system (LMS) such as Moodle. Where previously the focus was on the management of course materials and cohorts progressing according to predefined objectives and curricula, the learning environment of the future is more open-ended and less overtly managed. In this talk Stephen Downes, one of the originators of the MOOC format, describes the differences between types of MOOCs, compares them to the LMS, and outlines the changes LMSs such as Moodle are looking at in the future."

Open Discussion on the LMS and the MOOC
November 23, 2012. MoodleMoodUY, Montevideo, Uruguay (Panel). Discussion of the keynote on the topic of the LMS and the MOOC model. Some interesting topics covered, including the question of curriculum, assessment, and the nature of critical literacy.

February 5, 2013. Atelier REL , Moncton (Seminar). Presentation in French on the subject of MOOCs, their design and intent, and their relation to open educational resources (REL).

MOOCs and OERs
February 6, 2013. Conference Santiago de Compostela, Santiago de Compostela, Spain, via Hangout (Keynote). Overview of some of the early MOOCs we created, along with some more extended duscussion of the design principles we employed in creating MOOCs.

MOOCs in Context: the re.mooc in Africa
March 11, 2013. EPFL Media Design Lab, Lausanne, Switzerland, via Skype (Seminar). Organized with Alex Barchiesi, postdoc in EPFL Media Design Lab  (after a PhD in Particle physics), based on his concept of the re.mooc: how to re-use the material coming from the xMOOC and reorganize it in a localized version that could facilitate the "After school" education in African coutries. 

Moocs and K12 Cloud: Privacy regulations and Risk Management
May 3, 2013. Ed Tech Innovation, Calgary, Alberta (Panel). Engaging panel with a researcher, educator, professor and a lawyer about the privacy and legal implications of MOOCs. Panel: Discovery Education Canada(Dean Shareski), BD&P (Jim Swanson), Alberta Distance Learning Centre (Verena Roberts), National Research Council Canada (Stephen Downes, panel moderator)

OERs, MOOCs and thre Future
May 25, 2013. Vancouver Island University's Online Learning and Teaching Diploma - OLTD 505: OERs, Online, via Blackboard Collaborate (Seminar). Overview discussing open educational resources (OERs) and massive open online courses (MOOCs) as they relate to the future. Issues considered include varieties of openness, licensing and combining resources, access, the nature of definitions, types of MOOCs, change and the future.

MOOC - La résurgence de la communauté dans l'apprentissage en ligne
May 30, 2013. REFAD, Edmunston, NB (Keynote). Downloads: full text in English, full text en français. Dans cette présentation, Stephen Downes aborde la question à savoir comment les MOOC (massive open online courses) influenceront l'avenir de la formation à distance. La présentation examine de façon détaillée la nature et l'objectif des MOOC comparativement à l'enseignement traditionnel à distance. Il soutient que les MOOC représentent la résurgence de l'apprentissage communautaire et décrira comment les institutions d'éducation à distance partageront les MOOC entre elles et renforceront les interactions en ligne grâce à des services et des ressources communautaires.

MOOCs and OERs in Moncton
June 6, 2013. GTA Seminar, Universite de Moncton, Moncton, New Brunswick (Seminar). Long long loooong presentation (almost four hours, though there's 15 minutes of set-up at the start and a 15-minute break in the middle) about the thinking behind MOOCs and the tools I've developed to build them. The first half looks first at the idea of  creating and sharing content as a matter of course. Then I look at how people learn, and talk about learning as a process of recognition. Then we go through the animation Connectivism link in today's newsletter. After the break, I take a step-by-step walk through gRSShopper, the software that runs this site and all of the MOOCs I've run, showing how the software and the theory both developed iteratively through use over a period of fifteen years or so.

Connectivism, Online Learning, and the MOOC
June 17, 2013. Integrating Technology 4 Active Lifelong Learning, Online, via WizIQ (Seminar). Longish online WizIQ presentation that looks mostly at the concept of learning theories and MOOCs. The first part examines in some detail the concept of knowledge rmployed in MOOC pedagogy - this is a view of knowledge as recognition of emergent phenomena from networks of connected entities. It them looks at learning theories properly so-called, which are theories describing the mechanisms that form, strengthen or weaken connections. From this is derives the main elements of MOOC pedagogy and network design. The class was hosted by Nellie Deutsch.

What Constitutes Student Success?
June 21, 2013. Online Teaching Conference, Long Beach, California (Keynote). In this presentation I address the evaluaation of student success in a MOOC environment, challenging the idea that success can be measured by such things as completion rates and test scores, and offering an alternative network-based mechanism of assessing success.

Free Learning and the Wealth of Nations
June 28, 2013. Encuentro Internacional de Educación 2012 - 2013, Caracas, Venezuela (Keynote). In ths presentation I focus on the role of teachers in MOOCs, talking about what we do, and why we do it. The talk outlines the design and construction of MOOCs, and looks at the approach to learning the use of MOOCs supports.

The Semantic Condition: Connectivism and Open Learning
July 11, 2013. Instituto Iberoamericano de TIC y Educación – IBERTIC, Online via Adobe Connect to Madrid and Buenos Aires (Keynote). In this talk I talk about the four major conditions, and four major design parameters, of massive open online courses - diversity, autonomy, openness and interactivity. In particular, I respond to a paper from Jenny Mackness, Roy Williams and Sui Fai John Mak called The Ideas and Reality of Participating in a MOOC. True, the paper is three years old, but I've always felt it deserved a considered response, and it provided an excellent platform for this talk. There is also a Q&A session, which I recorded, with audio available here.

Through the MOOC Darkly - Reflections on Life, Learning and the Future of Education
July 24, 2013. Saylor Speaker Series, Washington D.C., online, via Google Hangout (Seminar). Overview of thoughts related to the future of education, looking at the idea of learning as personal development, that aspect of the value proposition of universities, how that affects what we understand MOOCs to be and their role in learning generally, and the relation of learning to the economy and life generally.

Posts About MOOCs

  1. Associations Should Consider the MOOC
    J.T. Cobb, Mission to Learn, August 4, 2008
  2. The Connectivism and Connective Knowledge course George Siemens and I are teaching at the University of Manitoba has attracted a fair bit of attention and a new title: the Massive Open Online Course, or MOOC, with references in Beth Kanter, George Siemens, Bryan Alexander and Jennifer Maddrill. Also, responding to the course blog (link no longer functions, sorry) Norman Constantine suggested that we use BlogTalkRadio for the audio portions of the course. So I have set up an account there and will be testing the service with a show on Friday afternoon - stay tuned for another announcement. (Update: 2013 - original URL was - this now links to a copy of that original post).

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 45490

  3. Edtechtalk 82
    Stephen Downes,, Ed Tech Talk, August 21, 2008
  4. Geirge Siemens and I had another talk about our Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) slated for this fall. This time we talked about the actual mechanics of delivering the course. [Comment] [Direct Link] 45676

  5. Quick Introduction to Connectivism Course
    George Siemens, elearnspace, September 4, 2008
  6. George Siemens has created a short video introduction to our online Connectivism and Connective Knowledge course. Also, our MOOC will be the subject of a Fringe Alt discussion (see here and here). [Comment] [Direct Link] 45919

  7. Open Learning Is Here - Where Next?
    Graham Attwell, Pontydysgu, October 1, 2008
  8. "And now we are witnessing an explosion in open learning. Of course there are the big publicity happenings like the CCK08 Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) organised by Stephen Downes and George Siemans on connectivism. But more important is the flowering of opportunties for learning from many, many diverse sources." I hardly see our course as 'big publicity'. But that aside, I agree with the main point. And, as Graham Attwell says, "The last barrier to open learning - and a very complex one - is that of accreditation." (p.s. - Attwell says "I am sceptical about the Connectivism MOOC..." - what does that mean? That he doubts that it exists? That he doubts it is accredited? That he doubts there are students? The Connectivism course isn't some proposition, which you can look at and 'doubt'. It is what it is, that's all.) [Comment] [Direct Link] 46541

  9. The CCK08 MOOC - Connectivism Course, 1/4 Way
    Dave Cormier, Weblog, October 2, 2008
  10. Dave Cormier describes the set-up of our CCK08 course and how he has seen its deployment one fourth of the way through (three weeks out of twelve). He's in a very good place to judge: he's not offering the course himself, but he has an insider's view as a key provider of our Friday conversations. I appreciate his criticisms, but I'm beginning to feel that the criticisms - all of them, not just from Dave - are taking the same form: that there is some way P in which traditional courses are prescriptive, people miss that P in the Connectivism course, therefore, the connectivist course should have P. I don't know - it just seems to me that experienced educators (who form the bulk of our enrollment) should be able to organize their own learning. There's a learned dependency here that people will need to overcome in order to learn for themselves in an increasingly information-rich environment. [Comment] [Direct Link] 46550

  11. MOOCs, Connectivism, Humpty Dumpty and More - with Dave Cormier
    Graham Attwell, Pontydysgu, November 10, 2008
  12. Graham Attwell writes, "Dave [Cormier] spoke about his experiences, so far, of the CCK MOOC on Connectivism and Connected Knowledge, the technological platforms being used to support participants, the tensions that exist within the course design and the peer support models that are being embraced. Dave's introduction led to a wide ranging discussion including the nature and furture of courses and communities, issues of scale, how to support learners, open accreditation and the future of open education - and ...Humpty Dumpty and Alice in Wonderland!" [Comment] [Direct Link] 46890

  13. MOOCs Might Prove a Practical Answer?
    Graham Attwell, Pontydysgu, November 13, 2008
  14. Graham Attwell writes, "I had a fascinating meeting with two representatives of a Bejing school district last night... I started out as a sceptic about MOOCs but the meeting last night has changed my thinking." A podcast of the conversation has been posted. See also the comments, where Cristina Costa talks about her experiences with similar (but smaller) courses, and where I discuss the issue of numbers and participation in the CCK08 course. Related: Mohamed Amine Chatti sketches the architecture of a LaaN-Connectivist system. [Comment] [Direct Link] 46931

  15. The Technological Dimension of a Massive Open Online Course: The Case of the CCK08 Course Tools
    Antonio Fini, The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, November 18, 2009
  16. According to the abstract, "This paper focuses on the technological aspects of one MOOC, the Connectivism and Connective Knowledge (CCK08) course, in order to investigate lifelong learners' attitudes towards learning network technologies. The research framework is represented by three perspectives: (a) lifelong learning in relation to open education, with a focus on the effective use of learning tools; (b) the more recent personal knowledge management (PKM) skills approach; and (c) the usability of web-based learning tools." Good paper, with a comprehensive summary of the CCK08 course structure. [Comment] [Direct Link] 50767

  17. The Spanish Connectivism MOOC, TIOD10
    emapey, Online Sapiens, April 6, 2010
  18. Here's a link to TIOD10, a 12 week Spanish Connectivism MOOC (a MOOC, recall, is a Massive Open Online Course). "During Weeks 1 and 2, participants only used the TIOD10 Ning Forum to discuss, learn and network. It is on week 3 of the TIOD10 MOOC that we are extending conversations to other networks like Blogs and Social Bookmarking (Delicious, DIIGO). We hope to create chaos on the course. Participants should then feel the need of a PLE to organize their learning." [Comment] [Direct Link] 52162

  19. La vía Ivan Illich (I): Mapa conceptual de Stephen Downes traducido por Potâchov
    eraser, e-learning, conocimiento en red y web colectiva, April 17, 2010
  20. Good post, in Spanish, linking my groups versus networks distinction with Ivan Illich and a Spanish Connectivist MOOC being offered through Ning and other resources. I used a Google translation to read the post inside Reader. Here is a list of resources (in English) supporting the course. [Comment] [Direct Link] 52237

  21. Networked Learning
    Various Authors, Website, May 18, 2010
  22. Papers from the Networked Learning Conference from early May are now online. There's a lot here, too much to do justice in one post, but I would like to point to the sociotechnical theories of learning technology symposium, as well as the problem-based learning symposium, each with several excellent papers. In the former, Frances Bell offers an interesting and engaging look at Connectivism from the perspective of Actor Network theory. As well, a paper challenging traditional group theorisation caught my eye; the author found "three different Group Developmental Models: a product-oriented model, a product-process oriented model and a process-oriented one." Finally, I would be remiss if I overlooked The Ideals and Reality of Participating in a MOOC by Jenny Mackness, Sui Fai John Mak and Roy Williams, which was excellent. The same three also authored Blogs and Forums as Communication and Learning Tools in a MOOC. [Comment] [Direct Link] 52450

  23. Can MOOCs make learning scale?
    Robert Cosgrave, Tertiary 21, September 1, 2010
  24. Robert Cosgrave questions whether the MOOC course model can succeed. "A core part of the concept of a MOOC is peer to peer learning, through dialogue. But it's a dialogue between 2000 people who all know a little bit about the topic, with the course leaders piping in from time to time. It's as likely to confuse as enlighten." But this objection misses the same point every time someone states it - it assumes that the only clarity that can come in a course comes from course instructors. Which is (frankly) rubbish. Ever spend any time in a science or mathematics course lab? You know who is doing the teaching? Not the professor, who is nowhere to be found, or even the tutor, who when you can get to him or her is uncertain and inarticulate. No, the people doing the teaching in science and math labs are students, of each other. That's why they work in groups. That's why they get together. The MOOC simply draws upon the tactics any science or engineering student has had to adapt (trust me, I've been there; no mere humanities student me!) in order to survive.

    Just once, I would like to hear some objection to the model that does not presuppose that the only teaching or clarity can come from the professor. Not only does such an objection fail to take into account the actual dynamics of the MOOC model, it fails to recognize what actually takes place and is empirically observable on any university campus. Goodness, if students had to depend on their professors to set the context, know the relevant facts, or structure and provide the course pedagogy, they'd be in terrible trouble. Let's stop working in theory here - go look at how students actually study, and get back to us with a story telling us why the MOOC won't work. [Comment] [Direct Link] 53228

  25. MOOC: Massive Open Online Course
    Mark Guzdial, Computing Education Blog, September 1, 2010
  26. Mark Guzdial: "They talk about how much students like it, and about how energized the faculty were about doing it, and how the challenge was getting these huge number of students to 'behave.' But did anybody learn?" Let's define our terms first. By 'learn' do you mean "memorized prescribed data'? If so, probably not. But it's hard to say that a course could be "one of the most valuable learning experiences of her life" if nothing was learned. It's hard to say people could write hundreds of blog posts, or write reserach papers, or participate in these discussions, without learning. The question isn't 'did they learn'? Of course they learned; they'd have to be inert rocks not to. The interesting question is, what did they learn? The short answer - probably - not just facts, but skills, abilities, intuitions, sensibilities and community. Hm, but these are pretty hard to measure on the end-of-course test. [Comment] [Direct Link] 53232

  27. The Wild World of Massively Open Online Courses
    Emily Senger, Unlimited, September 3, 2010
  28. More coverage of the MOOC, which seems to be all the rage these days. This article takes an approach very similar to the Chronicle article, but without the contrarian. There's more emphasis on the students who were in the course, which I like. [Comment] [Direct Link] 53242

  29. EVOKE Reflections: Results from the World Bank's on-line educational game
    Robert Hawkins, EduTech , September 4, 2010
  30. Two part (Part 1, Part 2) summative assessment of Evoke, the World Bank-sponsored game-based online learning project. The numbers are pretty impressive:

    Pyramid of Participation
    Visitors87,500 177,673 103%

    It kind of makes our 2200 subscriber MOOC seem pretty small. That's what having an organization like the World Bank behind you can do. Interestingly, the participation rate is almost exactly in line with what we saw in our connectivist courses. This suggests that the model of an open course - whether it's a game or a discussion - results in the same pattern of participation. The question of 'what was learned' is perhaps also more concretely answered in Evoke, as successful participants submitted final projects - called Evokations - and some received funding. The main take-home for me? The obvious - don't be lulled into thinking that the Connectivist courses are the only game in town; other models can have widespread impacts.
    Enclosure: files/docs/iphone_user_guide.pdf Size: 4075064 bytes, type: application/pdf [Comment] [Direct Link] 53253

  31. Connectivism vs Constructivism?
    Graham Attwell, Pontygysgu, September 23, 2010
  32. More traditional educators and theorists have long wondered what the difference is beween constructivism and connectivism. Today we have two posts - and a cluster of discussion from PLENK2010 - addressing this issue. Graham Attwell takes on the issue from the perspective of a Sir John Daniel talk where he says "social connectivism trumps constructivism for third world child learning." I wonder whether that was a typo or mis-statement, because I haven't thought of Daniel as a proponent of connectivism at all. But hey, you never know.

    The other post comes from Viplav Baxi, where he asks, "If Connectivism did not exist, would we still have moved to MOOCs and PLEs as they are visualized today (maybe under different names)? How would a Social Constructivist design an open course...?" I've learned to consider Baxi's questions carefully - look what he did for the CCK course. But I do think connectivism and constructivism are very different, and have different instantiations, and suggest (in the comments) reasons why from the perspective of that of sense-making and wayfinding. [Comment] [Direct Link] 53805

  33. Why MOOC Engagement is So Hard
    Steve LeBlanc, Ponderances of Steve, October 8, 2010
  34. Nice article by Steve LeBlanc on why people find studying in a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) so hard. "So why is a MOOC so hard? Because it breaks all of our expectations about what is supposed to happen in a class. We are asked to transform from the passive role of student to the more active role of self-directed learner." What's interesting to me is that this post follows his own advice - he has taken a small part of the course (various threads of complaints), curated them, brought order to them, and passed them along. [Comment] [Direct Link] 53890

  35. Adoption as Linking: A Response to the Stephens
    David Wiley, iterating toward openness, October 29, 2010
  36. There's a lot going on in David Wiley's response to myself and Stephen Carson. I can't attempt a full response here (and a full response isn't needed; we can deal with the issues bitwise over time). But the key argument turns on this conditional: "If linking is going to constitute the primary method of adopting OER, every penny spent on the process of openly licensing material for OCW or OER publication has been wasted."

    But in reply:
    - there are other benefits to open licensing, such as allowing file sharing, format shifting, and free access;
    - it is indeed hard for me to see the value on spending hundreds of thousands of dollars 'openly licensing' educational content;
    - my support for 'adoption by linking' does not entail students "successfully navigate a MOOC or something like one";
    - the reason why I speak so negatively about the existing university system is that it is abundantly clear that they are not concerned about access.

    I also wonder, when the United States is facing its own 40 percent cut to higher education budgets (and it will, oh it will) whether Wiley will be so inclined to depend the way universities have defined their missions and served the public. [Comment] [Direct Link] 54033

  37. Long Time, No See!! Thoughts on a MOOC
    Ian Woods, Ian's Professional Learning Journey, November 26, 2010
  38. Interesting set of reflections on the hierarchy of participation in a massive open online course (MOOC). Ian Woods talks about his participation in PLENK mostly as a lurker. "Lurking," he writes, "is a by-product of not being able to keep up." And "Lurkers may add the odd comment here and there but get discouraged because they aren't necessarily noticed by the rest of the pack." He makes some recommendations that would help ease participation, including continuous engagement, a mechanism for participating in conversations that are old, and some sort of badge or indication of participation rate so lurkers won't feel they are the only ones left behind. [Comment] [Direct Link] 54240

  39. Dave's Videos
    Dave Cormier, YouTube, December 9, 2010
  40. Dave Cormier has uploaded three videos describing aspects of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Don't miss these:

    What is a MOOC
    Success in a MOOC
    Knowledge in a MOOC
    [Comment] [Direct Link] 54338

  41. ds106 as an open and online experiment
    Jim Groom, bavatuesdays, December 9, 2010
  42. Jim Groom is preparing to offer his course 'Digital Storytelling 106' as an open online course. Alan Levine will be working with him on the project. And D'Arcy Norman is along for the ride. Obviously they are following the MOOC course model, but they are also drawing from the 'daily shoot' community, where a group of people contribute one creative act (like, say, a photograph) a day. "This class will try and marry the social to the creative in an entirely online environment, and Daily Shoot is the model." I've signed up and hope to achieve a status somewhat greater than 'MOOC-drop-out' - we'll see how it goes. See also a DS106 Wish List. [Comment] [Direct Link] 54339

  43. Confessions of a Massive Open Online Course Flunkie
    Matt Crosslin, EduGeek Journal, December 10, 2010
  44. Two perspectives on MOOCs. On the one hand, Matt Crosslin finds them difficult to understand. "I just don't have time to figure out how to use one. Yes, I will spend forever trying to figure out how to customize a WordPress app, but I won't take the time to figure out how to participate in a MOOC." And this is a problem. "If you have to take a mini-course on how to take your course, you are probably having to focus too much on the structure and not the learning." Which is actually, in my mind, a bit silly - after all, you have to learn to read to take just about any course, and that's a lot more preparation than watching a four-minute video. Perhaps it's difficult for Crosslin because there's so much unlearning to do.

    We have, as a contrast, Jim Shimabukuro who sees clearly how it works and contrasts it with the dojo model for student organized learning. "Compare this to a typical class in most U.S. schools and colleges. When the teacher is not present, nothing happens or, worse, chaos reigns. In colleges, students are usually free to leave if the instructor fails to show up after so many minutes. This never happens in a dojo... if the top instructor, the sensei, is absent, the highest ranking student present runs the class. If none of the black belts are there, then the highest ranked brown belt takes the lead. Even when only two white belts show up for class, training continues."

    It's about attitude and approach. If you're looking for someone to tell you how it works, you will find a MOOC confusing and frustrating. But if you take responsibility for your own learning, you will find any connection in a MOOC either an opportunity to teach or an opportunity to learn. No instructions necessary. [Comment] [Direct Link] 54351

  45. Paper Accepted for CHASE2011 about #PLENK2010
    Dalit Levy, Plenk2010, December 13, 2010
  46. Dalit Levy draws four lessons from her participation in PLENK 2010. From her paper, 'Lessons Learned from Participating in a Connectivist Massive Online Open Course (MOOC),' accepted for CHASE 2011, here are the four lessons:
    - Learning in a MOOC is Possible
    - Learning Often Occurs Through the Back Channels
    - Learning Without Being Assessed
    - Learning Needs a Daily Reminder
    Via a tweet from Vladimir Kukharenko.
    [Comment] [Direct Link] 54362

  47. What's wrong with (M)OOCs?
    George Siemens, elearnspace, December 20, 2010
  48. As George Siemens notes, "Soon to be offered MOOCs include: CCK11 (Stephen Downes/George Siemens, Learning Analytics (George Siemens/Jon Dron/Dave Cormier), Digital Storytelling (Jim Groom), Open Education (Rory McGreal/George Siemens), and Personal Learning Environments (Wendy Drexler/Chris Sessums). There are likely others" (and we'll list them on the newly launched

    In the meantime, we (Alec Couros, Jim Groom, George Siemens, Dave Cormier, and I) are had a discussion Monday afternoon on Elluminate to talk about our successes and failures delivering MOOCs over the last couple of years. Here's a link to the Elluminate recording. Lisa M. Lane adds to the discussion with her post, Got MOOC? following the discussion.

    George Siemens writes about "what's wrong with (M)OOCs" and while he identifies some of the common criticisms - high drop out rates and declining participation, the need for technical skills, learners expressing their frustration at feeling disconnected and lost - I think that the main problem with them is that they are in fact courses, isolated islets in a sea of disconnected meaning. The people who are disconnected, unskilled and drop out are people who have spent their entire lives being given content on a platter to memorized, and we don't do it that way. I think our approach is the right approach, but that it will take time to establish as something like the norm. [Comment] [Direct Link] 54416

  49. The MOOC Model for Digital Practice
    Alexander McAuley, Bonnie Stewart, George Siemens and Dave Cormier, Dave's Educational Blog, December 20, 2010
  50. The first of the major studies to come out of PLENK 2010 is online. "Building and sustaining prosperity through Canada's current digital strengths depends on a digital ecosystem that embraces both infrastructure and the collaborative social networks enabled by that infrastructure. Prosperity in this context requires a citizenry with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to turn these factors towards creating wealth. By exploring the relationship of MOOCs to the digital economy in general and their potential roles to prepare citizens for participation in that digital economy in particular, it illustrates one particularly Canadian model of how these needs may be addressed."

    "The MOOC is open and invitational. No one who wishes to participate is excluded; people negotiate the extent and nature of their participation according to their individual needs and wishes, regardless of whether those needs are defined, for example, by personal interest or workplace requirements. From a theoretical perspective, this creates a very broad form of "legitimate peripheral participation" which allows individuals to be drawn into the community of practice at whatever rate is comfortable. From a pragmatic perspective, this framework provides access to large numbers of people who might otherwise be excluded for reasons ranging from time, to geographic location, to formal prerequisites, to financial hardship." [Comment] [Direct Link] 54418

  51. Architects of Vascularization Building Lattices of Learning - The #PLENK2010 Experience
    Jennifer Chesney, Sparks & Flashes, December 21, 2010
  52. More reflection on massive open online courses (moocs). Jennifer Chesney writes, "We need to get serious about collaboration and create a lattice for learning so that students can weave in and out of them as they wish, in what makes sense to them." Also, Tony Searl wonders, "Would (M)OOc's be any more successful with self organised learners drawn from non traditional non-institutional backgrounds? Those from a clean slate un-schooled environment who did not have to unlearn previous potentially inefficient ways of learning?" Finally, One thing the courses have taught me (and this lesson appears only a month after the course ends) is that the start-stop nature of the course provides a necessary disruption in the settled order of the network. A Boltzmann mechanism on a larger scale - one where we 'shake up' the network and let it reform, as a process of annealing. [Comment] [Direct Link] 54420

  53. What's wrong with MOOCs? Some thoughts
    Jenny Mackness, Jenny Connected, December 22, 2010
  54. Bets thing I've read all day: "To think of a MOOC as being wrong is to think of it as a course. For me a MOOC is the antithesis of a course. The principles on which it is based – autonomy, diversity, connectedness and openness cannot be reconciled with a course." If we could get people - including, ahem, some of those offering them - to stop thinking of MOOCs as courses, and to start thinking of them as something else, then we stop saying "what's wrong with MOOCs" and start saying "what can we do with them?" [Comment] [Direct Link] 54438

  55. VNA open data file for CCK09 forum 1 released
    Matangdilism, Open Educational Tools, December 27, 2010
  56. One of the things I have been uncertain about regarding the massive online courses (MOOCs) George Siemens and I have been offering is the fact that they are courses, with the start-stop staccato network formation courses imply. But after three years of experience doing these, I'm seeing it a bit differently - that throwing out courses as we do is disruptive, that it shakes up the existing network, breaks up in-groups as ossifying structures, and gives newcomers a chance to start as equals. Courses are, essentially, a Boltzmann mechanism for learning networks (at least, when they are offered as open online courses). We see this diagrammed here: this forum diagram from CCK09 shows the integration of new participants deep into the network of more experienced participants, rather than the two separate subgroups we might expect without the disruptive influence of a course closing and a new one starting up. There's another such diagram here, and more here, showing this isn't an isolated phenomenon. [Comment] [Direct Link] 54462

  57. Learning Analytics & Knowledge: Draft Syllabus
    George Siemens, elearnspace, December 30, 2010
  58. Veorge Siemens has posted the draft syllabus for his Learning Analytics course. This course starts the week of January 10. The following week we will begin offering Connectivism and Connective Knowledge - the syllabus will be posted next week, but if you want to register sight unseen the site is up here. [Comment] [Direct Link] 54488

  59. Connectivism and Connective Knowledge 2011
    Stephen Downes and George Siemens,, January 7, 2011
  60. George Siemens and I are once again offering 'Connectivism and Connective Knowledge'. This will be the third offering of what has become out flagship MOOC (massive open online course). Registrations are now open and things are ready to go in our brand new MOOC website. [Comment] [Direct Link] 54541

  61. Connectivism and Connective Knowledge: CCK11
    George Siemens, elearnspace, January 14, 2011
  62. As George Siemens writes, we are offering Connectivism and Connective Knowledge for the third time starting Monday. As he notes, " We are doing away with the central-space of Moodle – our final break from the LMS and will be using only the commenting feature within gRSShopper. While it might not seem like a huge change on the surface, it is probably our most significant experiment to date... In CCK11, we are still providing a centering-like structure (gRSShopper), but the format will push more of the conversation to blogs and other environments. Rather than being the course centre, gRSShopper will be more of a conduit – pushing discussion into spaces owned and controlled by learners." If you want to register, sign up here. [Comment] [Direct Link] 54597

  63. MOOC newbie Voice - Week 2 Big Data... must be important... it's big!
    Dave Cormier, Dave's Educational Blog, January 20, 2011
  64. It's interesting being a participant in two other open online courses while at the same time offering my own and (trying to be) doing all my other work. It reinforces to me how important the regular updates are. I'm still in the ballpark in the Learning Analytics course, thanks to George Siemens's short daily mailouts and summaries like this one from Dave Cormier. I'm getting no notifications from #ds106, though, and have completely lost touch - apparently there was a week 2 assignment? More than one? But I can't figure out what it was based on the information I have at hand. [Comment] [Direct Link] 54655

  65. What is the learner responsibility in open education?
    Martin Weller, The Ed Techie, January 27, 2011
  66. Martin Weller gave a presentation to the CCK11 course yesterday (Elluminate recording) on open scholarship, prompting several participants to ask, "What's the connection to course content?" The week 2 topic in the course was Patterns of Connectivity. It's a good question, but Weller turns it around. "In an open, connected world of abundant content, perhaps the key skill is to learn how to make the connections between a wide range of free content and core principles." Also, " it demonstrates that old learning habits die hard. We are accustomed to signing up for a course, and whether it's free or not, being directed through it very explicitly." [Comment] [Direct Link] 54700

  67. Personal Learning Environments for Inquiry in K12
    Wendy Drexler and Chris Sessums, University of Florida, February 8, 2011
  68. We have another entry into the world of open online courses: "This course, PLEK12, will allow you to explore the use of personal learning environments both for inquiry in K-12 education and for your own professional development PLEK12 is a free, open course--there are no financial obligations to participate." I look forward to watching Wendy Drexler and Chris Sessums manage their own MOOC entry. Here's the weekly content starting from this week. Here's the syllabus. [Comment] [Direct Link] 54786

  69. Learning on MOOCs
    Rita Kop, Observations about learning, knowledge and technology, February 24, 2011
  70. NRC's own Rita Kop presents a summary and slides of analysis she has done with Helene Fournier on a recent MOOC, the PLENK 2010 course recently hosted here. She writes, "From the data (that we collected using qualitative and quantitative methods) it was clear that there are a number of issues that stand out.
    - Power relations on the MOOC
    - Confidence levels of novice MOOCers
    - The level of presence of participants and facilitators
    - The willingness to help by all involved."

    View more webinars from Rita Kop [Comment] [Direct Link] 54897

  71. Social and connective lock-in
    George Siemens, elearnspace, February 25, 2011
  72. Today's online session in the Connectivism and Connective Knowledge course was one of those where new ideas emerge from the interplay of ideas. In this case, the new ideas were the twin concepts of 'social lock-in' 'connective lock-in':
    - Social lock-in – where we are reluctant to move to new social networks because all of our friends/colleagues are part of our current social network service.
    - Connective lock-in – where we have lost control of our ability to define and shape connections
    Tracy Parish also has a summary with links of today's session, including Jenny Mackness's coverage of attacks on Connectivism. [Comment] [Direct Link] 54911

  73. An open university prep course - MOOC for basic skills
    Dave Cormier, Dave's Educational Blog, March 15, 2011
  74. Dave Cormier contemplates a university prep course - "a massive open online course for basic skills." It's a good idea and he has support for it: "UPEI has funded a 30 month project exploring the possibilities of running Massive Open Online Courses to help students prepare themselves for university the year before the arrive. The course is not targeted for our university specifically, but rather at the university experience anywhere they may experience it." He's looking for suggestions, so this is a good chance to let him know what's needed. [Comment] [Direct Link] 55038

  75. Welcome to the MobiMOOC course wiki!
    Inge de Waard, MobiMOOC, March 31, 2011
  76. If you are in MOOC-withdrawal then you will be happy to know that Inge de Waard is starting one on mobile learning beginning next week. The course is currently based mostly out of a MobiMOOC Google Group page. Contents:
    - Week 1 - introduction to mLearning
    - Week 2 - planning an mLearning project
    - Week 3 - m4d mobile for development
    - Week 4 - Leading edge innovations
    - Week 5 - Interaction between mLearning and a mobile connected society
    - Week 6 - mLearning in k12
    [Comment] [Direct Link] 55119

  77. The ds106 99: #3 Innovation in elearning interview
    Jim Groom, bavatuesdays, April 15, 2011
  78. Interview with Jim Groom on the structure and direction of his Digital Storytelling course (#ds106). The course is interesting because it was set up as a MOOC, which means wild and distributed, but with popular culture, rather than education, as its central focus. My take on the outcome is that people really like popular culture and want to feel free to deconstruct it, reassemble it, and use it to create new messages (or sometimes just to echo those of the original producers). And I think that the core of the course - which I followed for the duration - stayed true to the core of connectivism, even if Groom was not particularly attempting to adhere to any theory (and nor should he). Groom says, "the challenge is giving up some idea of property and control over the course. Letting others bring their awesome ideas to the table and let them execute them. People are creative and awesome, and if you let them go, they will amaze you. That is what happened in ds106." There are whole schools of thought devoted to the study of educational practice, and yet they never seem to achieve the results we seem to find through the abandonment of educational practice. [Comment] [Direct Link] 55259

  79. Connective Learning: Challenges for Learners, Teachers, and Educational Institutions
    Claude Almansi, educational technology & change, April 19, 2011
  80. Lengthy and interesting discussion of issues raised in the recent IRRODL special issue on connectivism. The author writes, "However, connective learning in a digital world that hugely increases the number of possible connections does pose several challenges to learners, teachers, and educational institutions. These challenges must be met because learners are availing themselves of this digital connectivity anyway (and at times any way). Ignoring this fact won't make it disappear." Related: Luis Suarez on "The Power and the Beauty of Connectedness." And see also Steve Wheeler, who writes, "Everyone who participates enjoys the experience, and everyone goes away with more questions than they arrived with. That's learning. That's connectivism too, according to Siemens and Downes." [Comment] [Direct Link] 55292

  81. What polegja; Massive Open Online Courses (MOKO)?
    Ilona Buche, Pontydysgu, May 11, 2011
  82. Here's news of another MOOC, and a few variations on the acronym - MOKO and MOOK. Ilona Buche, writing in Polish (via Google translate), describes her participation in #OPCO11, the first German-speaking MOKO, organized by Claudia Bremer, Ralph Müller, Detlef Krömker, David Weiss and Jochen Robes, called Zukunft des Lernens (or via Google Translate, Future of Learning). "The open course is intended for all who are interested generally in the future of learning in the media company in the future of media supported learning and the future of learning. The course content current and future trends in education, made possible by the use of new media, supported and promoted and the challenges arising from the use of media in our society." [Comment] [Direct Link] 55438

  83. University Presidents on Irrelevance
    David Wiley, iterating toward openness, May 16, 2011
  84. David Wiley mixes the results of a survey of 1,000 university presidents with some lessons from scripture to argue (reasonably) that there are, and will always will be, some wealthy elite colleges with well-prepared students that have nothing to worry about from new models of education, but that these institutions can have a powerful voice in effecting change. He also remarks, in passing, that "MOOCs and their like are not the answer to higher education's problems" because they require the best and most motivated students, not those who have never been, or who have been and failed. "Don't expect to see them displacing your local community or technical college any time soon." Except that - I would say - the less likely you are to need a specific degree or credential, the more likely a MOOC or MOOC-like approach is already being used to provide training and education. Meanwhile, in brighter news, these university presidents are beginning to see the writing on the wall. "We're staring fundamental change in the face," said Stephen R. Portch, a former chancellor of the University System of Georgia. "Our system is bankrupt, and we've got to have a new model." See also coverage from a new Pew Research Center survey on whether college is worth it. [Comment] [Direct Link] 55494

  85. Learning to Teach Online and Becoming an eTeacher
    Helge Scherlund, eLearning News, May 16, 2011
  86. Helge Scherlund introduces us to Learning to teach Online, a service and series of videos offered by Simon McIntyre and Rick Bennett. The model (pictured above) they have evolved is remarkably similar to the MOOC-style approach we have been using here (no surprise, really - in my view it is the common-sense way to use the internet to support learning). [Comment] [Direct Link] 55496

  87. This will be fun: Mother of all MOOCs
    George Siemens, Dave Cormier and Stephen Downes,, May 20, 2011
  88. George Siemens, Dave Cormier and I are up to our old tricks as we announce the launch of the 'Mother of All MOOCs' - Change: Education, Learning, and Technology. "we decided to lean on a few colleagues to help run a unique course experience. End result: a MOOC with each week being facilitated by an innovative thinker, researcher, and scholar. Over 30 of them. From 11 different countries. The draft schedule is available here. We're excited about the prospect of a global learning experience. We encourage participants to "write themselves into the course" by setting up sub-group, networks, and personal spaces for interaction and dialogue." [Comment] [Direct Link] 55529

  89. MOOCs: a Model for Open Education?
    Graham Attwell, Pontydysgu, May 23, 2011
  90. I do think that George and Dave and I (along with the help and support of thousands) have found something important in MOOCs. The MOOC is a way of leveargibg the best of the network to directly address the short-comings of the mass-market self-study programs that characterized early distance education. Graham Attwell points to three major lessons that have been learned over the last three years of MOOCs:
    - "the model of courses which are free to participants but charge for institutional enrollment and for certification appears to be gaining traction."
    - "most of these programmes are using all manner of social software and Open Source applications."
    - "such initiatives place great emphasis on peer support for learning, with a greater or lesser extent of formal learning support and formalization of networks."
    Attwell notices, and I notice as well, that the demographics of people taking MOOC tend to be older, more experienced, and more self-sufficient. [Comment] [Direct Link] 55535

  91. ds106 at Faculty Academy
    Jim Groom and Martha Burtis, bavatuesdays, May 27, 2011

  92. Presentation from Jim Groom and Martha Burtis to the Faculty Academy about ds106. ds106 was a type of MOOC (Massive Open Online Course), but with a difference, being first of all more rooted in a traditional university class than many other MOOCs, combining 75 people from three sections of a class, and 250 people from the wider internet (including me). Definitely worth a listen as the speakers relate not only some impressive statistics, but also a total change in the dynamics of learning (Groom describes is as "the single greatest professional experience I've ever had). And I like the predictions of the future - "What's next is what we imagine." Also, having professors doing the same assignments as the students through the class added an interesting twist - and empathy with the students. [Comment] [Direct Link] 55572

  93. Trends | Rupert Murdoch in the EdTech Space
    Victor Rivero, EdTech Digest, June 2, 2011
  94. This is a remarkable video. Rupert Murdoch argues, digital advances are making workers more productive, creating jobs that did not exist only a few years ago and liberating us from the old tyrannies of time and distance. This is true in every area except one: education." The current system in the U.S., he says, is "a jobs program for teachers and administrators" and the suggestion that failure is caused by poverty is "arrogant... you can build human capital even in extreme circumstances." He gives three examples of how bringing technology into the classroom will help in education:

    - exciting young imaginations. The key is in the software - every study tells you it has to be interactive - guided instruction, instant feedback, practice exercises, and access to hundreds of videos
    - more personalized teaching "to make mathematics sticky, to microtarget eighth-grade girls who might want to be physicists, and personalize the reading of each student" and to analyze where children are and what they need to move ahead
    - "we can bring the world's greatest thinkers to every student for very low cost" - we do this outside the classroom; for example, we can download the world's greatest Mozart symphony for about a dollar.

    We should build such a system, he says, "and ensure that no child is left on the margins of the great prosperity that this global economy offers." Yeah, I know, it's Rupert Murdoch. But surprisingly (or perhaps not?) I support all this. Where do you think connectivism and MOOCs are heading? Examples of all the pieces exist somewhere in the world. Not a day goes by that I do not wish I had the money, and more importantly, the authority, to build the system Murdoch describes. But there are systems in place to ensure that this never ever happens. [Comment] [Direct Link] 55614

  95. Online Learning Today... And Tomorrow
    Ray Schroeder, University of Illinois Springfield, June 20, 2011
  96. Another new offering for MOOC-lovers. As George Siemens reports, " Today, The Center for Online Learning, Research, and Service at the University of Illinois Springfield announced that they are offering a MOOC starting June 27: eduMOOC: Online Learning Today…and Tomorrow (sign up is free, right-hand side of the page)." (See also). [Comment] [Direct Link] 55712

  97. U. of Illinois at Springfield Offers New ‘Massive Open Online Course’
    Marc Parry, Chronicle of Higher Education, June 22, 2011
  98. Coverage in the Chronicle of Higher Education of the U. of Illinois at Springfield eduMOOC mentioned here a few days ago. "Nearly 500 people from two dozen countries have registered so far, with 1,000 expected to sign up by the time the course begins next Monday." [Comment] [Direct Link] 55730

  99. OLDaily Chrome App
    Jason Hines and Stephen Downes, Chrome App Store, June 23, 2011
  100. If you use Google Chrome (or have Windows and can install Google Chrome) then we have a treat for you: the brand new OLDaily Google Chrome application. It's available for free on the Google App Store; try installing it and taking it for a test drive. The app supports three features:
    - full access to all OLDaily posts and commenting
    - easy listening to the Ed Radio webcast stream
    - access to the #oldaily IRC chat channel (note IRC may be blocked in your networks)
    The idea is that you can listen to the radio and chat with other readers while browsing through the OLDaily listings. This application is a prototype for the development of similar apps for upcoming MOOCs on the Google Chrome and other platforms. So we want your feedback. Comment on this post, or send email to me. Thanks! [Comment] [Direct Link] 55735

  101. Clarifying My Feeling Toward MOOCs
    David Wiley, iterating toward openness, June 23, 2011
  102. Updating the discussion on MOOCs following the Chronicle article earlier this week: David Wiley reponds to say he is not totally opposed to MOOCs, thinks they're a good idea, but would not recommend them for everyone. "Research has shown time and again that the less well prepared a person is academically, the more supportive structure they need as they begin their intellectual foray into the area." Maybe. But as George Siemens responds, "the process of clarifying confusion and disorientation - sensemaking and wayfinding in complex settings - is the learning." From my perspective, it's hard to see how a person can remain a novice their entire lives. At some point they need to graduate from being incapable of managing their own learning to being capable of it, and the sooner the better. If there is an argument for delaying this, and subjecting them to 15 years - or a lifetime - of scaffolding, I haven't heard it. [Comment] [Direct Link] 55736

  103. Why I will no longer work to differentiate instruction
    Lisa Nielsen, Tech & Learning, June 23, 2011
  104. We ought, I agree, to abandon the idea of 'differentiated instruction' (and critics of learning styles need a different target to hang their criticism on). As Tom Welch, cited here, says, "What we really need to help occur in classroom is differentiated "learning." This accomplishes the student ownership of the learning, allows for a passion-driven approach, shifts the responsibility for the learning to the learner (where it belongs) and changes the teacher's role to what you consistently advocate. There also also many other reasons -- like the elimination of the typical classroom culture of dependency, and the way this allows learning to go viral by removing artificial timelines that ignore individual learner needs, passions and differences." This is very much what we're up to with MOOCs, I would say. [Comment] [Direct Link] 55740

  105. Study Groups without Walls
    Lisa Nielsen, The Innovative Educator, June 24, 2011
  106. Peer 2 Peer University 2010 from P2P University on Vimeo.

    Update on Peer to Peer University (P2PU) that I ran on Ed Radio this afternoon. The speaker (I'm not sure who he is) outlines P2P's last year and outlines plans for the next year, including the staging of classes of 1,000 people. P2PU, meet MOOC. [Comment] [Direct Link] 55749

  107. The Existential Ed-Tech Pursuit?
    Ian Quillen, Digital Education, June 30, 2011
  108. I think people need to understand that this is normal, that this is not going to change, and to roll with it: "Whether or not educators are catching up with technology, they don't feel like they are... 'What [the findings] tell me is that because this is such a dynamic world out there, the end point keeps moving out on them,' Billings said at a Tuesday press briefing across the street from the Pennsylvania Convention Center, site of this year's annual ISTE conference. 'The more they do, the more they're aware of how much more they should be doing.'"

    What I think happens is that when a person first embraces a technology, he or she does so as an enthusiast - now this is fine, but being an enthusiast takes a lot of time and effort, and when the technology in question passes out of favour, as they all do, it's a bit daunting to work up the energy to become an enthusiast again with something new, to catch up with all those people who are already enthusiasts. You have to pick your battles. I was an enthusiast, for example, of Basic, then C, then LPC, then Perl, but not of C++, Java or PhP. I was an enthusiast of LMSs and Learning Objects, then blogging and RSS, and distributed MOOCs, but not of online facilitation, e-portfolios, Second Life, Twitter and Facebook, or competency frameworks. Not everybody can be an enthusiast, much less an expert, in everything. The key is to let go, to find something that works for you now, to embrace that, and to not worry about 'keeping up' (because people will be 'keeping up' with you!). [Comment] [Direct Link] 55787

  109. MOOCs as ecologies - or - why i work on MOOCs
    Dave Cormier, Dave's Educational Blog, June 30, 2011
  110. Dave Cormier adds to the discussion around MOOCs that has flared up in recent days, responding especially to David Wiley's challenges to MOOCs here and here and George Siemens’ response. He says what I would say, were I inclined to write on the topic:"If the MOOC challenges anything, it challenges the idea that a teacher can decide what people need to know, how much they currently know and what they should get out of the learning process. You can’t. You just can’t do it, not consistently, not over time, not for the majority of your students, not for millions of teachers. The solution presented by the MOOC is that the learner should begin to take control of how and what they are to learn." [Comment] [Direct Link] 55788

  111. When more quickly becomes waaay less
    David Porter, conviviality, July 1, 2011
  112. Dave Porter takes a look into Ray Schroeder's eduMOOC (which has now attracted upward of 2300 people) and asks "How can page upon page of densely packed text, links, and discussion forums seriously be considered an exemplar learning model? This can’t be the future, can it?" Far be it for me to defend someone else's work, but I want to challenge the premise implicit in the question, that a MOOC defines some sort of "learning model". It does not. This should be evident from the fact that Schroeder's MOOC, which depends on Google sites and discussion groups, is very different in appearance and structure from those run by George Siemens and myself. But also implicit in the comment seems to be the idea that you are supposed to somehow absorb the "densely packed text, links, and discussion forums." This is just not so. You are supposed to pick and choose, find a niche that appeals to you, and forget about the rest. [Comment] [Direct Link] 55791

  113. Open Education Is Transforming the Way We Learn: Ray Schroeder Speaks to
    Jeff Calareso,, July 4, 2011
  114. Coverage of Ray Schroeder's eduMOOC has been extensive. We are seeing a convergence here between open educational resources and open learning. "Over the next decade we may see the advent of the OERu - a model in which students take open college courses freely available on the Web and then seek academic credit through credentialing of their learning at a university which provides assessment, validation and academic credit at a cost lower than formal classes." Here's more coverage from EdLab. And this article on WikiEducator. And more from EducationPortal. Meanwhile, the study group seeing whether MOOCs can be adapted for OERu. Wolfgang Greller, from his new website, comments "there is always the danger that a MOOC gets drowned in anectotes and story telling." [Comment] [Direct Link] 55807

  115. MOOC Planning
    Stephen Downes,, July 5, 2011
  116. Dave Cormier, George Siemens and I had a conversation this afternoon preparing for our MOOC this fall.
    Enclosure: files/audio/2011_07_05_Ed_Radio_Dave_George_and_Stephen_talk_MOOC.mp3 Size: 32264985 bytes, type: audio/mpeg [Comment] [Direct Link] 55813

  117. MoocGuide
    Inge de Waard, Wikispaces, July 8, 2011
  118. Inge de Waard has created a website on Wikispaces to host a guide to building and running a MOOC. "This MOOC guide based on the experience of the MobiMOOC(ourse) which was a course that ran from 2 April until the 14 May 2011 and had 580 participants that hooked up to its resources. The course resulted in collaborations transcending the duration of the course. The course focused on the subject of mobile learning and was delivered over 6 weeks, each of which had a different angle: introduction to mLearning, mLearning planning, mLearning for development, leading edge mobile innovations, mLearning in a mobile connected society and mLearning in k12 settings." Readers are, of course, invited to contribute to the site. [Comment] [Direct Link] 55832

  119. Open Questions on Open Courseware
    Eric Jansson, Inside Higher Ed, July 8, 2011
  120. With funding pressures - and closures - impacting traditional sources of open education resources (OERs), questions are being raised about best practices and models of sustainability for open learning. Readers here will know of my own view, which involves community-based authoring and sharing. This column by Eric Jansson, an affiliated fellow with the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education (NITLE), represents another view:
    - First, there is the obvious integration of interactivity and media.
    - Second, the building blocks of curriculum are evolving as new delivery methods (adaptive learning systems, new portable computing devices and robust network infrastructures are creating new contexts for learning, and these will affect the design) become available.
    Related, Sui Fai John Mak discusses Eric Duval's Ustream video on openness. [Comment] [Direct Link] 55833

  121. A short course on mLearning Design (#edumooc)
    Rebecca Hogue,, July 19, 2011
  122. This is a short little course on the design of mobile learning. I'm quite sure you could take the course on a mobile device, though I used my desktop computer. The course is very traditionally designed, with modules and objectives and such, and lack most good interactivity (it supports forms-based comments). I would think of it more as a learning resource which you could use in a wider context, like a mobiMOOC. The content is very terse, as we would expect from a mobile resource, but it's good, and well-supported with examples. Your feedback on the resource is being requested from the authors. [Comment] [Direct Link] 55890

  123. Ed Radio - Show Notes - 2011 07 20
    Stephen Downes, Ed Radio, July 20, 2011
  124. - Janis Joplin - Ball and Chain - Wolfgang's Vault
    - Christian Crumlish, Erin Malone, Stop Putting the Front-end Last, Web 2.0 Conference, IT Conversations
    - Paramore: Monster
    - Lifehacker, Make a 3D Scanner from a Webcam, Laser Pointer, and Free Software, see also Tinkernut
    - Julia Grace, Location is Dead! Long Live Location! Where 2.0 Conference, IT Conversations
    - Blue Notes Records on Open Culture, Classic Jazz Album Covers Animated, or the Re-Birth of Cool
    - Buddypress Courseware, found on Clarence Fisher, Remote Access
    - Martha & the Vandellas - Heatwave - via The Awl
    - Justin Shaffer, Facebook Invites Developers to Open Graph API, Where 2.0 Conference, IT Conversations
    - The Patinettes, Mystic Monkey, from Jamendo
    - Scott Summitt and The Future of 3D printing via connecting the dots
    - The Patinettes, The man With the Electric Flag, from Jamendo
    - Larry Anderson with Anna Adam, Lucy Gray, Carol Anne McGuire, Niki Peel and Julene Reed, Podcasting and Mobile Media for Teaching and Learning, ISTE 2011
    - LIVE Google+ Hangout with Jeff Lebow in the eduMOOC course
    - Rob Shaw, The Machine: Top Prize Winner at the Robot Film Festival
    - Derek Silvers, Obvious to you, Amazing to others and A Real Person, A Lot Like You, via E-Learning Blog
    - Dialogue 2000 Electronic Village
    - Fostering Change Through Leadership – An Interview with Dr. Eric Williams, November Learning
    - Credence Crearwater Revival - I Heard It Through the Grapevine
    - Tori Amos - She's Your Cocaine
    - Shania Twain - If It Don't Take Two
    - The Story of Us: Symphony of Science - "Children of Africa"
    - Learning from WOeRK project overview
    - The Patinettes, Whiskey Galore, from Jamendo
    - Mentors In Black - The Prologue, Epsiode 1, Epsiode 2, Epsiode 3
    - The Patinettes, Milky Day, from Jamendo [Comment] [Direct Link] 55904

  125. EduMOOCosphere
    Various Authors, eduMOOC, July 20, 2011
  126. If you want to get a sense of the variety that is possible within a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) have a look at this. If you prefer a week-by-week recap, look here. The next live event is tomorrow, July 21. [Comment] [Direct Link] 55905

  127. Five Tips for Creating Fresh Blog Content Fast. Every Day
    Paul Farol, The Blog Herald, July 20, 2011
  128. People often ask how I do this newsletter and the other things I do. I suspect the reaction is often, "that's a lot of work." But as the Blog Herald says, "it sounds like work and it IS work, but having a plan and working according to plan can actually minimize the time you spend working and maximize productive offline time." This post described that process, a process that is all the more relevant given the emergence of the MOOC, because the most important part of the MOOC, as I stated again today in the informal eduMOOC webcast, is the daily newsletter. At least, that's been my experience. This list is focused toward a 'client', but substitute 'readership' or 'participants' and you get the same results.

    The five keys are:
    - a "client bible... should contain all the information about the client and it should be organized for easy referencing."
    - a "road map... to have a clear sense of what your major goals are within a defined period of time."
    - "templates or formulas for news articles, essays, reviews, and stream of thought articles"
    - "a sense of what everybody is talking about and how you can participate"
    - assessment and metrics, in the form of traffic, comments and backlinking.
    Hm. Come to think of it, I don't have any of these in a formal way. Does this show they are unnecessary, or that I could be improving my practice? [Comment] [Direct Link] 55906

  129. The Wrath Against Khan: Why Some Educators Are Questioning Khan Academy
    Audrey Watters, Hack Education, July 21, 2011
  130. This is a good summary of some of the discussion around the Khan Academy after Wired's post on the learning initiative last week. Though most known for the videos, there's three major parts: the videos, learning games (that give 'badges' for success), and a dashboard for teachers and parents. This summary blurs some of the sharp divide between Khan and his critics. As the Wired article has it, Stager responds that "The videos and software modules... are just a high tech version of that most hoary of teaching techniques—lecturing and drilling. Schools have become 'joyless test-prep factories.'" Well maybe he says that. But as Watters says, Wired author Clive Thompson "waters down Constructivism (or constructionism, as the article says), the learning theory supported by these two Khan-objectors, to the 'idea that students won’t really understand math unless they discover each principle on their own.'" Which is a caricature of the position. I think there's a lot that Khan could do better. But I also really like the bare-bones low-tech approach that can function as a structure we can link to other more MOOC-like more constructivist or constructionist-like learning activities. [Comment] [Direct Link] 55925

  131. Explore A New Learning Frontier: MOOC
    Inge de Waard, Learning Solutions, July 26, 2011
  132. The work that we've been doing in learning networks is beginning to attract a wider audience. This article in Learning Solutions magazine has resulted in a spate of new subscriptions to this newsletter - welcome, everyone. It focuses on the MOOC - massive open online course - that a group of us, including George Siemens and Dave Cormier, have been developing over the last few years. The MOOC is the practical extension of a theoretical approach to online learning sometimes called Connectivism. But we will soon see additional practical applications, such as the data analytics stream George has been working on, as described in this O'Reilly article. Learning providers and managers are salivating over analytics, but I think the biggest beneficiary will be students themselves, once systems are designed to make analytics accessible to them. [Comment] [Direct Link] 55947

  133. E-portfolios: join in now
    Unattributed, Australian Flexible Learning Framework, July 28, 2011
  134. Here's word of another Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), this one from the Australian Flexible Learning Framework. "A free Massive Open Online Course – aka MOOC – aimed at teachers and trainers who are new to e-portfolios is running during August and September. It has been put together by a group from the VET E-portfolios Community of Practice (EpCoP) to help vocational education and training (VET) practitioners build their e-portfolio knowledge and skills by developing their own professional e-portfolio. The e-portfolio will enable teachers and trainers to demonstrate their industry and professional VET currency as required under the AQTF Standard 1.4, while helping them establish a professional e-portfolio learning network. [Comment] [Direct Link] 55966

  135. Featured Courses at P2PU This Week
    Rebecca Khan, P2PU, July 29, 2011
  136. I bookmarked this because I wondered whether a P2PU course could be converted into a MOOC. I won't have a chance to check this out, but I thought I'd throw the idea out there. [Comment] [Direct Link] 55975

  137. Ray Schroeder
    Curt Bonk, TravelinEdMan, July 29, 2011
  138. Curt Bonk interviews the latest MOOCer, Ray Schroeder. "The reaction (to the MOOC)," says Schroeder, "is very positive. There has been quite a bit of positive press. It seems that most people take this as a natural evolution of presentations – from in-person to online; from small groups to massive online audiences. This is a wonderful way to reach large number of people in a field of study.... We are looking a launching several MOOCs that will be improved by our experiences here. One MOOC may be on the topic of an open textbook we are creating collectively among faculty members at the campuses of the University of Illinois. Combining an open online book with the MOOC should be fun." [Comment] [Direct Link] 55976

  139. Social Media, Google + and the Golden Eggs with MOOC
    Sui Fai John Mak, Learner Weblog, July 29, 2011
  140. John Mak writes a longish post on the structure of MOOCs and the nature of learning therein. "Learning is that part of the discovery of curated information and distributed knowledge through such a digital goose, where the goose would help us in hedging the eggs. There is a process involved in this hedging, where thinking and reflection is involved." [Comment] [Direct Link] 55980

  141. Massive open online course
    Various Authors, Wikipedia, July 30, 2011
  142. This is the Wikipedia page for Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). It is in need of more editing, but the authors are off to a good start. It would be relevant to add any MOOC you may know about, as well as any academic papers or magazine or journal articles you've seen. There's a Google Groups thread dedicated to the page. [Comment] [Direct Link] 55985

  143. Interview with Rick Schwier – connectivism
    James Johnson, The Blog Herald, August 1, 2011
  144. This is totally what Google+'s hangouts needed - the capacity to support a live YouTibe audience. I can easily imagine using one of these in a MOOC. The Blog Herald describes the setup thusly:
    - Start a Hangouts session in Google+ and invite your contacts to join you.
    - In a separate browser tab, head over and select a live stream of your choice
    - Copy the YouTube video I.D. of the selected live stream. Not sure how to find it? Just click on the share link below the video. You’ll get to see a link like – the cryptic code after the slash is the video I.D.
    - Switch back to hangouts, open the video tab and search for the I.D.
    - Click play, and you’re all set.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 55999

  145. Stanford University does a MOOC
    George Siemens, elearnspace, August 7, 2011
  146. George Siemens posted this item, provoking a flurry of discussion on various lists about what counts as a MOOC. The Stanford University Artificial Intelligence is being offered as an open online course, he writes. But as people examined the course - and the required textbook costing around $150 - questions began to emerge. Was it open? Could all people participate equally? Or how about this window box farming site - is it a MOOC? This post makes the case that we need a more precise definition of what constitutes a MOOC. But of course, as always, the sticking point is around what counts as 'open'. [Comment] [Direct Link] 56008

  147. Here a MOOC, there a MOOC
    Lisa M. Lane, Lisa’s (Online) Teaching Blog, August 15, 2011
  148. Lisa Lane, a veteran of several MOOCs, inclusing our own CCK experiences, is launching a MOOC stating in September on the subject of online pedagogy. If you want to join the MOOC, you can access it here. Part of the Program for Online Teaching (POT), instructor Jim Sullivan writes, "In addition to the written word, we will also provide some supplemental guidance via a brief video put together by one of our pedagogy first moderators–usually a member of our POT leadership team or a online certificate program alumnus who has returned to share some insight. " According to the site, "The Program for Online Teaching is an all-volunteer faculty organization that offers workshops through MiraCosta College's Professional Development Program." [Comment] [Direct Link] 56057

  149. Welcome To Creativity and Multicultural Communication
    Carol Yeager, Creativity & Multicultural Communication, August 15, 2011
  150. Here's a MOOC I've been helping out with a bit, setting up the gRSShopper software on another site. "CMC11 is an open online course that over 13 weeks explores the domain of Creativity and global communication in multidisciplinary venues . Participation is open to everyone and there are no fees or subscriptions required." It's a work in progress, and if there are link or software errors, they're my fault, not the organizers'. [Comment] [Direct Link] 56059

  151. DTLT Today: “Hey MOOCie!”
    Jim Groom, bavatuesdays, August 15, 2011
  152. Being on vacation with minimal internet, I'm missing all the great audio happenings online right now. But Jim Groom writes "Today’s DTLT Today episode explored the recent explosion of Massive Open Online Courses (a.k.a. MOOCs). 2011 is quickly becoming the Year of the MOOC qs more and more universities like the University of Illinois, Georgia Tech, and Stanford are experimenting with the format. I’m more and more excited about the potential of MOOCs these days, and while not a silver bullet for higher ed by any means—the have certainly provided UMW (and DTLT specifically) some really powerful ways to both energize our group while at the same pushing us to continue to innovate beyond the LMS." I have to apologize for the artwork ahead of time - don't go there unless you appreciate Jim Groom's sense of humour. [Comment] [Direct Link] 56061

  153. Virtual and Artificial, but 58,000 Want Course
    John Markoff, New York Times, August 17, 2011
  154. The Stanford 'open' AI course has attracted some 58,000 students and an article in the New York Times. So now the MOOC will be deemed to have been officially 'invented' by Peter Norvig and Sebastian Thrun. Credit? No, not a chance. "The Stanford scientists said they were focused on going beyond early Internet education efforts, which frequently involved uploading online videos of lectures given by professors and did little to motivate students to do the coursework required to master subjects... 'The idea that you could put up open content at all was risky 10 years ago, and we decided to be very conservative,' he said. 'Now the question is how do you move into something that is more interactive and collaborative, and we will see lots and lots of models over the next four or five years.'" [Comment] [Direct Link] 56066

  155. EduMOOC 2011 Gradcast
    Jeff Lebow,, EduMooc, August 17, 2011
  156. More video and audio from the ongoing EduMOOC: Topic: The future of MOOC's and online education ... and acronyms alternatives to MOOC, including
    SOOC - Scalable Open Online Course
    MILE - Massive Informal Learning Experience
    COOL - Collaborative Open Online Learning [Comment] [Direct Link] 56073

  157. You Ready to MOOC?
    Ellen Behrens, aLearning Blog, August 17, 2011
  158. Ellen Behrens, who is out to empower subversive implementation, offers this overview of MOOCs and how they apply to associations and non-profits with two concrete suggestions:
    - Offer your own. Amass a greater body of resources around a topic than you currently have. Involve your members and attract non-members. See the power in numbers, the value in “more heads are better than one.”
    - Make your resources available to MOOCs by others. Instead of fighting a MOOC on “your” topic, join the MOOC and offer up your own links, white papers, articles, blog posts, and comments. If you can’t fight ‘em, join ‘em!
    [Comment] [Direct Link] 56076

  159. Open Course on P2PU: Getting Started With Self Learning
    Anya Kamenetz, DIY-U, August 23, 2011
  160. Anya Kamenetz is launching an open online course on P2PU about 'getting started with self-learning'. it will be based on the Edupunk's Guide, which as readers know was subject to my own criticism in recent weeks. Which, in turn, raises the question - how do we ensure MOOCs (whether or not this is one) offer credible instruction? Because a 'personal-learning' course has to be about more than how to look up stuff on Google. Of course - some people have said the same about me and my courses! So it works both ways. [Comment] [Direct Link] 56098

  161. Preparing for my MOOC Contribution
    Nancy White, Full Circle Associates, September 1, 2011
  162. Nancy White prepares for her Change 2011 MOOC presentation. "I realized," she writes, "I’m not so interested in focusing this week on reading, but on reflection and conversation about the everyday practices that support learning across boundaries. So now I have to think about what sorts of activities would support this. It also makes me wonder if this topic is either too thin, or too broad." The Change MOOC now has more than 1100 registrations and counting as the September 12 start date approaches. If you are writing about it, the tag is #change11 and we'll be aggregating content starting in a week or so. [Comment] [Direct Link] 56161

  163. “EdTech transmissions: We Control the Vertical and the Horizontal” at Maricopa College
    Jim Groom, bavatuesdays , September 8, 2011
  164. Jim Groom speaking at e-learning pioneer Maricopa College (I remember giving them NAWeb Awards back in the 90s) sounds like a potent mixture. Jim Groom writes, "I focused my talk on a few things: UMW Blogs, Jon Beasley-Murray’s Wikipedia Experiment, and the MOOC (in particular #ds106) as potential examples of change that is currently happening on the higher education landscape... What was cool about my freeform discussion of ds106 is that it marks one of the few times where the kernel of an idea emerged within a talk for me that went on to become something that I actually implemented and thought was awesome." [Comment] [Direct Link] 56204

  165. Begging Support for Feed2JS
    Alan Levine, CogDogBlog, September 8, 2011
  166. I pay for hosting too (this website is hosted by me, privately, and not subsidized by any agency or employer), I know that it's an ongoing cost, and so I am more inclined than most to pass along Alan Levine's plea for support for hosting costs for his widely useful (and used) feed2JS service. P.S. in case you were wondering, it costs me $125 a month to host OLDaily (and also which I run on the same site), with another $25 for Ed Radio, and this comes out of my own pocket. Not that I'm asking for money. But this is what it costs to handle the traffic and offer the service free of advertising and managing of the message that would otherwise come as a cost of the hosting. [Comment] [Direct Link] 56207

  167. Kids don’t play games for fun, but to tune their thinking
    Dean Groom, Design for Learning, September 8, 2011
  168. In our connectivist courses there' always this 'pull' back toward traditional academia, and often what we are doing is interpreted through that lens. I'd much rather think of it more widely. Like Marc LeBlanc's "Eight kinds of fun":

    "Playing the game is a sensation (finding pleasure in learning), fantasy (it’s make believe), narrative (the world has an unfolding story), challenge (there’s always something to overcome), fellowship (the game provides a social framework), discovery (living the game is unchartered territory), expression (the game gives kids a soap box) and submission (passing time)."

    If a MOOC provides these eight dimensions of fun, then it has been successful. But if it falls back onto traditional ways of thinking and values - "about text and sharing links about knowledge" - then they are failing to live up to their potential. I will always support the playing of games, of immersive activities, or building robots, to support learning, and I'd like to see MOOCs become more like games - and more like (as Dave Cormier says) drumming circles, and less like college and university courses.
    [Comment] [Direct Link] 56208

  169. The MOOC Guide
    Stephen Downes, Google Sites, September 8, 2011
  170. I have set up a Google site to author an handbook and guide to creating Massive Open Online courses. The guide is partially descriptive, partially normative. It is structured as a history of the MOOC, each chapter describing a pioneering MOOC or formative influence. I am opening up authorship of the book, and asking people who had experiences with MOOCs to contribute their stories, suggestions and resources. Just send me an email requesting edit access and I'll give you edit permission. Anybody can view the book in progress at the website, no login required. [Comment] [Direct Link] 56209

  171. OERs: Public Service Education and Open Production
    Tony Hirst, OUseful Info, September 11, 2011
  172. Tony Hirst makes the very good point that recent discussions of open educational resources have overlooked recent (and not-so-recent developments in the field of open learning. "from my quick reading of the OER impact report, it doesn’t really seem to consider the “open course” use case demonstrated by MOOCs, the Stanford courses, or mid-70s OU course broadcasts. (Maybe this was out of scope…!;-) Nor does it consider the production of OERs (I think that was definitely out of scope)." If your model of OERs requires their use in in (or as) university courses, then that's all you're going to get. And funding proposals, such as Hirst's, which propose "creating the materials in public and in an openly licensed way, in a way that makes them immediately available for informal study as well as open web discovery, embedding them in a target community," will have to look elsewhere. [Comment] [Direct Link] 56219

  173. Free Stanford AI Class is a Beta for a Commercial Launch?
    Beatrice K. Otto, Disruptive Library Technology Jester, September 11, 2011
  174. Via George Siemens comes this link to an in-depth examination of the Stanford AI open course. In a nutshell: what if this isn't actually an open course, but rather nothing more than a beta test for some new software by a company called KnowLabs. Seb Schmoller wonders whether Know Labs was already involved (or even there?) when the AI course was originally advertised. See also this Slashdot discussion. Of course there's nothing wrong with using an open course to test some software. But it would be a shame if the 'open' phase of this experiment is limited to just the courses being offered this session. The startups are circling education, writes Siemens, calling for transparency in the offering of these courses. I'm afraid he will be disappointed. [Comment] [Direct Link] 56220

  175. Change MOOC starts Mon 12th Sept 2011….
    Jenny Mackness, Jenny Connected, September 12, 2011
  176. As Jenny Mackness observes, the great Change MOOC starts today with an orientation week. It's interesting to read what she perceives are shifts in some important concepts: "Diversity: has shifted from being about the diversity of the environments to the diversity of individual perspectives.
    Autonomy: a subtle but important slight shift from managing your own learning to including recognition of individual values." [Comment] [Direct Link] 56223

  177. MOOCast name change > Launch of COOLCast
    Jeff Lebow,, September 13, 2011
  178. Jeff Lebow, who managed an underground MOOCast during the summer's eduMOOC course, has changed the name to COOLcast: "Collaborative Open Online Learning." He writes, "I think MOOC's are great, but as we discussed on the final MOOCast, I'm not a fan of the name itself. Aside from just not liking the sound of the word, I see MOOC's as part of a larger movement toward educators and learners working together and sharing resources online." All very well, and he is of course free to focus on whatever he wants, but it prompted me to point out that MOOCs are not based on a principle of collaboration. I posted, "MOOCs and the connectivist approach to learning, as I have argued elsewhere, is by contrast 'cooperative'. There is no presumption of unity, order, shared goals or coherence. There's no sense of being 'in the group' or its opposite. If teams or groups form, they are tangential to the course, and not the core or essence of it." [Comment] [Direct Link] 56234

  179. How to Participate in the MOOC
    Stephen Downes, Half an Hour, September 13, 2011
  180. Post I authored today as part of 'orientation week' for the #change2011 MOOC. [Comment] [Direct Link] 56238

  181. How to Participate in the MOOC - 2
    Stephen Downes, Half an Hour, September 14, 2011
  182. Second part of the orientation guide being prepared for the #change11 MOOC. [Comment] [Direct Link] 56241

  183. Web-Based Activities
    Various Authors, Facebook, September 15, 2011
  184. Something we're a lot more focused on this year in the #Change11 MOOC is the promotion of web-based activities around the course created by participants, not the course organizers. This page lists the activities that have been created and send to the administrators (well, to me) by email. These activities are a crucial part of any MOOC, in my view, because a MOOC is a web of inter-related resources and activities, not centralized on one particular site. [Comment] [Direct Link] 56245

  185. Call for Papers: Open Online Courses
    George Siemens, elearnspace, September 16, 2011
  186. George Siemens has blogged our call for papers for an edited book on MOOCs. This is the academic counterpart to The MOOC Guide (IMO). He also posts the duplication theory of educational value: "if something can be duplicated with limited costs, it can’t serve as a value point for higher education." [Comment] [Direct Link] 56256

  187. COOLCast#1 - September 14, 2011
    Lisa M Lane, Vance Stevens, Kate Robbins, Sanford Arbogast and Jeff Lebow, COOLCast, September 16, 2011
  188. The alternative MOOC webcasts have started up again for the fall courtesy Jeff Lebow and friends. I haven't been able to listen yet (I've been elbows-deep writing an adapter for Big Blue Button) but I definitely will. [Comment] [Direct Link] 56258

  189. el-Ukriaine
    ?????????? ????????, Website, September 21, 2011
  190. ?????????? ???????? posted in Change11 about SSDE11, the first Ukrainian MOOC, by Kukharenko and Bugaychuk (may-july 2011) Alternate link: and a machine translation to English. [Comment] [Direct Link] 56282

  191. Mobile learning: A tutor in your pocket
    Jenny Mackness, Jenny Connected, September 21, 2011
  192. Jenny Mackness summarizes today's session in the #change11 MOOC. We had Zoraini Wati Abas with us to speak about Mobile learning (m-learning) at the Open University Malaysia. Here's the current week 2 web page with her presentation archive on the #change11 website. As Mackness summarizes, "22000+ students have benefited from mobile learning in Malaysia, which is used principally to reduce drop out rates from open and distance learning courses, even though these courses are blended."

    As for us, we had set up a dedicated server to run our installation of Big Blue Button, and I had written a bunch of scripts to interface with the BBB API with a minimum of fuss. It all worked, but Big Blue Button staggered and then collapsed when the load reached 63 attendees. The sound, never good at the best of times, died completely. Barry Dahl was on hand to let us try FUZE, which worked for the 40 or so people who were able to make the jump. We've tried and rejected a bunch of things (I cancelled my WizIQ premium account today because it doesn't allow drop-ins without WizIQ accounts; Google Hangouts, meanwhile, have developed an audio problem). Maybe FUZE will be the ticket. [Comment] [Direct Link] 56285

  193. An Interview with Stephen Downes
    Darrel Branson and Tony Richards, Ed Tech Crew, September 22, 2011
  194. Discussion with the hosts of Ed Tech Crew about the nature of MOOCs, how they work, connectivism, open source and open licensing, and the rest of it.
    Enclosure: files/audio/EDTECHCREW175.mp3 Size: 47166387 bytes, type: audio/mpeg [Comment] [Direct Link] 56291

  195. Google in Education and Chromebooks (Sept 2011)
    Wesley Fryer, Moving at the Speed of Creativity, September 27, 2011
  196. Wesley Fryer has summarized quite well a number of the talks from the Google Geo-Teacher Institute in Lewiston, Maine (just a few hours down the road from me!). "125 million education users now for Google Apps for education," he notes. It's hard to overstate the impact Google has had in this space. I use it every day - for calendaring, to keep track of MOOC statistics, to author documents and sites, to read my RSS feeds, and (once in a while) to search. Here are Fryer's summaries:
    - A Real Tipping Point? Vision for Individualized Learning in Maine
    - This is a big map! (Giant Traveling Maps from National Geographic)
    - The Fourth Part of the World by Toby Lester
    - Giant Traveling Maps project from National Geographic
    - Digitizing Student Portfolios with an iPod Touch [video] [Comment] [Direct Link] 56331

  197. Digital scholarship - introduction
    Martin Weller, The Ed Techie, September 28, 2011
  198. It's Martin Weller's week at the #change11 MOOC and he's prepared this nice resource supporting his talk on digital scholarship. "As I mention in the video," he writes, "the week is largely based around a book I’ve just published, called The Digital Scholar. This was published by Bloomsbury, but is available as a free open access book, under a Creative Commons license here." He focuses his discussion on digital scholarship around four themes:
    - digital scholarship provides us with is a richer set of alternatives
    - new forms of media allow for greater impact than traditional scholarly practices
    - ‘digital scholarship’ is really a shorthand for digital, networked and open.
    - there's a tension currently between the pockets of marvellous innovation and a markedly conservative, resistant attitude from many institutions
    See also related posts on criticisms of digital scholarship and the definition of digital scholarship. Weller also asks, what ar the values in a MOOC? [Comment] [Direct Link] 56335

  199. Quantifying yourself through personal analytics
    Wolfgang Greller, Reflections on the Knowledge Society, September 29, 2011
  200. If your scale reports that your weight is constantly increasing, what's your reaction? If your weblog reported that you are writing at a Grade Six level and recommended more reading, what would you do? There's a lot of talk about learning analytics, mostly by people wanting to use them to grade people (and maybe spy on them) but the killer app for analytics isn't any of this, it's self-reporting for self-improvement. Why has it taken so long for educators to see the potential for such feedback? "Why has this not entered education research earlier? Mostly, I believe, it has to do with the fact that the understanding of ‘learning’ in the educational sciences is often restricted to academic learning and knowledge acquisition, not focused on behavioural learning which is a domain of Psychology."

    Related: my klout score is 60 or so (even though it has yet to successfully link to my blog), my most popular slide show has more than 40,000 views, my Groups and Networks image 9,000 views on Flickr... what do all of these analytics, and more, look like on a single dashboard? What type of information would provide better value? Via Nellie Deutsch in the edumooc Facebook group. [Comment] [Direct Link] 56347

  201. Promethean MOOC
    Corey Papastathis, Google Sites, September 29, 2011
  202. Preliminary announcement page for another MOOC, the Promethean MOOC: "Over this ten week MOOC (massive open online course) we will be using Promethean tools to explore technology integration concepts...The first 5 weeks will be tailored for people just beginning to use Promethean tools. Though there will be other technology concepts available during weeks 1-5 for participants who know the basics of the Promethean software. Weeks 6-10 will focus on the more advanced tools and features of the Promethean software and technology integration concepts." [Comment] [Direct Link] 56350

  203. The Virtuous Middle Way
    David Wiley, iterating toward openness, September 30, 2011
  204. David Wiley states his case (and takes a swipe at MOOCs en passant. "People can learn under situations whose structure is completely self-determined," he writes, "however, the purpose of the machinery of education is to improve the efficiency of the learning process... You can’t – with intellectual honestly – claim to oppose structure and disdain learning objectives on the one hand and then aggregate dozens of resources and technologies for students that will help them learn more about a certain topic (including tutorials on how to use them effectively!)." I would just love to see how he cashes out "efficiency" in this context - is it "most learning in least time?" or "biggest bang for smallest buck?" Or what? Moreover, how is it that selecting a bunch of resources presupposes a given learning objective. What's the formula for deducting a learning object from a set of materials? The best sets support many objectives. And that's the point - you can help people find their way around a city, or you can tell them where to go - and if you don't appreciate the difference between those, then you won't appreciate the difference between what we're doing and what Wiley wants us to think we're doing. [Comment] [Direct Link] 56362

  205. The digital scholar - which way to go?
    Steven Verjans, Stievie's adventures in e-Learning, September 30, 2011
  206. A big part of the challenge of Martin Weller's presentation this week in the change MOOC was around the question of whether people can become digital scholars just yet. Specifically, as Steven Verjans summarizes,
    - Is it enough to use social bookmarking or to share your conference presentations, or is that a start that will inevitably lead to more?
    - Are you only a 'real' digital scholar if you refuse to publish in closed journals and only opt for open access journals? How to deal with publishing your publically-funded research results?
    - Do I need to be a rebel within my institution, and how does it effect my own career? Or can I act as an evangelist and try to convince people that the end of the world as we know it is near?
    Now I can say that in my own case, I've just done what I felt was right, and success (such as it is) followed. Not everyone is so fortunate, which means they must play to a specific audience. And I guess I have to say, "If the only way people will pay you is if you do X, then do X." But the other piece of advice is, "On hand for the ship, one hand for yourself." Don't let go of the vision of where you want to go, even while you're doing X.
    [Comment] [Direct Link] 56363

  207. The Digital Promise – It Must Be Sustainable
    Jim Shimabukuro, educational technology & change, October 1, 2011
  208. Jim Shimabukuro poses what appears to be the most significant challenge to learning technology: "The Digital Promise, in its current form, is not sustainable. Over the long haul, no school or school district can afford teachers and administrators plus an additional layer of technical specialists and outsourced services." This leads to a new imperative in teacher training, suggests Shimabukuro. "The thrust of teacher training ought to switch from the teacher as technician dependent on outside sources to teacher as independent innovator." For example, he writes, "A model for a teacher-empowering digital promise is the MOOC," which suggests that "the teacher of the future will be able to develop a teaching and learning environment using the resources on the web."

    All very good, but I find I have to reject the sustainability argument. We sustain what we find valuable, pretty much no matter what the cost of the investment. We sustain trillions of dollars of road infrastructure, military endeavours, bank and business bailouts, and other such things. No amount of cost savings will satisfy the sustainability argument so long as we have a political environment that recognizes these other things as priorities. It is good to reform education, but not as a result of the sustainability argument; indeed, in spite of it. [Comment] [Direct Link] 56364

  209. Walking the Virtuous Middle Way
    David Wiley, iterating toward openness, October 3, 2011
  210. Pindham says, in the comments, "I truly wish I knew with whom Mr. Wiley is arguing." I agree; it seems to be he's argung with me, but I do not recognize my own - or anyone else's - words in his criticisms. So let me reiterate: allowing a person to manage their own learning does not prevent them from asking for directions, suggestions or advice, and it certainly does not preclude someone like me from offering it. What, then, do I oppose? The continual characterization of MOOCs as an environment in which no direction or advice is entertained or allowed. The MOOC motto is: we suggest, you decide. I think Wiley actually opposes the "you decide" part of it - because if he's had any experience with the way I conduct myself online, he cannot possibly think I eschew the "we suggest" part of it. I am a fountain of suggestions - what's the good of being educated and experienced otherwise? But you decide. [Comment] [Direct Link] 56373

  211. COOLCast - October 5, 2011
    Jeff Lebow, COOLcast, October 5, 2011
  212. We had a very interesting COOLcast on the subject of central cores and threads in MOOCs. Participants: Vance Stevens, carol yeager, Stephen Downes, Lisa M Lane, Kate Robbins, Jenny Ankenbauer, Jeff Lebow Chat Logs and other recordings at:
    [Comment] [Direct Link] 56387

  213. Collective Learning
    Lou McGill, Weblog, October 6, 2011
  214. Here's a quite worthwhile conversation hosed by Lou McGill with Allison Littlejohn, who is contributing to this week's #chnage11 MOOC. The core of Littlejohn's contribution revolves around the idea of collective learning, which relates to the way people connect to, and make sense of, the contributions made by the community around them. The talk covers four major topics: collective learning in general, the role of social objects in collective learning, openness, and 'charting', or making sense of the collective contributions, through a four-part process: collecting, consuming, creating, contributing. Obviously there is significant overlap between Littlejohn's formulation and my own, and it is interesting to look at the differences - what does it mean, for example, to 'consume' these contributions. The whole thing runs about 20 minutes. See also this post by Littlejohn on the learning ecosystem. [Comment] [Direct Link] 56394

  215. Episode 88: Why Universities Should Experiment With Massive Open Courses
    Jeffrey R. Young, Chronicle of Higher Education, October 7, 2011
  216. The Chronicle picks George Siemens, the MOOC-meister who is the most diplomatic of the bunch of us and who has not called them out publicly over and over, and they still introduce their interview with him with a snide attitude: "George Siemens, who leads Athabasca University’s Technology Enhanced Knowledge Research Institute, makes the case for why colleges should experiment with inviting tens of thousands of students to participate in their courses free online. The model poses challenges to traditional education models, but will it work for teaching Chaucer?" They also get the name of MOOCs wrong in the title. I haven't listed to the interview (I'll catch it later) but I hope Siemens gave it to them. Siemens also comments on the interview. [Comment] [Direct Link] 56406

  217. Episode 54: Change MOOC Discussion
    Jim Groom,, DTLT, October 7, 2011
  218. The #change11 MOOC has been off to a bit of a rocky start with several of our plans for synchronous conferencing choking under the weight of too many participants. In this episode of DTLT Today George Siemens and I have a conversation with Jim Groom and his crew about our troubles and potential alternatives. Also from George Siemens: Why do Synchronous Web Tooks Suck? And my Synchronous conferencing Google+ thread. Also on DTLT, Alan Levine on putting on good video, the ds106 radio telethon, and the new voice of Apple. [Comment] [Direct Link] 56407

  219. The Teacher’s Guide To Using Posterous Spaces
    Unattributed, Edudemic, October 10, 2011
  220. Nice quick guide to the use of Posterous Spaces (to put into context, in the #change11 MOOC, after Blogger and WordPress, which numbered one and two, the next most popular participant contributions were on Posterous and Tumblr, a trend that seems to be accelerating; Posterous is a lot like Google+, but without all the constraints and limitations). "It’s simple to use and provides an elegant way to present information in a blog-like way with minimal effort." See also Trent Kays, Rebelling Against Blackboard with Posterous and TinyChat via Laura Gibbs on G+. [Comment] [Direct Link] 56415

  221. #Change11: Welcome to week 5: Managing Technology to Transform Teaching
    Tony Bates, e-learning and distance education resources, October 14, 2011
  222. Tony Bates introduces his week: "Welcome to week 5 of this Massive Open Online Course organized by George Siemens, Stephen Downes and Dave Cormier. If you want to participate but haven’t registered with #Change11, please do so now by clicking here. It’s free! This week’s topic is Managing technology to transform teaching and looks at how university and college management can bring about changes to transform the institution. A key theme of the discussions will be: Can change come from within, or do we need to re-invent new forms of higher education that are de-institutionalized?" [Comment] [Direct Link] 56444

  223. Are we building a new grand narrative, or are grand narratives things of the past?
    Roland Legrand, Mixed Realities, October 17, 2011
  224. Interesting view from inside Howard Rheingold's Introduction to Cooperation Theory course. Roland Legrand asks, "Is Connectivism, as practiced for instance in the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) #Change11 more than a practical answer to contemporary challenges for the educational system? Could it also be part of an emerging new grand narrative, together with related components from network theory and cooperation theories?" My answer: yes, but it's not a 'grand narrative'. [Comment] [Direct Link] 56465

  225. Interview with George Siemens - LE@D, Universidade Aberta
    José Mota, Google+ / Vimeo, October 17, 2011
  226. José Mota writes, "Here's an interview we did with +George Siemens on 30 June, 2011, at the Laboratory of Distance Education and eLearning, Universidade Aberta, Portugal. It's around 40 minutes long and has, imo, a lot of great stuff on conectivism, change and moocs. There's no doubt he is one of the best persons you can find to have a great conversation with." I played it Monday on Ed Radio and was impressed by George Siemens the walking encyclopedia of references. [Comment] [Direct Link] 56466

  227. Takeaways from #SketchCamp Chicago
    Aaron Silvers, AES, October 25, 2011
  228. Oh, this SketchCamp would have been so much fun! It's set up on the MOOC model, expect without the Massive and Online, and cost $25, so I guess it's not open, and it was an 'uncourse', so except for all that it was like a MOOC. In all the ways that count, really. And there's this: "With different speakers throughout the day and different ways of saying it, this became an emergent theme: sketching is acting is prototyping." Of yeah, I would have loved that. And good Chicago food! [Comment] [Direct Link] 56506

  229. Read #MobiMOOC team's best #paper award for #mLearning research
    Inge de Waard, Ignatia Webs, October 25, 2011
  230. I'll probably never win a 'best paper' award for anything, but it's nice to be associated, however loosely, with something that did win. "So we are now seven members in the MobiMOOC research them (alphabetical order): Sean C. Abajian, Michael Sean Gallagher, Rebecca Hogue, Nilgün Özdamar Keskin, Apostolos Koutropoulos, Osvaldo Rodriguez and myself Inge de Waard. Writing the paper was a very dynamic process. After various iterations, where all of our combined ideas were put into the paper, we came to a consensus and ... the work and friendly, inspiring collaboration payed off. The team got 'Best Paper Award at the academically prestigious mLearn conference in Beijing. We all feel this is a true honor, as the paper came out of a thorough peer review process." [Comment] [Direct Link] 56514

  231. Can Enlightenment Scale?
    Michael Feldstein, e-Literate, October 28, 2011
  232. I forget where I heard this but I heard it recently: the one thing that scales proportionately with student numbers is student numbers. And this is the key to understanding how new educational technologies scale. Not though industrialization, not through enterprise architecture, but by tapping students themselves to create the scale. This I think is what's behind MOOCs, what's behind drive-by creatrivity and the DS106 phenomenonon, and what's behind Michael Feldstein's really useful observations in this post. As he writes, "if we can create a world in which the average community college student asks her professors what their credentials are to teach their classes, then all else becomes possible in educational reform." I can just imagine to myself some monks looking at a room full of specially trained scribes reading and writing text in the old languages and asking, "Yes, but will it scale?" [Comment] [Direct Link] 56530

  233. What Can We Learn From Stanford University’s Free Online Computer Science Courses?
    Seb Schmoller, Association for Learning Technology, November 7, 2011
  234. Though numbers have declined dramatically from last summer's peak of enthusiasm for Stanford's massive Artificial Intelligence course, membership is still large enough to crash servers and there is still a great deal of enthusiasm for the work. Seb Schmoller looks at what can be learned from the course so far in this article. What's interesting is how personal the courses seem to be, even though the scale by definition precludes any great measure of personal interaction. "If the AI course is anything to go by, what Stanford University has solved, with its short quirky and quiz-laden videos, is a way to give learners the feeling that they are receiving personal tuition, with plenty of scope alongside this for peer interaction." It's like a blend of the best from Khan Academy with our MOOCs. Schmoller writes, "the underlying model feels right; what is more, it feels replicable for different academic levels and for different disciplines." But can other institutions get the numbers to make the courses work? [Comment] [Direct Link] 56578

  235. The sods must be crazy: OLPC to drop tablets from helicopters to isolated villages
    Ryan Paul, Ars Technica, November 8, 2011
  236. I'm not sure whether the idea is genius or insane (though I suspect most people would be tending to suspect the latter). "The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) ... organization plans to drop the touchscreen computers from helicopters near remote villages in developing countries. The devices will then be abandoned and left for the villagers to find, distribute, support, and use on their own." And people say we don't give learners in our MOOCs enough support! This is way out there. John Connell says, "I can’t help but see a few poten­tial flaws." Yeah. In related OLPC news, Wayan Vota accuses the organization of eating its own supporters. "The OLPC Association is taking legal action against programs that are trying to implement One Laptop Per Child deployments" over the use of the OLPC name. Because the OLPC name, I guess, is reserved only for turkey drops. "Oh my god they're computers!" [Comment] [Direct Link] 56587

  237. 7 Things you should know about MOOCs
    Unattributed, EDUCAUSE, November 11, 2011
  238. The latest 'seven things' paper to come out of EDUCAUSE is about MOOCs (equally a surprise to both George Siemens and myself). As Siemens says, it would have been nice to see the document describe and link to other courses and other resources (surely Dave Cormier's What is a MOOC? video should have been mentioned!) but I guess we should be happy with what they do cover. And their final point does, I think, capture the significance: "perhaps the most significant contribution is the MOOC’s
    potential to alter the relationship between learner and instructor and between academe and the wider community by potentially providing a very large and diverse forum and meeting place for ideas." That's exactly what we were up to when we started with these courses. [Comment] [Direct Link] 56614

  239. The Wisdom of Motivated Crowds
    Teemu Leinonen, FLOSSE Posse, November 22, 2011
  240. Directly relevant to my talk this evening, Teemu Leinonen on motivation: "In a good course students should have the opportunity to practice leadership, gain knowledge, and be autonomous. Students should be provided ways to get social attention and opportunities to play and compete with each other. But this is not enough. Students should have the opportunity to make connections to deep philosophical issues, too: to obey moral codes, improve society and have connections to past and upcoming generations." He makes the point that "many courses (not only the MOOCs) are not motivating because they do not pay enough attention to the participant’s desires." I think that's true, and this is motivating me to examine the question. [Comment] [Direct Link] 56667

  241. Using mLearning and MOOCs to understand chaos, emergence, and complexity in education
    Inge deWaard,, IRRODL, November 28, 2011
  242. This paper looks at the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) from the perspective of a MobiMOOC, a six-week course focusing on mLearning that ran from April to May 2011. It begins with a quick outline of chaos theory and suggests that "a pedagogical format that embeds and even embraces this complexity, combined with a prevalent emerging technology, can be the means to arrive at a new educational order." It overviews the course and describes some participation statistics (pictured, above). According to the authors, a MOOC is complex and self-organizing, a MOOC is connected and open, MOOCs can transform to adapt to the needs of the course or environment, and MOOCs manifest emergent phenomena, and specifically, internal diversity, internal redundancy, neighbor interactions, and decentralized control. Technologies and transformations also arise as emergent phenomena. Conversation, dialogue, and social meaning are also opbserved. "The MobiMOOC we ran," they conclude, "was an example of an open and adaptive, complex system." [Comment] [Direct Link] 56705

  243. A Pedagogy of Abundance or a Pedagogy to Support Human Beings? Participant Support on Massive Open Online Courses
    Rita Kop, Hélène Fournier and Sui Fai John Mak, IRRODL, November 28, 2011
  244. According to the authors, "it is possible to move from a pedagogy of abundance to a pedagogy that supports human beings in their learning through the active creation of resources and learning places by both learners and course facilitators." With an environment of abundant resources it becomes the student's responsibility to select and filter resources, and "one should question if all adult learners are capable of taking on this responsibility." They argue, "one of the major challenges is to create a pedagogy that supports human beings in their learning where the social connections people make on the network provide their learning support," and look at this through the example of the Massive Open Online Course, and specifically, Personal Learning Environments Networks and Knowledge course (PLENK2010) and the Connectivism and Connective Knowledge course (CCK11). The paper outlines the method and tools used to support the courses, and then describes a regimen of statistics and surveys that constitute the research itself. Analytics tools were also employed to visualize the networks of connections between people.

    The authors note that "It is clear, however, that there were deficiencies in the support structures of the MOOCs." Some, however, found this to be an advantage. Either way, we see "the importance of making connections between learners and fellow-learners and between learners and facilitators." But "Scaling up to the majority in networked learning requires facilitators to adopt a multifaceted role so as to guide or influence the learners and communities to get involved and embrace social media practices." They argue that interaction "should be based on the creation of a place or community where people feel comfortable, trusted, and valued" and that "scaffolding is necessary to build confidence and self-efficacy and to ensure novices will feel confident and competent in using technologies." I think we've become better at this, but agree a concentrated effort is necessary here. [Comment] [Direct Link] 56706

  245. Constraints and Change in ChangeMooc
    Jenny Mackness, Jenny Connected, November 29, 2011
  246. Really good summary of the discussion in the #Change11 MOOC around the presentations made last week by Jon Dron. According to Dron, a weakness of an approach such as the MOOC is that there are insufficient constraints created by the software, and so the result is too 'soft' - people wander around, not knowing what to do. He recommends mechanisms that 'parcellize' the content, creating local environments. For example, suggests Mackness, "Tagging could be one answer. Tags can separate out spaces, so for example a ‘good for beginners’ tagged space could emerge." I offered a longish response, also posted in my blog. [Comment] [Direct Link] 56719

  247. Team Trust in Online Education: Assessing and Comparing Team-member Trust in Online Teams Versus Face-to-Face Teams
    Peggy M. Beranek and Monique L. French, The Journal of Distance Education, November 30, 2011
  248. This study measures 'trust' at the beginning and the end of a semester for in-person and online classes using a questionnaire designed to measure the different dimensions of trust in virtual teams. Different types of trust include personality-based trust, institution-based trust, and cognitive trust (eg., schemes based on our choices of whom to trust as we get to know people) and the questionnaire used measures the latter two types. It would be interesting to see such an evaluation made of MOOC participants - or at least to have a sample size greater than 27. Interestingly, at least in this instance, there were no significant differences in levels of trust between the two types of course. "The change in trust levels over the course of a semester were the same for both course formats." Interestingly, "the online teams had higher initial levels of trust." Of course, next time, perhaps they should run the study with students who are strangers, not students who have already sat through the same prerequisite courses at the same institution. Talk about your biased samples! Via Tony Bates, who links to three additional new articles from the JDE. [Comment] [Direct Link] 56729

  249. The university as a flag of convenience
    John Moravec, Education Futures, December 13, 2011
  250. Interesting assessment of the significance of the Stanford Artificial Intelligence MOOC. "I don’t think its significant that ‘Stanford’ is doing this, I think it’s significant that [Stanford Professor] Peter Norvig is doing this," says Michael Feldstein, a senior program manager for Cengage Learning and author of the popular education technology blog e-Literate. "He’s essentially using his reputation in the field to provide his stamp of approval on a student’s performance, independent of his institution." I don't know. I don't think that it gets the same coverage, attention or attendance if Norvig does it from, say, the University of Winnipeg. [Comment] [Direct Link] 56811

  251. Measuring the Wrong Things — Has the Scientific Method Been Compromised By Careerism?
    Kent Anderson, The Scholarly Kitchen, December 15, 2011
  252. I think this is exactly right: "Perhaps we’re measuring the wrong things — number of publications, number of citations, impact factors of publication outlets — as a way of measuring a scientist’s productivity, which we then reward with money, either directly or indirectly. Perhaps we should measure how many results have been replicated. Without that, we are pursuing a cacophony of claims, not cultivating a world of harmonious truths." It is not, for example, how many publications I can get for developing the nature and form of the MOOC, nor the citations to my works, nor even whether I can raise research money for it. It's whether other people can use the model successfully. The papers and the money are an aid in doing this, a means to an end, not the end in itself. [Comment] [Direct Link] 56827

  253. Teaching the On-Line Stanford class at UMass Lowell
    Fred Martin, Computing Education Blog, December 16, 2011
  254. Fred Martin reflects on his experience participating in the Stanford Artificial Intelligence MOOC. "I don’t have to lecture the material. When we meet, my students have (largely) worked through the lectures and homeworks. So I don’t have to explain things to students for the first time. Instead, we use in-class time to have an interesting conversation about the parts of the material that people found confusing or disagreed upon. We’ve had some great arguments this semester." Interesting how we are told "Thrun’s colleague at the Stanford AI Lab, Prof. Daphne Koller, is a pioneer of this approach, and discussed it in a recent NYT essay.... a lot like the approach suggested in 2006 by Day and Foley in their HCI course at Georgia Tech. They recorded web lectures, and then used classroom time for hands-on learning activities. Koller calls this 'the flipped classroom.'" Someone tell Karl Fisch. [Comment] [Direct Link] 56838

  255. Khan and AI: Open Online Courses
    George Siemens, elearnspace, December 16, 2011
  256. George Siemens writes, "I’ve been a bit frustrated in the past (actually, I still am) that the history of open courses has not been fully reflected in conversation about the Stanford AI class. People like David Wiley, Alec Couros, Stephen Downes and others have been running open courses since 2007 (this insidehighered article does touch on the history). Audrey Watters captures my thinking when she states: 'What does it mean — culturally, pedagogically, politically, financially — that Stanford garners so much buzz for its free online courses while other MOOCs (Massively Open Online Courses) go unheralded?'."

    This is not - contra George - just a question about ego. There are deeper issues. I tried to capture some of them when I talked about the nature of free software and free content during a debate earlier this year: "I find it a point well worth making that there is an entire history of open source and open licensing that originated outside the Berkeley-Stanford-Harvard nexus that is now regarded as authoritative." The result of attributing the concept of free software to people working in this nexus is that it acquired the nature of commodity and the essence of commercialization. Agree or disagree, it's hard to argue that the appropriation of the concept didn't change it into something more palatable to a certain crowd. And that's what's happening here. [Comment] [Direct Link] 56839

  257. The Feynman Series (part 1) - Beauty
    Richard Feynman, YouTube, December 16, 2011
  258. I bought a new Buddha this week (pictured left) and a new bonsai tree. The Buddha is made of some kind of mixture of resin, soil and sawdust, and is happily imperfect. The bonsai tree is still very young.

    We had our last #change11 session for the year, marking the half-way point in the course. I remarked on how the innovations and discoveries were progressing so rapidly I had little desire to top and write papers. It was funny - usually I worry that my best days are behind me, but today after our online session I was left with the feeling my best work is still to come.

    Forget doom and gloom, said the blog post. "Journalism isn't dying, even if newspapers in the way we've always known them may be. We don't have a consumption problem for news.... the 18-, now 19-, year-olds may have it figured out more than the rest of us.... They get that the job has changed and they're fine with it.... they have a strong sense of a social mission. They want to report on the issues that matter. They’re idealistic. I love it."

    I open think about what it means to be human, to live, to grow, to die. I'm come to grips with it, with the idea that my coming and going are a part of that great process. That death is necessary for change, for evolution, for life itself. Philip K. Dick, naturally, sees the art in this:

    "The beautiful and imperishable comes into existence due to the suffering of individual perishable creatures who themselves are not beautiful, and must be reshaped to form a template from which the beautiful is printed (forged, extracted, converted). This is the terrible law of the universe. This is the basic law; it is a fact… Absolute suffering leads to — is the means to — absolute beauty."

    This week, as physicists seek the ultimate particle, I think of people like Richard Feynman, who sought to find, not what they could get out of the universe, but through the absolute joy of discovery, what they could put into it. Who sees beauty in all dimensions, in all the shapes of things, in all the elements large and small.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 56842

  259. Research about MOOC pedagogy
    Heli Nurmi, Heli connecting ideas, December 19, 2011
  260. Heli Nurmi summarizes the recent article on MOOC research by Rita Kop, Helene Fournier and Sui Fai John Mak and mentions in passing additonal work by Roy Williams same questions, and Jenny Mackness, suggesting that "a pedagogy of abundance is not enough, we need pedagogy to support human beings." And she suggests that "we already know very much about it, supporting human beings is not totally different in virtual environments." I'm not so sure. The research I see mostly describes how to follow a path. I am working toward the rather more elusive target of encouraging people to find their own path and to take the steps needed to follow it for themselves. [Comment] [Direct Link] 56848

  261. #Change11- Half way point reflections
    Jenny Mackness, Jenny Connected, December 19, 2011
  262. Our #Change11 course has reached the half way marked and we're now one day into a much-needed two week intermission. In this post Jenny Mackness reflects on the first fourteen weeks, with links to each of the weeks (she might now be the world expert on MOOCs, having "now participated in 6 MOOCs and written 5 research papers as a result"). She reports what we have all, I think, felt - the rapidly changing topics week after week have been a challenge - but they don't get boring, either! She also encourages us not to change our approach just because of the low engagement - but it's not really that low, in my view: in addition to the more than 2000 people receiving the daily newsletter, we've had 38,000 visits and 135,000 pages read during the 14 weeks of the course - and that's just on the main site, not counting all the Twitter and blog posts read on other sites. And the have been 1300 blog posts harvested and almost 2500 tweets - you can read 766 blog posts online. I think what we have done much better this time has been to sustain participation (not that it has been easy, and I still think we could have done it better - though, again, as she says, "the whole point is to recognize that we need to learn in distributed open spaces and educators need to help learners to develop the skills to do this"). [Comment] [Direct Link] 56850

  263. MITx: The Next Chapter for University Credentialing?
    Audrey Watters, Inside Higher Ed, December 20, 2011
  264. An official blog and media frenzy has followed MIT's announcement that it will grant certificates for work completed using its open access learning materials. Most - like Open Culture, along with Audrey Watters in Inside Higher Ed, suggest MIT's move is in response to Stanford's Open Courses. Others, like Mashable, Edudemic and GigaOm, popint to MIT's Open CourseWare as a precursor. Mark Smithers suggests it's possibly a game-changer. Time to remove the blinders, says David Jakes. But as Tony Bates argues, there's something Johnny-come-lately about the whole thing. "I fear that some of these elite institutions in the USA are making it up as they go and are failing to base their strategies on the substantial body of knowledge, research and experience that already exists about online learning and distance education. They are coming to the party late, making a mess, and bragging about it. Hubris is the word that comes to mind. Welcome to the 20th century, MIT – now how about the 21st?" Agreed.

    Following up meanwhile from Stanford's AI MOOC, we have this really interesting commentary from Rob Rambusch: "The whole drawn-on-a-napkin feel of the class was responsible for much of its charm. The napkin was visible to 160,000 people but that didn't detract from the personal nature of the learning experience." Seb Schmoller also weighs in with his final report from the course, comparing it with a pre-web course from 20 years ago: "the underlying sense of connection between students and teachers felt similar; and the way in which education would be changed irrevocably by the Internet was already apparent." Maybe we are now really learning how to set up a free school.

    Meanwhile, in another thread of the same story, open content is gaining steam, according to this report in the Chronicle. Washington State announced its open course library in October, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst has been awarding faculty grants for the creation of open content, and a bill has been proposed in California to produce 50 open online textbooks. [Comment] [Direct Link] 56854

  265. Cloud Computing and Creativity: Learning on a Massive Open Online Course
    Rita Kop and Fiona Carroll, European Journal of Open, Distance and E-Learning, December 22, 2011
  266. 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. [Comment] [Direct Link] 56870

  267. Tips for Facilitating a Week in Change11 MOOC
    Nancy While, Full Circle Associates, December 23, 2011
  268. We had Nancy White as a guest presenter in #Change11 this fall and she did a wonderful job, introducing us to concepts like 'social artistry'. This post is a pretty good look at the task of presenting from the other side. It's interesting to see how the course and the work were perceived by somebody dropping in for a week. She writes, "I followed the links and left comments on as many blogs that I found relating to my week. That took a bit of time, but the feedback was that this was really meaningful to people — particularly since we talked a lot about connection in week 8." One thing I regret about this course is not being able to do as much of that follow-up myself as I would like. [Comment] [Direct Link] 56875

  269. 2011 The Year of Open
    Paul Stacey, Musings on the edtech frontier, December 23, 2011
  270. Paul Stacey authors an almost-definitive account of 'the year of open' that we have just experienced, documenting such initiatives as the adoption of Creative Commons and creation of open data portals by governments, the mainstreaming of MOOCs by big name institutions such as University of Mary Washington and Stanford University, the launch of MITx, the opening of content by museums and libraries, the UNESCO-COL Guidelines for Open Educational Resources (OER) in Higher Education, the creation of hundreds of millions of open resources by individuals, the ideas of citizen science and citizen journalism, the concept of a JAMs for open engagement ("A JAM is a a non-linear moderated discussion of fixed duration that is part creative brainstorming, part active dialogue, and part focus group"), the embrace of open by LMS vendors, the American Community College and Career Training grants totaling $2 billion over four years for open content, the bringing to life of the OER university (OERu), and (believe it or not) much more. I think those of us who have worked toward these outcomes for a very long time can take significant satisfaction in these developments. [Comment] [Direct Link] 56879

  271. Research publications on Massive Open Online Courses and Personal Learning Environments
    Rita Kop, You-Learn, January 9, 2012
  272. Rita Kop just posted a list of the work she has done analyzing MOOCs and related entities, and it's amazing how much she has written over the last two and a half years. There are eight papers listed, but they don't just repear the same points; "the diversity of subjects covered in the papers will shed light on the learning experiences on MOOCs and make for a varied tapestry of information on MOOCs." It's a great body of research that I think establishes her as an authority in the analysis of MOOCs. [Comment] [Direct Link] 56977

  273. Distance Learning from A to Z
    Various Authors, Website, January 10, 2012
  274. Seb Schmoller tossed me this link this morning about a MOOC that started in December in Russian. The link is to a Google Translate version - it's hardly Tolstoy's Russian but it serves the purpose. "The first part of the course, which ends on school-seminar in January 2012 on the basis of NTU 'KPI', devoted to general issues of distance education and its role in the school, institution of higher education and corporations." [Comment] [Direct Link] 56983

  275. One Change a Day
    Various Authors, One Change a Day, January 10, 2012
  276. Over the new year's break I contributed an article to this ambitious initiative, One Change a Day, which is posting daily reflections from e-learning leaders about the impact of new technologies in education. My post, Creating the Connectivist Course, described the origin and purpose of the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). Other interesting posts already include Dave Cormier on seven black swans in education in 2012, Tony Bates on the rough ride facing the education system, and Jack West on how technology will change public education. [Comment] [Direct Link] 56985

  277. ED218 Developing mathematics: The early years
    Maria Droujkova, P2PU, January 17, 2012
  278. Maria Droujkova writes in Facebook, "I am leading a MOOC (massive open online course) this Spring. The sign-up is open January 17-22 at P2PU School of Math Future. The course, "Developing mathematics: The early years" is offered for credit to Arcadia University students, and for School of Math Future completion certificate to everybody. It has the following overarching themes:
    - Personally meaningful and relevant mathematics achieved through projects, games, problem-posing and problem-solving.
    - Computer-based mathematics, including interactive simulations, modeling tools, solvers, and children programming platforms.
    - Lifelong learning for teachers, with the focus of online communities and networks for teacher support, and building your personal learning networks
    [Comment] [Direct Link] 57029

  279. Online University Education in Canada
    George Siemens, elearnspace, January 24, 2012
  280. George Siemens links to this report which says there isn't much innovation in online education in Canada. The report states, "Online education, particularly in Canada, has often been perceived as a poor fit with education and training needs... lack of Canadian data and strategy, lack of collaboration, and lack of resources targeted to online university education remain barriers." In particular, says the report, "Canada has weak national innovation indicators... Online education’s ability to foster workplace innovation and STEM growth is not being maximized... (and) Canadian online innovations (virtual environments, integrated learning systems) are ad hoc." Moreover, "The United States is demonstrating leadership in online education innovation thanks to broad-based national and philanthropic support... Canadian shared e-resource development projects tend to be provincial (limited) in scope... Open Education Resources offer the potential for cost and utility benefits, but face challenges related to support, resourcing, and systems."

    From where I sit, a lot of innovation is happening in Canada. As Siemens notes, "On a personal note, I was pleased to see that University of Manitoba listed the work Stephen Downes and I have done with massive open online courses (MOOCs) as an innovation (p. 31)." But what usually happens is that the innovation is not recognized until it is adopted elsewhere. And I think the report does have a point about the lack of financial and institutional support (not that I believe a 'national strategy' would change that). Well, meanwhile, there's a whole lot of free learning going on. [Comment] [Direct Link] 57086

  281. Connectivism and Connective Knowledge 2012
    Stephen Downes and George Siemens, CCK12, January 26, 2012
  282. For those of you who never had the opportunity, or those of you who want to relive the dream, George Siemens and I are offering yet another iteration - our fourth! - of Connectivism and Connective Knowledge. This has been the smoothest launch of the gRSShoper technology yet (and it has been equally smooth for our sister course, Learning Analytics). Our first live online session is tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern - more information here and if you want you can sign up here. So we're looking forward to welcoming you whether you're an old hand or brand new to the process. [Comment] [Direct Link] 57120

  283. The place of ‘the teacher’ in relation to open content
    Jenny Mackness, Jenny Connected, January 31, 2012
  284. We've had a cancellation and as a result are collectively catching our breath in #Change11, which is probably a good thing (it allows me to pause and catch my breath in CCK12, which also got off to a vigorous start). And Jenny Mackness gets at the central question we are trying to answer with MOOCs: "Sir John Daniel as long ago as 1996 warned that traditional universities cannot create enough supply. So the question that was raised is, how do we scale up teaching without simply throwing content at people." After more than three years working with MOOCs, I still think it's a good question. And I'm thinking about how we can improve the existing model to made them more engaging, interactive and supportive to learners. [Comment] [Direct Link] 57175

  285. IRRODL – A new edition has been published
    Jenny Mackness, Jenny Connected, February 6, 2012
  286. Interesting article with the backstory to an IRRODL article on MOOCs referenced here last week. I love the bit about the reviewers ("We didn’t receive any guidance from the Editor as to which Reviewer to believe. So we didn’t do a major rewrite :)"). Also worth noting: "Reviewer B strongly objected to our use of blog posts as sources of information, and I have to say that we rather strongly objected to his/her objection." Mackness gives three very good reasons for her position:
    - most of the conversations about connectivism and MOOCs happen in blogs
    - we were worried that our paper was going to be out of date before it was even published
    - neither of us works for an academic institution, nor do we live within easy access of a university library
    I'm sympathetic. Most of my work has been published in blog form; from my perspective life is too short to have to deal with arbitrary reviewers and edits well past the point of diminishing returns. The result has been that the citations have frequently gone elsewhere. I understand the need for peer review - but we need a better system. Realted: MOOCs are here to stay, by Graham Attwell. [Comment] [Direct Link] 57223

  287. The Virtual Trainer's Checklist by Terrence L. Gargiulo
    Helge Scherlund, Elearning News, February 6, 2012
  288. I've been think of doing something like this for MOOCs (I may well still do it, as I have a presentation scheduled in that direction in a few weeks). I think I'd want it to be a bit more practical and process-oriented that this item (the actual checklist is on page 11). [Comment] [Direct Link] 57227

  289. 4 Start-Ups Are Offering Free Online Courses
    Nick DeSantis, Chronicle of Higher Education, February 10, 2012
  290. À propos of what I was talking about in my presentation, the MOOC generation is passing from the 'development' stage to the 'commercialization' stage. At least, that's what I would judge from looking at the activity in the space now. [Comment] [Direct Link] 57276

  291. A New MOOC for May/June – First Steps into Teaching in FE/HE
    Jenny Mackness, Jenny Connected, February 15, 2012
  292. It's always a good day to welcome another MOOC into the world, "a short MOOC," writes Jenny Mackness, "for Educational Developers and all those interested in teaching and learning in Further and Higher Education. I will be working with Marion Waite and George Roberts, who has already started blogging about it here –" [Comment] [Direct Link] 57309

  293. The “Shift to Networks”
    Will Richardson, Weblogg-Ed, February 15, 2012
  294. A key point I made in my recent talk is that what connectivism and MOOCs bring that's new to the table is the idea of distributed networks, and correspondingly, distributed cognition. People talk a lot about the content and the collaboration and the environments - but these were all around. The key idea here is that all this is distributed. That's what comes through as well in this post, where Will Richardson quotes both George Siemens and Joi Ito in this regard. "How do we help our students establish themselves as a “node” in a broad, global network of creativity and learning? Shouldn’t that be one of the fundamental questions that drives our work in schools right now?" [Comment] [Direct Link] 57310

  295. Knowledge, Learning and Community
    Stephen Downes, Half an Hour, February 27, 2012
  296. My contribution to #Change11 online course, February 27. Though I have recently become better known because of my contributions to connectivism and to the concept of the massive open online course, these are reflective of a wider philosophy that has characterized my work as a whole much more generally. In the early 2000s I took to characterizing it under the heading of knowledge, learning and community – I even
    posted an eBook with that title. I’d like to return to that framework in order to describe my contributions to the field today. [Comment] [Direct Link] 57418

  297. Hello This time, reading slides is actually a good thing
    Kevin Jarrett, NCS-Tech, February 29, 2012
  298. I found the 'source detection in large networks' slide presentation to be fascinating - I could actually just sit and watch these sorts of slide shows for days on end. Is it a good learning experience, though? Probably only if you're really interested in the subject material. Of course, that's probably true of all learning experiences (I always wonder why people take pains to say MOOCs require motivated students, as though nothing else does). I also wonder why Kevin Jarrent uses images to create his post title - perhaps it's an anti-aggregation device? [Comment] [Direct Link] 57427

  299. Massive open online courses as new educative practice
    George Siemens, elearnspace, March 1, 2012
  300. George Siemens has released a set of slides on the massive open online course. "In a recent interview by Tamar Lewin for NYTimes," he writes, "I stated that while you could call Udacity, Coursera, and Codeacademy examples of MOOCs (Massive open online courses), they are largely instantiations of existing educational practices. Their primary innovation is scaling. (See Jim Groom’s comments on this post…or Alan Levine’s thoughts on scaling in moocs)." [Comment] [Direct Link] 57439

  301. What a MOOC Does
    Stephen Downes, Half an Hour, March 1, 2012
  302. Short article in which I argue - contra Clark Quinn and Tony Bates - that a MOOC should be judged on its own merits, based on what it is trying to do, rather than as an extension of what the traditional course is trying to do. [Comment] [Direct Link] 57444

  303. The best learning of my life
    George Siemens, elearnspace, March 2, 2012
  304. One of the reasons we (George Siemens, Dave Cormier and myself) feel we've found something in MOOCs is that we have been hearing this sort of thing a lot over the last three years: "The best learning of my life." Laura McInerney writes, "There was just so. much. learning. And it was awesome in the literal sense of the word – for the entire hour I was in awe of how much information I was able to take in and make sense of in so many different ways." [Comment] [Direct Link] 57451

  305. More reflections on MOOCs and MITx
    Tony Bates, Online Learning and Distance Education Resources, March 4, 2012
  306. Tony Bates offers at once a response to my post on MOOCs and brings in a critique from the traditional perspective. The response? That MOOCs follow in a well-established tradition: "They belong philosophically within the context of thinkers such as R. H. Tawney, Ivan Illich and Paulo Freire, who believed strongly in self-education, as part of their broader socialist views on equality, the need to open access to knowledge, and to educate the workers." And the critique, from an unnamed university administrator: "Who will benefit? It seems that those who meet the standards of discussion and the hidden requirements [of the presenters] can exchange and enhance their knowledge." [Comment] [Direct Link] 57472

  307. MOOC – Critical Reflection
    Sui Fai John Mak, Learner Weblog, March 5, 2012
  308. Some response posts. In this first one John Mak comments on Clark Quinn and an earlier post by Tony Bates. In another post he responds to Tony Bates's most recent post. This is also a follow-up to Dave Cormier's excellent observations. He writes, "MOOCs offer a complex ecosystem in which you ‘can’ learn, not one where you ‘will learn.’ It doesn’t come with many guarantees. Rhizomatic learning is a complex way of learning, not the easiest way to learn to tie your shoes." [Comment] [Direct Link] 57476

  309. Instruction for Masses Knocks Down Campus Walls
    Tamar Lewin, New York Times, March 5, 2012
  310. None of us receive any credit for having invented the form - it all goes to Stanford and MIT - but it's still nice to see the MOOC make the pages of the New York Times. [Comment] [Direct Link] 57477

  311. Thoughts on Conducting Research in MOOCs
    David Wiley, iterating toward openness, March 6, 2012
  312. More criticism of MOOCs because learning can't be evaluated in them like it can traditional courses. "This makes MOOCs almost completely immune to rigorous investigation with regard to how they function as a means of facilitating learning." Well - no. That's like saying you can't rigorously evaluate a transportation system because everybody's going to a different place - or no place in particular. So it may be better to ask - as Wiley does - "did engaging in a unique set of activities help this person reach the specific outcome(s) they were hoping to achieve when they enrolled in the MOOC?" But again - it's like nobody ever reads my work on knowledge. Asking for specific answers from fuzzy reality is like asking for restaurant recommendations from a raccoon - even if you get an answer, pretty much any sense has been lost in the translation. [Comment] [Direct Link] 57491

  313. Learning Without Training
    Jay Cross, Internet Time, March 6, 2012
  314. Once upon a time many years ago I wrote that the way to evaluate learning is not to look at test scores or even grades or educational outcomes, but rather to more significant statistics - poverty and employment, health, criminality, and happiness. They are not only more reflective of whether learning actually occurred, they also reflect why we want learning to occur. Think of it as the add-on Kirkpatrick Level 5 for society as a whole. Having reviewed that, now consider this Jay Cross piece in the light of the criticisms of MOOCs being described by David Wiley (below; in his inimitable style Wiley of course could say he isn't making the criticisms, just bringing them up). There won't be any pre-test or post-test for the 'social business learning ecosystem', nor should there be. But companies know that this stuff relates to their bottom line. Or they should. As should society. [Comment] [Direct Link] 57493

  315. MOOCs for the win!
    George Siemens, elearnspace, March 7, 2012
  316. Still more discussion on the nature and future of MOOCs. But as George Siemens says, it certainly appears as though it's MOOCs 4TW! I think we've bridged a conceptual gap, or crossed a threshold of social awareness. The temptation to measure them against existing programs is immense, but as Siemens says, "It is important to realize that MOOCs are not (yet) an answer to any particular problem. They are an open and ongoing experiment. They are an attempt to play with models of teaching and learning that are in synch with the spirit of the internet." See Rob Reynolds, meanwhile, who discusses MOOCs as a centrifugal force in education. [Comment] [Direct Link] 57497

  317. Definitory Power on MOOCs
    Matthias Melcher, x28's New Blog, March 9, 2012
  318. 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. [Comment] [Direct Link] 57510

  319. The Emerging Landscape of Educational Delivery Models
    Phil Hill, e-Literate, March 22, 2012
  320. Two parts (thus far; Part One, Part Two) of a series by Phil Hill on new educational delivery models. "Why does it matter that we describe these educational delivery models with finer granularity than just traditional and online? Because the aims of the models differ, as do the primary methods of how these models are created and delivered. As an example, there are really two variations of MOOCs with quite different approaches – witness the Stanford and MITx version vs. the rhizomatic version. Given the changing landscape, the judgment of how successful these models will become, as well as how well learning platforms help solve the associated problems should differ as well." [Comment] [Direct Link] 57589

  321. MOOCing about with SaaS
    Andy Powell, E-Foundations, March 22, 2012
  322. Andy Powell is messing around with a MOOC on SaaS (Software as a Service) and Ruby on Rails in particular. The course is offered on Coursera. He writes, "In general, MOOCs are premised on the idea of connectivism as a pedagogic approach which I'll summarise somewhat trivially by saying, "you may not know the answer but in a large enough social network you'll probably know someone who does". I suspect this works particularly well in what I'll call "softer" disciplines - for example, where homework submissions take the form of essays. As it happens, it has also worked quite well for this course, not because people have directly given away the answers in the discussion forum but because the general discussion around problems and issues (with all aspects of the course) has been incredibly useful." [Comment] [Direct Link] 57590

  323. Education as Platform: The MOOC Experience and what we can do to make it better
    Stephen Downes, Half an Hour, March 23, 2012
  324. I've just posted the full text from my presentation 'Education as Platform', the talk I gave in India last week. In this presentation I outline the motivation and design of the massive open online course (MOOC) and then outline a number of criticisms of the form as it has evolved thus far. My argument is that to the extent that a MOOC focuses on content, like a traditional course, i begins to fail. A MOOC should focus on the connections, not the content. I outline some ways of focusing on connections, using connectors. By way of an example, I discuss structured connections such as chess games and budget simulations. [Comment] [Direct Link] 57603

  325. MOOC Synthesizer
    University Diaries, Inside Higher Ed, March 26, 2012
  326. (Part One, Part Two, Part Thres, Part Four) Here we have more MOOC stuff at the Faculty Project - you can sign up for Modern China, The Economics of Energy and the Environment, Poetry and more, all hosted by Udemy. 'University Diaries', authored by an unnamed literatire professor (though not that unnamed, as the course is identified as being authored by Margaret Soltan) describes one such course: "I'm having a blast. I like spending the week collecting material, and my thoughts, for the next lecture. I like the way a MOOC allows me to distill my responses to poetry in a new way, with a new freedom. As the lectures take shape, I see my understandings of poetry form a comprehensive argument about the genre that I'd never before pulled together." But - she concludes - it's only outreach. Well, maybe - but it won't be long before her hobby becomes her life. I've seen it happen before. [Comment] [Direct Link] 57621

  327. DS106: The Open Online Community of Digital Storytellers
    Jim Groom, Kickstarter, April 2, 2012
  328. I've been interested to follow the story of Jim Groom and companby's use of Kickstarter to raise money to continue the DS106 experiment. In 24 hours they made their goal of $4200 and will be buying "a grown-up server (in the cloud no less!) which comes with its own grown-up costs to the tune of over $2,800 this year" (to compare, the server running and costs $1600 per year, which I pay for myself (though Athabasca University kicked in $500 this year - thanks Athabasca!). So DS106 is getting some serious hardware and bandwidth. Then an elearning company kicked in another $5000, spurred on by Michael Feldstein's offer of free publicity. Now they're talking about Gates Foundation funding and getting a bus. More realistic, I think, is the idea to embed guest artists in the course - it's one thing to run a MOOC yourself, another (as we've learned in our case) to invite guests each week. [Comment] [Direct Link] 57707

  329. What are the main differences among those MOOCs?
    Sui Fai John Mak, Learner Weblog, April 3, 2012
  330. Interesting post looking at most of the MOOCs that have been created thus far (Stanford’s AI, Couresa, Udacity, MobileMOOC, Connectivism and Connective Knowledge MOOC,  Change11 and DS106) and identifying differences between them. Mak lists five types of MOOC: From Knowledge acquisition
    - an instructivist approach – Stanford – AI, Machine Learning; Udacity, Khan Academy
    - cognitivist approach – EduMOOC
    to Knowledge growth and development (pattern recognition), learning as participation and connections, and reflection
    - constructivist approach – DS106?, MobileMOOC
    - social constructivist approach (with rhizomatic learning) – MOOCs
    - connectivist approach – CCKs, PLENK2010, Change11, eduMOOC, MobileMOOC, EduMOOC
    [Comment] [Direct Link] 57714

  331. First Steps in Learning and Teaching MOOC – Update
    Jenny Mackness, Jenny Connected, April 5, 2012
  332. I've had a bunch of people sending me information about new MOOCs starting up and I'm totally losing track. You can follow the development of the fslt12 MOOC here as the largely Oxford-based team begins to grow. I have to say, we've long way from Oxford's traveling library days. [Comment] [Direct Link] 57792

  333. Massive Open Online Courses: Setting Up (StartToMOOC, Part 1)
    Inge de Waard, Learning Solutions Magazine, April 12, 2012
  334. Inge de Waard writes, "In this first part of a six-part series, you will learn about MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), which are courses in the Cloud. You will also learn how to set up the core spaces for MOOCs. The articles that follow in the series will move from basic to more complex course features. Having organized MOOCs myself, I admit that for newbies it might look a bit scary at first, but it sure is worth the result." [Comment] [Direct Link] 57830

  335. Yes, it is Bleeding Edge Week
    Kae, Center4Edupunx, April 12, 2012
  336. I can't keep up with all the new MOOCs being created, but I can point you to Week 4 of the Virtual Worlds, Games & Education MOOC. [Comment] [Direct Link] 57832

  337. Forget the business case, open online courses are about learning
    Bonnie Stewart, The Guardian, April 16, 2012
  338. Open online courses are covered in the Guardian (I guess we've hit the big time). "In a Google-able culture replete with neo-liberal demands for reform, efficiency, and innovation, Moocs help those of us interested in emergent ideas participate in a public learning experience that is otherwise not really available by conventional means." [Comment] [Direct Link] 57862

  339. Certified Network Teacher
    Various Authors, P2PU, April 17, 2012
  340. Jonas Backelin writes to let me (and you) know that "P2PU is going to launch a promotion of their new courses on 18/4 and I have created a multi-level badges program that will be announced... one task is directly inspired by your assignment in Change11 MOOC." Here's the course: "The challenge 'Certified Networked Teacher' will give you the ability to envision a new future based on the use of web tools in a networked learning scenario. You will then be ready to take on syndicated education in distributed learning environments as an ‘Advanced Networked Teacher’." [Comment] [Direct Link] 57864

  341. Massive Open Online Classes and the Future of EDU
    Seth Odell, Higher Ed Live, April 19, 2012
  342. This looks like a good one; I can't wait to view it when I have the bandwidth. "HackEducation's Audrey Watters and Philipp Schmidt, co-founder of P2PU join us to discuss the ever emerging role of massive open online classes in education. Hyped by many as the torch for democratizing education, we delve into the reality of how MOOCs really work, including varying delivery models, as well as clarifying who their primary users are today." [Comment] [Direct Link] 57884

  343. Coursera Adds Humanities Courses, Raises $16 Million, Strikes Deal with 3 Universities
    Dan Colman, Open Culture, April 23, 2012
  344. So how long before Blackboard buys Coursera (and then claims it invented the MOOC)? Coursera "has added humanities courses to its upcoming fall curriculum — a departure from the MOOC norm of only offering courses in computer science & engineering. Courses include:
    - A History of the World since 1300 (Princeton)
    - Fantasy and Science Fiction: The Human Mind, Our Modern World (Michigan)
    - Greek and Roman Mythology (Penn)
    - Listening to World Music (Penn)
    - Modern & Contemporary American Poetry (Penn) [Comment] [Direct Link] 57948

  345. El algoritmo RSA
    Jorge Ramió Aguirre, Website, April 24, 2012
  346. Spanish language MOOC on cryptography. (I'm still catching up on the emails people have sent me about their MOOCs). "l objetivo de Crypt4you es convertirse en el Aula Virtual de referencia de seguridad de la información en lengua hispana." The course is about the RSA encryption algorithms. [Comment] [Direct Link] 57963

  347. Coursera, the Other Stanford MOOC Startup, Officially Launches with More Poetry Classes, Fewer Robo-Graders
    Audrey Watters, Hack Education, April 25, 2012
  348. I'm running this item just for the headline, which is the most fun headline I've seen this year. But there's also some indication that even the Coursera's Daphne Koller is seeing beyond content and testing: “There’s a growing amount of content out there on the Web,” says Koller, “and so the value proposition for the university is no longer simply getting their content out there. Rather, it’s fostering that personal interaction between faculty and students and students and students.” Promoting this interaction, of course, has been the object of the connectivist MOOCs, and so the Stanford model drifts ever closer to our own, as they gain experience. Here's the Chronicle coverage, which of course does not link to Coursera, the site it's talking about. [Comment] [Direct Link] 57970

  349. 4 Reasons Why the Bonk MOOC is So Interesting
    Curt Bonk, Inside Higher Ed, April 26, 2012
  350. Curt Bonk is offering a MOOC starting in just a few days and has managed to attract the attention of Inside Higher Ed just before it launches. You can find it here (be prepared for a surprise). Here are the 'four reasons':

    • it was designed and is taught by a specialist in course design and how people learn
    • the subject matter matches the delivery method
    • the people who sign up for the course are also those who work in the area
    • the course shows off Blackboard at its best

    Sheesh, until the fourth point, I would have thought the author was describing CCK02 from four years ago. I guess Curt Bonk has better connections with Inside Higher Ed than George Siemens or myself.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 57998

  351. MOOCs: Two Different Approaches to Scale, Access and Experimentation
    Phil Hill, E-Literate, May 1, 2012
  352. There are two types of MOOCs, wreites Phil Hill, the connectivist branch and the Stanford branch. He adds:

    • "The two current branches of MOOCs are different and will not merge – despite the common name, they have different aims and methods. It is a mistake, in my opinion, to overlook the differences.
    • "Both branches are early prototypes or pilots. The future of MOOCs will be based on further developing the concepts and techniques – we should not expect massive adoption until future generations of MOOCs evolve"

    And while the MOOC is not as yet the "answer" to anything in particular, he suggests they will be, as they are merged with either badges or accreditation.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58037

  353. Video Intro for Upcoming MOOC and IU Press on the Event
    Curt Bonk, Travelin Ed Man, May 2, 2012
  354. Intro video for Curt Bonk's 'Blackboard MOOC' (I wonder how much Blackboard itself is putting into this project). The level of support from his home institution makes me envious: "IU has been highly supportive. Last week, there is a university press release as well as an article in the student newspaper. And my instructional systems technology (IST) department had a short online news story as well." Not everybody is enthused, though. A comment to the Inside Higher Edarticle points to "a long list of serious problems with Blackboard Course Sites that render it unusable for a MOOC" - there's no blog subscription options, no profile pages for participants, and no blog comment notifications. As Nancy White says, "the design issue here is designing for a networked experience, not a group experience (which is foundational in a lot of Dr. Bonk's work with a focus on community, etc.) Bb is not network centric." See also Sail's Pedagogy, "blogging within an LMS is just wrong." And Lisa Lane writes, in "Leaving an open online class," that "it's the same old Blackboard, with more white space, nicer fonts and some cool icons."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58046

  355. Harvard and M.I.T. Team Up to Offer Free Online Courses
    Tamar Lewin, New York Times, May 2, 2012
  356. George Siemens - a "a MOOC pioneer who teaches at Athabasca University, a publicly-supported online Canadian university" - is quoted in this New York Times article that describes the rise of MOOCs. It's nice to see someone other than the Stanford professors cited in this context. But the way they phased it raises another thought in my mind - the fact that MOOCs were developed and implemented and proven in public institutions for several years before being adopted by the private sector. I think this happens a lot - but people don't realize it, because the private sector pays a lot more attention to messaging and marketing.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58050

  357. Massive Courses, Massive Data
    Steve Kolowich, Inside Higher Ed, May 3, 2012
  358. One wonders what sort of data Harvard and MIT will collect from their online courses. From the description in the article - "granular data on the activity of students in the edX environment" - it sounds like it will be your typical hit-count data. I think that distributed courses, rather than ones centered on a platform, will produce different types of data. In the meantime, let's not forget that Harvard and MIT are not first in their analysis of MOOC data (indeed, their data does not even exist yet) - there exists a considerable body of work that has simply been ignored by the people who write at Inside Higher Ed.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58059

  359. The Sixty Million Dollar MOOC
    Alan Levine, CogDogBlog, May 4, 2012
  360. "Higher education, learning. A concept barely alive. Gentlemen, we can rebuild it. We have the technology. We have the capability to make the world’s most massive online course. Edx will be that course. better than it was before. Massive. Open. Online."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58066

  361. Selecting meaningful #socialmedia tools for a #MOOC or #PLN
    Inge de Waard, Ignatia Webs, May 4, 2012
  362. Ignatia looks at an array of social media tools and matches them to their best use and implementation. "A big part of setting up an open, online course (e.g. MOOC), or gearing up for a Personal Learning Network (PLN) is the selection of meaning social media tools, "she writes. "In order to get an overview of the big families in social media, I started to make a list for my own comprehension and future selection." See also Where MOOC becomes joint venture. She writes, "there is only one thing left to do before learning/teaching diversity comes down to the one, global, dominant model: getting the diversity of models gathered in a book." I started one here - The MOOC Guide - but haven't really had the chance to flesh it out (if you want to add to it, send me an email).

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58067

  363. More on #BonkOpen and other MOOC-iness
    Nancy White, Full Circle Associates, May 7, 2012
  364. The edublogosphere has fairly erupted with commentary about MOOCs and their ilk following recent groundhaking events. It's more than one person can follow, it seems. But here's a post from Nancy White with links to a number of relevant recent posts. Authors include Lisa Lane, James Moore, Bonnie Stewart, Ignatia and many more.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58080

  365. Summarizing All MOOCs in One Slide: Market, Open and Dewey
    Justin Reich, Education Week, May 9, 2012
  366. Yet another article reminding me that I really ought to update so it reflects today's MOOC environment. Anyhow, this article divides between those MOOCs that try to 'deliver' learning and those (like ours) that focus on the learning experience (aka the 'Dewey' MOOCs). So I'll spend some time on today and maybe it will be useful by the time you read this post. Meanwhile the Chronicle's table of open courses manages to miss our model entirely.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58094

  367. Machines Shouldn’t Grade Student Writing—Yet
    Dana Goldstein, Slate, May 9, 2012
  368. The topic of assessment, and especially computer mediated assessment (CME?), is taking on an new currency. Today's readings contain a sampling that is typical of what I've been seeing in recent weeks. From Slate, for example, we have an article cautioning against machine grading - for now. Tom Hoffman cautions readers of that article about the role of Common Core in automated assessments. Ian Quillen, meanwhile, covers Hewlett's Automated-Essay-Grader contest winners. A company called Intel-Assess is acquired. A Washington Post Blog discusses the arrival of standardized tests in post-secondary education. A company called Study Egg offers video-based quizzes. Harvard Business Review plugs CoursePeer, an automated grading systems. Michael Feldstein analyzes the role of machine learning. And as Ignatia summarizes, "the assistants, professors, and grading algorithms of the richer universities will blast away smaller initiatives that are based on peer knowledge exchange, natural learning and human enrichment."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58096

  369. Emotive Vocabulary in MOOCs: Context & Participant Retention
    Apostolos Koutropoulos,, European Journal of Open, Distance and E-Learning, May 11, 2012
  370. Well, it's a reasonable theory, the idea that you could examine the emotions expressed by people toward an open online course at the start of the course as a way to determine whether they will be one of those who succeeds in the course of one of those who drops out. There is a precedent for this sort of research, but directed toward social construction of knowledge, not social engagement as is being considered here. The MOOC is perfect for this sort of study; after all, some people participate a lot, some people lurk, and some people just disappear. So is there a connection? It turns out - in this study at least - not so much. "Our team was surprised not to find any significant indicators of participation in the emotive vocabulary of participants."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58118

  371. #fslt12 MOOC – Week zero – discussion has started
    Jenny Mackness, Jenny Connected, May 17, 2012
  372. The Change MOOC has come to an end, but if you need your weekly MOOC experience you may want to check out #fslt12 which has just started. "We have set up an Arrivals Lounge  where people can introduce themselves. And there is also a Course Questions forum, where we will try to answer any queries as soon as we can... in  the  Week 0 (Supporting Learning) area of Moodle (which is this run up week to the course), George has posted a great question to get us warmed up – 'What is Learning for you?'"

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58175

  373. MOOCs and the Professoriate
    Kaustuv Basu, Inside Higher Ed, May 23, 2012
  374. Coverage of some resistance being expressed by academics over MOOCs (and in particular, the Thomas Friedman version of MOOCs). Jonathan Rees, for example, writes, "don’t think that your exalted status as a college professor will cause anyone planning to make money off the corpse of your career to lose a wink of sleep." Mark Brown argues, "it’s disgusting to present MOOCs as a solution to the crisis in public funding for higher education." There's a lot more reaction covered in this article, and while I understand the concerns I don't think the academics interviewed have come to grips with the problems inherent in the existing system and how MOOCs (the real kind, not the Friedman kind) were designed to solve them.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58235

  375. MOOCs, Education and The Infinite Hotel
    Gordon Lockhart, Connection not Content, May 28, 2012
  376. It does raise the question of what a 'course' is. Gordon Lockhart writes, "A MOOC isn’t a course of course. Courses are about curricula and the management of time, resources, learners and teachers. A MOOC is Something Else - I think it belongs in the Infinite Hotel and there’s plenty of room there for any number of different types."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58257

  377. How revolutionary are MOOCs and their spin-offs? Some tentative predictions
    Markus Deimann, markusmind, May 28, 2012
  378. Do MOOCs address 'serious learning'? What is 'serious learning'? We write, "You are NOT expected to read and watch everything. Even we, the facilitators, cannot do that. Instead, what you should do is PICK AND CHOOSE content that looks interesting to you and is appropriate for you." Markus Deimann responds, "For me this has more in common with TV-channel switching than with serious learning, which is aimed at a deep understanding. So I think it is important to facilitate deep learning, motivating the student to be persistent in the face of complicated or boring content." I really think this mixes motivation and process. I learned Perl and never took a course in it. Serious? This website is coded in it. Complicated? You bet. But not, according to this account, 'serious'. I can't agree.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58258

  379. The Khan Iceberg
    Will Richardson, Weblogg-Ed, May 30, 2012
  380. It is not a surprise to see increased resistance to things like Khan Academy and the recent MOOCs, as they represent what amounts to wholesale changes in education. But I think it's exactly the wrong thing to be defending the existing model in the belief that this will protect incomes, job security and retirement funds. Yes, there are people out there who are in the process of stealing all three. But the way to respond is to get out in front of this, to be the people promoting wider access to better education, rather than the anchor dragging down the entire enterprise. Remember, they are the reactionaries - as Will Richardson says, "The model is not changing; this is still delivery. What’s changing is the narrow pipe of delivery that schools currently represent." More here, and a debate between myself and Jonathan Rees in the comments here (Rees believes, obviously without evidence, that I see "a new MOOC-y world where today’s adjunct can be tomorrow’s superstar.")

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58268

  381. MOOC Mythbuster – What MOOC’s are and what they aren’t
    Debbie Morrison, online learning insights, May 30, 2012
  382. Useful post that contrasts some of the more hyperbolic statements about MOOCs with things that have actually been written about them by people like me and others who had a hand in developing the concept. "Online learning can be a vehicle for implementing much needed reform in education in order that  K-12, college students and adults have access to educational opportunities that will result in dynamic, skilled and innovative individuals that become life-long learners."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58270

  383. Choose and Embed Social Media in Your MOOC
    inge de Waard, Learning Solutions Magazine, May 31, 2012
  384. Inge de Waard writes a short post to show "how to add meaningful social media tools that engage participants and increase learning in a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course). I’ll give you a look at what is out there and link it with real life implementation examples."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58275

  385. Connectivism in Practice — How to Organize a MOOC
    Unattributed, Peeragogy, May 31, 2012
  386. This article starts off well, but tails off in describing the actual implementation of a MOOC. This I think is characteristic also if the resources it uses (including a number of my own).

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58280

  387. Open Learning Design Studio (OLDS) - Massive Open Online Course (MOOC)
    Gerry McKiernan, Alt-Ed, June 3, 2012
  388. Another MOOC, this one scheduled for August. As documented by Alt-Ed: "Open to individual educators from across the UK HE, FE, and community and skills sectors, the MOOC will aim: to increase the uptake of OERs through embedding the use of curriculum design tools, practices and approaches in individual practice and design team culture; to empower practitioners to become change agents in their local contexts; and to produce a collection of CC-licensed OER resources for wider use after the MOOC ends."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58313

  389. The Elevator Pitch Against Higher Ed (or, Selling Your Startup)
    Bill, Funny Monkey, June 3, 2012
  390. FunnyMonkey touts this as an effective elevator pitch: "The much vaunted American higher education system coasts on the reputation of the top three dozen schools which themselves gain much of their stature simply by excluding 85% of applicants. Most post secondary institutions just don’t add much value and can no longer justify outrageous tuition." There are some good points here, though I am left wondering what "value" it is exactly that is not added (and to what). "Education has been disrupted! Huzzah! Let the VC funds roll in!" But, "the online offering of organizations like K12, Pearson, Khan, etc, aren't particularly innovative from a pedagogical place." One of the things MOOC (the way we're doing it) isn't is a startup. Maybe if we became one we'd become media darlings too.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58315

  391. My #CCK11 Experience: What Learning in a MOOC is Like
    Thomas Jerome Baker, Profesorbaker's Blog: A Bit of Everything, June 4, 2012
  392. I can't that I ever expected someone to create a book out of their MOOC experience, but that's what has happened as Thomas Jerome Baker has documented his CCK11 experience. I would talk more about the contents of the but, but it is priced at $9.99 on Amazon, which is $9.99 more than the course that inspired it.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58322

    Steve Hargadon, Website, June 5, 2012
  394. Brand new website dedicated to MOOCs. Sponsored by Blackboard. " lists your already-created MOOC, or help you create and then list one if you need help. This is a service of Classroom 2.0 and Web 2.0 Labs." In other words it duplicates exactly the function of (which, I confess, I have been lacking in managing).

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58330

  395. Open University announces a Open Learning Design MOOC for autumn 2012
    Rebecca Galley, Cloudworks, June 6, 2012
  396. I might have mentioned this already, but inb the interest of covering my bases, here's the announcement on Cloudworks. "The Open University’s Institute of Educational Technology is leading the first Open Learning Design Studio MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) focusing on the theme of curriculum design with OERs, to be held in Autumn 2012."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58342

  397. Digital Humanities MOOC?
    Rebecca Davis, ThatCampLAC 2012, June 6, 2012
  398. Rebecca Davis is looking for input for a potential digital humanities MOOC. "My colleagues and I at NITLE plan to pilot this idea in the last two weeks of July.  This is your chance to request your choice of topics."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58343

  399. Machinima Open Online Course
    Various Authors, P2PU, June 6, 2012
  400. This Machinima Open Online Course is on right now. "Machinima is a portmanteu of machine and cinema. This two week course will cover basic Machinima creation, copyright and creative commons and will result in the learners participating in the production of a Machinima to be entered in the SIGVE EduMachinina Fest." Via Oh! Virtual Learning. P2PU also has an Arrow of Time Milestones MOOC apparently in development.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58344

  401. What is the theory that underpins our moocs?
    George Siemens, elearnspace, June 6, 2012
  402. George Siemens presents slides and text from a presentation describing eight underlying principles for MOOCs. Among these, he says, MOOC are basdsed on connectivist pedagogy, the idea that knowledge is generative, learner-formed coherence, self-organization and resonance, and autonomous and self-regulated learners. Many of these contrast with the manner in which the big university MOOCDs anre design; as Siemens describes them, "their MOOCs are based on a hub and spoke model: the faculty/knowledge at the centre and the learners are replicators or duplicators of knowledge." He admits that the characterization is a bit unfair - but I would say, it's only a bit unfair, and if I were Siemens I would make the point rather than spend time apologizing for making it. Related tho this (and linking to it) is a post from Audrey Watters on what lies underneath the MOOC.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58350

  403. What’s the “problem” with MOOCs?
    Doug Holton, EdTechDev, June 7, 2012
  404. There's a lot to munch through in this post. Doug Holton begins by listing criticisms of some recent MOOCs and open online learning initiatives, such as Coursera, Khan Academy, and Curt Bonk's MOOC. He traces the problems in these courses to a lack of instructional design. "Teaching," he writes, "should be treated as a design science, more like engineering than just an art or craft that we all think we can intuitively do well." In response to MOOC "purists" who appeal to connection more than content he argues "Connecting” learners to one another or exposing them to content may often not be sufficient to magically cause learning to happen or to cause significant changes in beliefs and practice." In the same vein, "making content 'open' isn’t sufficient to magically cause learning to happen," he argues. learning needs to be situated in practice, problems or authentic experience, he argues, proposing "MOOLEs (massive open online learning experience) instead of MOOCs." I have personally resisted 'designing' MOOCs because that returns us to a centrally-focused provider-defined model of learning, which (to me) is the opposite of what MOOCs are about.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58360

  405. Open content licensing for educators
    Various Authors, WikiEducator, June 8, 2012
  406. The latest version of WikiEducator's open online course is talking registrations (it starts June 20). It has many MOOC-like features, including a microblog aggregator (see lower left of the page). I contributed an introductory video to the first week. The course is very oddly laid out (resources and assignments are listed separately, so (for example) if you're reading week one resources, you won't find my video (which is for some reason a 'signpost' visible only in the header of the assignment page)). Hint: for 'week one' put everything on a 'week one' page. Registration is also awkward - if you click 'register' on the home page you are taken here, which is a page about registration. Don't click on 'Enrol me in this course' - that's just a tiny screenshot from Moodle. You have to go here to create an account in Moodle and then take an extra step to sign in to the course. Hint: give people a way to register directly for the course with a direct link from the home page (or even better, on the home page).

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58365

  407. How Will MOOCs Make Money?
    Steve Kolowich, Inside Higher Ed, June 11, 2012
  408. Interesting examination of how MOOC providers might make money. Suggestions range from using MOOCs to generate leads for education services, for matchmaking students with potential employers, premium content, robust assessment, and the like. I think that in the beginning especially strong revenues will be found from companies and institutions wanting to educate people in a certain way. The existing system of higher education is a major subsidy for business and industry, and as governments pull back, they will have to replace it.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58386

  409. Social Learning Glue
    Graham Attwell, Pontydysgu, June 14, 2012
  410. This is still way too diffocult. Facebook is still a data sink, and Blackboard is a black box. But this slide show gets at some of the mechanics of creating a real course web (and for those of you who love definitions and laws, here's Downes's law of MOOCS: if it isn't a course web, it isn't a MOOC). RSS is of course central, and this presentation uses the way I use IFTTT. Matthew Leingang's presentation is on a post from Graham Attwell.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58427

  411. Making It Count
    Paul Fain , Inside Higher Ed, June 15, 2012
  412. Inside Higher Ed seems to have really taken to MOOCs. Here's another article from them, describing a scenario where people could use MOOCs to earn university credit. It's exactly the same model as the 'logic model' for OER university, and it has as its defining feature a university performing some sort of assessment of the work and granting credit for it.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58433

  413. The future of higher education and other imponderables
    George Siemens, elearnspace, June 16, 2012
  414. George Siemens introduces the next open online course(aka MOOC though some people don't like the term) that we are participating in (by 'we' I mean George and myself, Dave Cormier and Bonnie Stewart, the Gates Foundation, EDUCAUSE, Desire2Learn, UBC, SOLAR, CETI, and a spare kitchen sink we found by the roadside). It will be short and intense, quite unlike our previous effort. George writes, "Today, the university as a system is under the microscope. It is now the entity that we no longer understand. We need to adopt a researcher’s mindset in coming to understand what is happening to higher education and what type of system today’s society needs." Everyone wants disruptive change, he writes, which isn't going to appen in such a large and entrenched system. Maybe so. But for my part, I do intend to be disruptive, and to let the change fall where it may.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58450

  415. Jarl Jonas Director of CourseSites by Blackboard reflects on first MOOC
    Curtis J. Bonk, TravelinEdMan, June 18, 2012
  416. Interview of Jarl Jonas from Blackboard.  Best quote: "We didn’t aim to mimic the MOOCs provided to date, but wanted to create an open opportunity for individuals to learn how they want (i.e., readings vs. live class), interact with whom they want, and choose the tools with which they were most comfortable (i.e., blogs/wikis/discussions.)" Aka: "We didn't aim to mimic the MOOCs provided to date, but to create something just like them." See also the Google+ discussion on the article.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58458

  417. Unabridged Interview on MOOC for Chronicle of Higher Education
    Curtis J. Bonk, TravelinEdMan, June 19, 2012
  418. I don't like Blackboard jumping all over the MOOC meme, but I like Curt Bonk, so it all evens out, I guess. Here is the full uncut interview he gave the Chronicle's Jeffrey R. Young (thinking back - did the Chronicle ever interview us during the five or six MOOCs we did before Curt's?) with candid thoughts about “my typical MOOC day” and other Bonkian insights. Bonk's experience - and his MOOC has endured its share of criticisms - shows just how hard it is to run a good MOOC. It's one thing to run a bunch of videos for an intro course, and quite another to offer what is more like "a summer workshop experience for college instructors." See also his 20 thoughts on types, targets and intents of MOOCs.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58481

  419. Opinion Time! Udacity, Pearson, MOOCs and UVA
    Amanda Krauss, Worst Professor Ever, June 20, 2012
  420. Yet another post complaining about MOOCs (based on the Stanford/Udacity model only). Here's the gist: "there’s basically no direct, individual instruction, evaluation, or  interaction with anyone who knows what they’re doing. Period." Which is to me quite ironic because in our MOOCs the main criticism was that there was too much Downes and not enough other people - participants expected it to be a lot less about the instructors. And as one commenter noted, "many MOOCs focus more on the Open part than the Massive part. Certainly the original ones like DS106 or Connectivism did/do."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58495

  421. Seeking Systemic Change: Higher Education in a Digital, Networked Age
    Mary Grush, Campus Technology, June 20, 2012
  422. George Siemens says it like it is: "Academics are not driving the change bus. Leadership in traditional universities has been grossly negligent in preparing the academy for the economic and technological reality it now faces. They have not developed the systemic capacity of the university to function in a digital, networked age." Related: "We also believe that higher education is on the brink of a transformation now that online delivery has been legitimized by some of the elite institutions."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58506

  423. Power Searching with Google
    Daniel Russell, Google, June 27, 2012
  424. Starting July 10th, Power Searching With Google isn't being called a MOOC (yet) but has many of the hallmarkls of one, including most notably attendance likely in the tens of thousands. There are six classes and three assessments, and you get a certificate for finishing. The course will use familiar Google technologies: Google Groups, Google+, and Hangouts on Air. You use your Google ID (naturally) to sign up.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58543

  425. Bruno: It's OK When Online Courses Are Traditional
    Paul Bruno, This Week in Education, June 29, 2012
  426. Dan Butin offers a criticism of the (commercial mass-market) MOOCs. If MIT had done the job right, "MIT would have solved one of the truly difficult issues of higher education—the interlinkage of quality, accessibility, and cost—by giving any student from anywhere the chance to get any set of baseline knowledge and skills they need." But Paul Bruno isn't too concerned. "I haven't actually seen much research indicating that lectures are especially ineffective for learning. Indeed, some researchers have even found that 'traditional lecture style teaching is associated with significantly higher student achievement' compared to many alternatives," he writes. "Nor do I agree with Butin that it is "sad" that "much of highly prescribed and structured".

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58558

  427. Comparison of MOOCs and MOOC-like initiatives
    Unattributed, MediaSite, June 30, 2012
  428. Why would this list comparing MOOCs and MOOC-like initiatives not even mention the connectivist MOOCs? It's not like they don't know we exist. There's an inherent bias in a lot of the discussion toward US-based and commercial initiatives. Then later we will be told the field was invented by US-based and commercial initiatives.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58563

  429. Games Based Learning MOOC
    Various Authors, Center4Edupunx, July 2, 2012
  430. Here's another MOOC. "The Games-based Learning MOOC begins on July 9, 2012 and will run for 5 weeks
    with a sixth week and optional project in mid-September. The MOOC is under development and for right now we’re asking
    interested participants to go here to register
    ." Topics are as follows:

    • Week 1 Games Based Learning/Game Principles
    • Week 2 Gamification or Behavior Motivation Elements for the Classroom
    • Week 3 Introduction to Alternate Reality Games (ARG)
    • Week 4 Epistemic Games
    • Week 5 Overview of Commercial Off the Shelf Games
    • Week 6 Assessing Student Learning and Data Collection
    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58570

  431. Digital dawn: open online learning is just beginning
    Craig Savage, The Conversation, July 6, 2012
  432. It hadn't really occurred to me, but Australia has been missing in all the MOOC action. Observing that "panic over MOOCs seems to have been a factor in a recent bizarre series of events at the University of Virginia in which the Board fired and then rehired the University President" this article notes that "Deakin University plans to embed MOOCs in their curriculum," according to their Vice Chancellor. That seems to be about it - all the other effort I've seen in the region focuses on things like OERu and its by now quaint logic model.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58597

  433. Open Letter to Canadian Universities
    George Siemens, elearnspace, July 8, 2012
  434. George Siemens fires an open letter at Canadian universities. "Canadian universities are squandering an opportunity to reply meaningfully to Coursera and EDx. I’m aware of at least two major Canadian universities that are negotiating to join Coursera. Why give not develop your own? Why not create an active experiment in a Canadian context that allows you to build your understanding of emerging learning models?" Fair enough, but I think it's rather hopeful to expect change to come out of the university system. But hey, should they change their minds and actually fund an initiative, I would be happy to work on that initiative (nay, to lead it! why be modest?) and develop a truly Canadian approach based on gRSShopper and a PLE and a connectivist model of MOOC.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58606

  435. a MobiMOOC hello!
    Inge de Waard, MobiMOOC, July 10, 2012
  436. Inge de Waard writes, "MobiMOOC is a free, open, online course on mobile learning (mLearning) which will be running between 8 and 30 September 2012. The course wiki is gradually taking shape. Covered mLearning topics: augmented learning, mobile gaming, corporate mLearning, train-the-trainer, building a mLearning curriculum, global mLearning issues, ICT for development, mlearning strategies/pedagogies and we will start with a look at the basics of mLearning including how to set up a mobile learning project. Interested? Join the free course by becoming a member of the MobiMOOC google group(registration point of the course) at"

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58617

  437. Introduction to K-12 Online Learning
    Michael Barbour, Virtual School MOOC, July 10, 2012
  438. This is MOOC being started by Michael Barbour. "This massive online open course (MOOC) provides a broad overview of the field of K-12 online learning, specifically what is currently known based on the research that has been conducted in the field." The MOOC runs 10 September-07 October 2012. Thanks to John Mak for the link.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58618

  439. Courses As Commodities
    Alan Levine, CogDogBlog, July 11, 2012
  440. Alan Levine has a good take on "what are called the “AI-MOOCs” or better, Cathy Finn-Derecki’s delicious acronyum 'EdUCKA'." They are, he writes, "to me, the offering of courses as some sort of product." The criticism is, of course, that while "the focus is on the product the course, the numbers… what part of the educational experience is being left out? It’s the personal attention, the guidance, the social fabric for the students." I think you can push back too far in this direction - the argument begins to sound like the defense of traditional in-class education. Sure, just throwing up some videos and onlize quizzes doesd not constitute education - we all knew that. But what's missing isn't "the personal attention, the guidance" - if you need that, get a dog. Community, interaction, activities, expression - these are what transform content into education, and these are what the connectivist MOOCs add to the mix.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58620

  441. Slouching Towards Bethlehem: Unpacking the MOOC as Buzzword
    Bonnie Stewart, Inside Higher Ed, July 12, 2012
  442. "MOOCs are not any one thing, unless we permit them to be," writes Bonnie Stewart in Inside Higher Ed. "MOOCs will not inherently gut faculty positions in higher ed. MOOCs do not have automation and robot grading built into their conceptual structure."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58629

  443. Why MOOCs Work
    Geoff Cain, Brainstorm in Progress, July 12, 2012
  444. Why do MOOCs (the real MOOCs, not the x-MOOCs) work? Geoff Cain has four reasons:

    • Student motivation - "This is not a problem with MOOCs. Students can be taught motivation. As Siemens puts it, we need to foster autonomous, self-regulated learners."
    • Facilitated connections - "What would happen if the learning materials were in different multiple formats; open, accessible and maybe sometimes asynchronous and the students got to choose which version of the material they used and how they engaged with it?"
    • Self-organization - "discussions took place in a wide variety of fora and then a self- or group appointed "leader" would bring our questions back to the course facilitators for clarification."
    • Content curation - "You would be really surprised at how open people are in your discipline to being a guest in your course via webinar or Skype."

    This is a good list. These are genuine problems facing online learning in general, and the MOOC (if I do say so myself) represents a novel way of addressing each of them.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58630

  445. Is online learning really cracking open the public post-secondary system?
    Tony Bates, Online Learning and Distance Education Resources, July 13, 2012
  446. Tony Bates returns after a month away and jumps into the fray surrounding open learning and impending reform of the post-secondary education system. I like the lessons he draws form his readings:

    • Lesson 1: No president with an activist Board of Governors is now safe if the university does not have a clear institutional strategy for online learning.
    • Lesson 2: MOOCs may be the answer – but what is the question? May there be better solutions to the question?
    • Lesson 3: Governments are increasingly not going to accept the status quo or business as usual.
    • Lesson 4: Prepare and train your faculty to deal with change and innovation in teaching, and in particular for teaching online
    • Lesson 5: If public institutions do not respond effectively to the challenge of change, they will eventually be swept aside by the private sector – and will deserve it.

    Lesson 1 is a bit of a surprise but I think we have been writing about the rest for some time now (I wonder whether Bates has managed to read my ebook - I was hoping he might review it, but maybe not).

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58642

  447. Free Online Sustainability Course
    Unattributed, University of Illinois, July 13, 2012
  448. Another in the list of open online courses being offered this fall: "'Sustainability: a global introduction' examines the global forces that will determine our sustainable future... The course is completely free, and delivered online. There will be a mixture of readings, short lectures, quizzes, collaborative projects and discussions." The website says that this is the first ever MOOC on sustainability - I don't know, it could be.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58644

  449. Les Cours En Ligne Ouverts et Massifs
    Stephen Downes, YouTube, July 17, 2012
  450. I'm hoping my French was OK for this video (various people on Twitter told me it was) as I attempt to summarize the objective of a MOOC and how to succeed as part of an introduction for a French-language MOOC being offered through this web site. I don't speak enough French day-to-day (especially now that funding for lessons has disappeared) and this was good practice. One person suggested on Twitter "I wouldn't use massif for a course, perhaps cours en ligne ouverts et de grande envergure." That would also get around my difficulties with the plural of massif. :)

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58656

  451. Into the Fray
    Steve Kolowich, Inside Higher Ed, July 17, 2012
  452. So this has been all over the news today - "A dozen more universities have signed partnerships with Coursera, a company that provides hosting services for massively open online courses (MOOCs)." These include the California Institute of Technology, Duke University, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Georgia Institute of Technology, Johns Hopkins University, Rice University, Edinburgh, Illinois, Toronto and Washington.

    I gave my own reaction in this audio interview for Converge magazine. I note that, in addition to content, universities provide two key elements: first, practice and activities in the domain in question; and second, immersion into a community of practitioners associated with that domain. It is the former that characterizes the x-MOOCs (like Coursera) and the latter that characterizes c-MOOCs (like CCK08). But eventually the models will merge, at which point we see significant pressure on the traditional university model (but a great deal more access for individual learners).

    Seb Schmoller writes: "Don't be put off by the slightly stodgy tone in parts of this just-released promotional video from the University of Edinburgh about Instead, listen carefully to what Stanford's Daphne Koller has to say about scale and formative assessment in Coursera's new "breed" of free on-line courses, as well as to the comments from Vice-Principal Jeff Haywood about Edinburgh University's approach to quality assurance. [See also coverage by BBC, Guardian, The Times Higher.]" Meanwhile, Mark Guzdial passes along the email sent to all staff at Georgia Tech last night.

    Related: this interview with Sebastian Thrun and David Evans called Udacity: Teaching Online, an online university that came about almost by chance. Lynn Zimmermann summarizes: "William Bennet, in an interview with Thrun for CNN, “asked Thrun whether his enterprise and others like it will be the end of higher education as we know it — exclusive enclaves for a limited number of students at high tuitions? I think it’s the beginning of higher education, Thrun replied. It’s the beginning of higher education for everybody." Exactly - that's the point of the whole exercise (for me, at least).

    Enclosure: files/audio/TanyaRoscorlaConverge.mp3 Size: 10190229 bytes, type: audio/mpeg [Comment] [Direct Link] 58657

  453. The VLE vs. PLE debate
    Gráinne Conole,, July 17, 2012
  454. Conole discusses the PLE vs VLE (or LMS) debate of which my recent video was a part. There are additional videos including contributions from Helen Keegan, Jane Challinor, Steve Wheeler, Christina Costa, Joyce Seitzinger, Ilene Dawn Alexander, Chahira Nouhira and Dave Cormier. Conole writes, "the diagram shows how different learning scenarios can be mapped against two dimensions (formal vs. informal learning and VLEs vs. PLEs). So a traditional accredited course delivered through a VLE sits on the botton right, learners can augment that with study guides and materials provided by the institution in the VLE (bottom left). Many teachers also incorporate other tools, outwith the VLE (top right). Finally, something like a MOOC is located on the top left of the diagram."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58659

  455. Without Credit
    Steve Kolowich , Inside Higher Ed, July 18, 2012
  456. We're seeing more of this: "The University of Washington plans to offer 'enhanced' versions of the massive open online courses (MOOCs) it will develop through a partnership with Coursera... The "enhanced" versions will add a number of features designed to make them more closely resemble conventional online courses -- including more assessments, direct interaction with instructors, and the opportunity to earn a certificate that hypothetically could be redeemed for course credit. But the “enhanced” MOOCs will also come with price tags and enrollment caps." To be clear: hese are no longer MOOCs, even by today's expanded definition of the term. They are simply online courses with the usual restrictions on access imposed by universities.

    Meanwhile, Coursera's courses may be in some fashion 'open', but its materials certainly aren't. As Wayne Mackintosh comments on a mailing list: "Coursera is not an OER initiative. The materials are made available under a custom copyright license which do not meet the requirements for OER. Quoting from Coursera's terms of service: 'Coursera grants you a personal, non-exclusive, non-transferable license to access and use the Sites. You may download material from the Sites only for your own personal, non-commercial use. You may not otherwise copy, reproduce, retransmit, distribute, publish, commercially exploit or otherwise transfer any material, nor may you modify or create derivatives works of the material.'"

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58661

  457. Assembly Line
    Paul Fain, Inside Higher Ed, July 18, 2012
  458. While a lot of attention has been paid to MOOCs, it is definitely worth paying close attention to another type of program, the 'stackable certificate' program developed by the manufacturing industry. The main idea of the program is that students can complete it while employed, allowing them to try out working in the sector - usually thought of as undesirable employment - without having to invest in a full education ahead of time. In addition to the usual degrees, the program offers intermediary 'certificates' that can be assembled over time in support of a degree.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58662

  459. Universities Reshaping Education on the Web
    Tamar Lewin, New York Times, July 18, 2012
  460. Ongoing coverage of the MOOC revolution "This is the tsunami," said Richard A. DeMillo, the director of the Center for 21st Century Universities at Georgia Tech. "It’s all so new that everyone’s feeling their way around, but the potential upside for this experiment is so big that it’s hard for me to imagine any large research university that wouldn’t want to be involved." Remember when that was a term used only on this blog and a couple others, and nobody imagined it would be in the New York Times? See also more from Audrey Watters, the Chronicle, the Globe and Mail and this from TED. Image from CogDogBlog.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58663

  461. Massive online learning and the unbundling of undergraduate education
    Benjamin Lima, Weblog, July 19, 2012
  462. The secondary wave of interest in massive open online learning is now upon is, with the education blog commenators reacting to the spate of news stories recently following Coursera's expansion. We have for example this post on the 'unbundling' of education that the MOOC is supposed to represent. "This unbundling will happen in three ways: for the whole college education, for the individual course, and for the way that college is paid for." Of course, proposnents of online learning have talked of unbundling for decades; that was one of the major features of my 1998 'Future' paper and of course of David Noble's criticism of digital diploma mills in the 1990s. So, no, unbundling is not what MOOCs are all about, but observers could be forgiven for noticing that this is one aspect of them.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58671

  463. Massively Open Online Courses Are 'Here to Stay'
    Tanya Roscorla, Converge, July 20, 2012
  464. As a terminology update, I am now referring to the MOOCs offered by Coursera, Udemy and MITx (among others) as xMOOCs, to be compared with cMOOCs, which is what we offer in our connectivist classes. This article compares the emergence of xMOOCs with the model previously established by cMOOCs. While they have differing approaches, both types orf MOOC represent a permanent departure from traditional learning, online or otherwise. "[Tuesday's] announcement is a pretty loud call to action for other universities," said Jonathan Becker, assistant professor of educational leadership at Virginia Commonwealth University. "What it mostly does is it legitimizes these kinds of courses."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58676

  465. Even MORE MOOC MOOC MOOC! Chronicle article explains the business model
    Steve Kraus,, July 20, 2012
  466. Steve Kraus summarizes an article in the Chronicle describing the business model of a MOOc startup: "it seems to me that each of these business plans depends on the rest of the business world decides that it is going to validate and/or accept MOOCs as a legitimate educational/certifying enterprise." As well, we have the idea to sell quality courses to businesses or community colleges, though "'training' is not the sort of thing that elite institutions do," and also, 'there’s already a large enterprise doing this at community colleges and universities alike. It’s called “the textbook industry.'" My own take is a bit different. I think the idea is to create a place where there are a lot of people - the online learning environment. Once you have a lot of people collected anywhere, you can start selling stuff to them - everything from premium content to online conferences to teddy bears. I know, it's hard to get past the business models where the selling of an education is central, but try.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58678

  467. No such thing as a free MOOC
    Jeff Haywood, JISC, July 21, 2012
  468. Jeff Haywood from the University of Edinburgh explains some of the thinking being their decision to join the Coursera MOOC juggernaut. "it isn’t cheap for the typical university course to ‘go MOOC’. On the other hand, no knowledge is free and as we wish to explore this space, we feel the return will be worthwhile to us, and to those who take our MOOCs." Paul Left picks up this thread, questioning the sustainability models for MOOCs. "Because they are unlikely to incorporate a high level of learner support and rigorous assessment, they will not be appropriate for all students in all contexts. They may used to provide a ‘taster’ as a marketing exercise, but this involves applying a business model which may not be appropriate."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58686

  469. CMC11_MOOC
    CBlissMath, YouTube, July 23, 2012
  470. Short graphic video, "The evolution of the social network in the CMC11 MOOC is depicted as a dynamic graph using Gephi software ( Each person is depicted as a node and interaction between the node is represented by a link. This data set only includes Tweets containing the #cmc11 hashtag, blog posts and Facebook wall posts made from Aug - Dec 2011."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58693

  471. Good bye #opco12 and welcome #opco13
    Sylvia Mössinger, Sylvia's Blog, July 23, 2012
  472. Jochen Robes wrote to me by email, "Here comes an another example of an c-MOOC. We just finished our opco12 (Open Course 2012, with 1451 participants, and although course site and discussions are mainly in German, we got this wonderful movie from Sylvia Mössinger, which provides an excellent overview of this MOOC - in English." My understanding of German is of course minimal, so I couldn't enjoy the MOOC itself, but it's nice to have an overview.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58694

  473. Massive MOOC Dropouts: Are We Really Okay With That?
    Audrey Watters, Hack Education, July 24, 2012
  474. Audrey Watters, like other critics before her, takes MOOCs to task for their high drop-out rate. But let's keep this firmly in perspective. If people quit work, moved to a new city, invested thousands of dollars to pay tuition, bought books and then attended a class, then yes, I would be concerned about high rates of drop-outs. But if a person fills in a form, reads a few posts, and perhaps offers up a comment, then the drop-out rate isn't anything like the same sort of problem.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58698

  475. Global MOOCs, Enhanced Media and The Media Psychology Effect
    Bernard Luskin, Psychology Today, July 24, 2012
  476. I think the diffusion of the 'MOOC' phenomenon through traditional media is worthy of a dissertation. Here we have a column from Psychology Today in which a former president of Mind Extension University argues that he was essentially the originator of the MOOC. MEU was a "basic cable television network devoted to interactive distance learning." Luskin writes, "At MEU we were criticized for 'MOOC-ing' a history course offered by then Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich. Offering this history program as a course to thousands created a firestorm of controversy and I had to affirm our first amendment rights and Glenn Jones was called to testify before Congress." I would take the time to write to them that simply broadcasting some content doesn't count as a MOOC (otherwise the Academy Awards would be a MOOC) but it's not worth the time.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58700

  477. Universities on the Defensive: What is it we do
    Mark Guzdial, Computing Education Blog, July 25, 2012
  478. Good questions: "Are Universities under attack?  De-funding is a form of attack.  Why do we have universities, then? What do Universities exist for?  Why did we collectively decide not to fund education?  Maybe decision makers don’t understand what we do.  And the question at hand: do MOOCs replace what we do?"

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58718

  479. Four Barriers That MOOCs Must Overcome To Build a Sustainable Model
    Phil Hill, e-Literate, July 25, 2012
  480. The barriers, Phil Hill tells us, are as follows:

    • Developing revenue models to make the concept self-sustaining;
    • Delivering valuable signifiers of completion such as credentials, badges or acceptance into accredited programs;
    • Providing an experience and perceived value that enables higher course completion rates (most today have less than 10% of registered students actually completing the course); and
    • Authenticating students in a manner to satisfy accrediting institutions or hiring companies that the student identify is actually known.

    What I read from this is that in order to be successful, MOOCs need to be like traditional learning. But what if they don't? What if it's traditional learning that needs to change:

    • to get past needing commercial model? (inexpensive education could be publicly funded!),
    • to get past certificates or degrees (data-mining a person's record tells us everything we need to know),
    • to get past completion anxiety (go in, get what you need, get out; programs are for computers, courses are for horses)
    • and to get past fingerprinting and identification cards (ID is properly a government's responsibility, not a university's).
    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58720

  481. Ten Innovations
    Graham Attwell, Pontydysgu, July 26, 2012
  482. From Graham Attwell a few days ago: "The UK Open University have published a “New report from the Open University on ten innovations in teaching, learning and assessment for an interactive world”. It covers ten such innovations:

    • Assessment for learning
    • Badges to accredit learning
    • Learning analytics
    • MOOCs
    • New pedagogy for e-books
    • Personal inquiry learning
    • Publisher led mini-courses
    • Rebirth of academic publishing
    • Rhizomatic learning
    • Seamless learning

    Read the report here.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58733

  483. Personal Learning Environments: Context is King!
    Graham Attwell, Pontydysgu, July 26, 2012
  484. In all the fuss about MOOCs the topic of personal learning environments seems to be totally forgotten. I haven't forgotten them, though - neither has Graham Attwell. "Where as before we had many discussions about what a PLE might look like, there were now many examples of applications supporting PLEs, ranging from mash ups to Cloud services to institutional provision. Thus the focus shifted to the different contexts in which learning takes place and to pedagogic processed, in particular how to support learners in developing their learning through a PLE."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58734

  485. I’ve been in this really good MOOC for the past 20 years, it called “The Internet.”
    Patrick Masson, Patrick Masson, August 1, 2012
  486. I've heard people react to the concept of the personal learning environment by saying "my browser is my personal learning environment". So I'm not surprised to hear someone now say "the internet is my MOOC". And I am forced to ask - which part of the internet? The subscription paywalls keeping people out of news sites? The whole bit where the RIAA sued its customers for downloading music? The unrestrained (and vile) comments on YouTube videos? Phishing attacks? Distributed denial of service? Closed-door learning management systems? Or - is it actually a subset of information and communications technologies, definable by being education focused, distributive and participatory in nature, free, and open? Oh - that internet.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58754

  487. Camp Magic Macguffin By the Numbers
    Alan Levine, CogDogBlog, August 1, 2012
  488. Nice set of posts wrapping up the summer ds106 course taught by Jim Groom, Alan Levine, and several other reprobates. It wasn't huge by Stanford-AI standards, but it was still pretty large (which makes me wonder - I wonder what the enrolment numbers are for all Coursera and Udemy's new MOOCs are - shouldn't we be seeing some figures?).

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58755

  489. Coursera Course Catalog
    Unattributed, Gas station without pumps, August 1, 2012
  490. This seems right: "Coursera, Udacity, and other MOOC providers are riding a wave of venture capital, but I’ve yet to hear a coherent business plan from any of them.  At some point the capital will run out, and unless some way of paying the developers and maintainers is found (Coursera has 20 people on their “team page”), the companies will collapse. I suggest that people who want to participate in one of the MOOCs do so in the next year, because it is not clear whether the idea will find a way to become self-sustaining or not.  Right now, the courses are free because they are heavily subsidized.  That subsidy is unlike to last long."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58757

  491. 20 questions (and answers) about MOOCs
    Dave Cormier, Dave’s Educational Blog, August 1, 2012
  492. Dave Cormier offers this light but insightful discussion of MOOCs. One of thye things I like about Dave's approach is that he gets the way MOOCs refocus learning, and doesn't try to equivocate his way around that. I can imagine that some people might answer a question like "is it possible to conduct a MOOC that includes rigour" by talking about graded assignments and what-not, but Cormier refuses to bite. He writes, "The rigour is not the responsibility of the MOOC but of the learner. If the learner needs help to apply rigour to their MOOC experience, they might find it by finding a community that could provide it or working with a professional of somekind (professor, consultant, tutor)." If you want a traditional learning experience, then go look fgor a traditional learning experience. Because this isn't that.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58760

  493. Innovating Pedagogy
    Derek Wenmoth, Derek's Blog, August 1, 2012
  494. Interesting stuff. I haven't read it yet, but I will. Derek Wenmoth summarizes:

    1. Personal inquiry learning  - Learning through collaborative inquiry and active investigation
    2. Seamless learning  - Connecting learning across settings, technologies and activities
    3. MOOCs - Massive open online courses
    4. Assessment for learning  - Assessment that supports the learning process through diagnostic feedback
    5. New pedagogy for e-books - Innovative ways of teaching and learning with next-generation e-books
    6. Publisher-led short courses - Publishers producing commercial short courses for leisure and professional development
    7. Badges to accredit learning  - Open framework for gaining recognition of skills and achievements
    8. Rebirth of academic publishing  - New forms of open scholarly publishing 
    9. Learning analytics - Data-driven analysis of learning activities and environments
    10. Rhizomatic learning - Knowledge constructed by self-aware communities adapting to environmental conditions
    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58761

  495. The Online Pecking Order
    Steve Kolowich, Inside Higher Ed, August 2, 2012
  496. 2012-08-02Article overviewing institutional responses to MOOCs, including the possibility of institutions offering credit for work done in MOOCs elsewhere. "At this point, converting MOOCs to credit might seem more trouble than it is worth, says Garrett, the Eduventures analyst. 'If you have to jump through an extra four hoops … the cost-benefit analysis starts to become difficult,' he says. 'It just seems rather longwinded and therefore not as appealing.'"

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58764

  497. What’s right and what’s wrong about Coursera-style MOOCs
    Tony Bates, online learning & distance education resources, August 6, 2012
  498. Tony Bates summarizes and criticizes the vision of MOOCs as illustrated in this TED video by Coursera co-founder Daphne Koller. I think Bates makes some good points, but also misses a bit. Here's the good point: the myth that MOOCs (as offered by Stanford and MIT) increase access to education. As Bates notes, first, large online universities are already opening access at least as much as these MOOCs are, and second, these MOOCs are not actually granting credentials. But there is a miss, and this is it: the need to ignite a student's creativity "requires the presence of a teacher, either in the class or online." First of all, none of these MOOCs is without a teacher, though in the Coursera MOOCs the teacher is somewhat distant. But second, what makes the Canadian-style MOOCs scalable is that teaching presence isn't generated by direct teacher-to-student interactions, but rather, by (mostly) student-to-student interactions. The model offered by c-MOOCs isn't "sitting at the foot of the master", it's more akin to a self-organizing community of inquiry.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58777

  499. Do cellphones mske students smarter?
    Misty Harris,, August 10, 2012
  500. This article reports on "a survey released Thursday [that] shows more than half of Canadians – 56 per cent – agree that the mobile devices are an 'invaluable tool' for students, while fully two-thirds see smartphones as a way for students to conduct online research any time, anywhere." One person refers in the article to a class of 1400 students - if that's not a typo the this in-person class is in MOOC territory - minus the 'open' bit of course.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58790

  501. Why Online Education Won't Replace College—Yet
    David Youngberg, Chronicle of Higher Education, August 13, 2012
  502. Without further ado, here are the reasons, according to the Chronicle's David Youngberg:

    • it's too easy to cheat
    • star students can't shine
    • employers avoid weird people (he writes: "Getting an unconventional degree suggests you're probably one of the usurpers who are more trouble than they are worth. MOOCs are the nose rings of higher education.")
    • computers can't grade everything
    • money can't substitute for ability

    Youngberg writes, "If only one or two of these issues existed, the days of higher education as we know it would be numbered." In fact, none of these are genuine issues, as they are rooted in perception rather than any fact. If you get past a vision of the world where students compete with each other through grades then you see a world in which a MOOC is normal and acceptable, as students participate in online projectys that reflect their true abilities, creating portfolios than can be judged with much more fine-graded nuance than opaque grading systems.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58801

  503. Don’t wait for permission
    Tim Bush, The UK Schools Blog, August 13, 2012
  504. Calling MOOCs "too expensive", Ben Betts touts a new collaborative learning platform, Curatr and a new method, The Collaborative Learning Cycle. According to the website, "Curatr's Social Learning platform is a fraction of the cost when compared to developing hours of E-learning Courseware. And it is more effective, engaging and enjoyable to boot!" Basically, Curatr is a learning object browsing system (yes, it actually uses the word 'learning object'?) which allows instructors to feed contents into a course; users gain points by viewing the material;s and attempting to 'level up'. Yes, it's all very derivative - but that doesn't make nit wrong, per se. Betts argues, "I think adaptive learning as a trend is probably helping students. Systems like Knewton and Grockit are very clever and are starting to do the job of one-to-one tutors. But they remain expensive to build and maintain."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58803

  505. A Sign of How MOOCs Will Impact Colleges
    Jim Shimabukuro, educational rechnology & change, August 13, 2012
  506. Classic MOOC discourse. "My intention when signing up for this type of free, online learning was to support my own professional development and expose myself to new learning concepts." Jim Shimabukuro writes, "There it is. So simple. So easy to miss. A teacher who is open to possibilities, who is looking at what is and what can be rather than what was." Yeah. That kind of an education.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58809

  507. Coursera Hits 1 Million Students, With Udacity Close Behind
    Jeffrey R. Young, Chronicle of Higher Education, August 13, 2012
  508. Not that we're keeping track of this sort of thing. But before people get excited by these numbers, let me point out that having huge centralized providers is a weakness, not a strength. It's easy to build a platform and market it to people; companies have been doing that since the early days of the internet. It's hard to put a learning and networking tool into the hands of the people. This is such a challenging idea that my employers (not to mention most of the rest of the world) cannot even grasp it. When I think 'MOOC' I am thinking "individual people nwith their own piece of a learning network", not signups on a web form. But hey, signups are easy to count; that's hpow you get the millions of dollars of seed funding.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58810

  509. Riding the MOOC Wave
    Steve Kolowich, Inside Higher Ed, August 17, 2012
  510. "It is certainly naïve," wrote Ellen Wagner in an email, "And opportunistic." She was responding to a query about World Education University, which "will forever alter the landscape of post-secondary education," according to its founder, "by offering free courses online, Hines is now in charge of the personal information of about 50,000 prospective students and more than $1 million in seed funding." We meanwhile are working with 49 cents of funding, a wing, and a prayer. I won't ask for millions in funding (I already did that, and nobody volunteered) but I will wonder out loud how they manage it. Is there some secret society?

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58829

  511. My Response to an Ill-informed Attack on Distance Learning
    Heather M. Ross, McToonish, August 20, 2012
  512. I read this post in the Globe and Mail and just rolled my eyes. There goes the traditiomnal press again, I thought, completely mirepresenting the domain for cheap jorunalistic points. was good enough to actually analyze the article. "Orwin manages to slag those not taking “real university”  or  distance education courses, and fails to realize the demographics of most non-MOOC distance education students."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58899

  513. Free Online Course Will Rely on Multiple Sites
    Tamar Lewin, New York Times, August 21, 2012
  514. The New York Times covers a new type of MOOC that looks a lot more like the connectivist MOOCs. "The new course, “A Gentle Introduction to Python,” will blend content from M.I.T.’s OpenCourseWare, instant-feedback exercises and quizzes from Codecademy, and study groups organized by OpenStudy, and will be coordinated through an e-mail list operated by Peer 2 Peer University."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58902

  515. The dilemma of open courses in an Australian university
    David T. Jones, The Weblog of (a) David Jones, August 22, 2012
  516. David Jones is declaring the MOOC a fad and adding that he developed his first open online course in 1996. Here it is. Yes, fine, and here is my open online course from 1996. Here's my fallacies course from 1995. And here is Patrick Crispen's 1994 email-based "Internet Roadmap" course, which infleunced me a lot. But simply opening a course online does not create a MOOC. What makes a MOOC is the way it is designed - it supports thousands of users that fully interact because it is distributed. It's not located in just one place, it is located in many places. In fact, even if you removed the central course page, you should still be able to follow the course online by following and being a part of the exchanges of resources and interactions among the participants. A MOOC is a web, not a website.  The core of the MOOC is the gRSShopper aggregation engine, and that's what made a MOOC possible. That's why we claim to have developed the MOOC, rather than crediting people like Couros of Wiley - or, for that matter, Jones, or earlier incarnations of ourselves.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58911

  517. Three Kinds of MOOCs
    Lisa M. Lane, Lisa's (Online) Teaching Blog, August 22, 2012
  518. Lisa Lane has come up with a list of three types of MOOCs - 'network based', as characterized by the connectivist MOOCs, task-based, as characterized by Jim Groom's ds106 courses, and content-based, such as the Stanford AI course. It's a pretty good list - I don't think the cleave between network-based and task-based is so large (we have continually talked in our MOOCs about how t add a greater task component to the network structure) but I can certainly see the thinking behind it. See also Audrey Matters, The Mechanical MOOC.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58913

  519. MOOC pedagogy: the challenges of developing for Coursera
    Jeremy Knox, Sian Bayne, Hamish MacLeod, Jen Ross and Christine Sinclair, Association for Learning Technology Newsletter, August 24, 2012
  520. Interesting post on the challenges of building a MOOC in the Coursera model, authored from the perspective of the University of Edinburgh, which recently signed up. Coursera courses are designed to rigorously emulate exiusting academic practice, focusing on coursework and cointent, and elevating the status of the professor. Rather than promote engagement, Coursera seems to move away from it; "Coursera themselves recommend an approach that borders on course automation." So why do it? "The University of Edinburgh’s partnership with Coursera presents us with an opportunity to research the new and sometimes uncomfortable territory that the MOOC foregrounds." I think that's a goo reason. I may not agree with the Coursera approach, but it would be folly to dismiss it without proper study.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58918

  521. Tent
    Ben Werdmuller, Benwerd, August 24, 2012
  522. This is interesting. Benwerd comments, "Tent appeared out of the blue today: a protocol and reference server implementation for individual-to-individual distributed social networking. Or to put it another way, Tent is a way to host your own social data – posting and reading from as many apps as you want. Here’s their announcement, and here’s the GitHub repository." This is exactly what we need. Here are the major points of the Tent manifesto:

    • Every user has the right to freedom of expression.
    • Every user has the right to control their own data.
    • Every user has the right to choose and change their social services providers.

    And this (from the Tent page) is key to me: "Tent is decentralized, not federated or centralized. Any Tent server can connect to any other Tent server. All features are available to any server as first-class citizens. Anyone can host their own Tent server." This is what I have been trying to build with MOOCs and ed tech and the rest of it (it is almost impossible to get any level of corporate or institutional support for the concept, naturally).

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58919

  523. Home About Computing Education Blog Proposal in Texas to move higher ed classes to MOOCs
    Mark Guzdial, Computing Education Blog, August 27, 2012
  524. Mark Guzdial comments, "Admittedly, this is Texas, whose state Republican platform recently recommended no teaching of higher-order thinking skills or critical thinking skills.  It may be an outlier. It may also be a leading indicator.  The Houston Chronicle has published an op-ed which proposes replacing more university courses with MOOCs." Via Texas can cut down on the cost of higher education – Houston Chronicle. I have it in mind to offer a MOOC sometime late in 2012 or 2013 on reasoning and critical thinking - an update and rewrite of the Critical Literacies MOOC we ran a couple of years ago. Anyhow, on the story, Mike Byrne notes, in the comments, "the op-ed in the Chronicle comes from the 'Center for College Affordability and Productivity,' an organization that expressly wants to mitigate 'the burden that colleges impose on society.' Warning bells there, at least for me. You can read a more complete version of their vision (which says nothing specifically about Texas)." But you know, I'm of two minds. I really dislike the attack on the school and university system being mounted by such organizations. But I also really dislike the almost total indifference to public good being demonstrated by these same school and university systems, especially the ones catering to the more affluent sectors of society.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58928

  525. Ed Startup
    David Wiley, Richard Culatta, Todd Manwaring, and Aaron Miller, Website, August 28, 2012
  526. Just launched, a MOOC called Ed Startup. "This is a course about bridging the gap between theory and practice. As you participate in EdStartup, you’ll learn how to identify and analyze meaningful problems, find solutions to those problems, and package and distribute those solutions in a self-sustaining way that will bless the lives of students, teachers, parents, and others for years to come." See also Audrey Watters. Also, if you don't feel like going through the whole course sign-up process, you can read the whole course in one 16-page PDF. Here's David Wiley's video intro. And an intro post. Here's my own short video intro (I'm not sure how involved I'll be in the course but it's nice to do at least one thing). Also a short video on tagging blog posts.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58935

  527. The Problems with Coursera's Peer Assessments
    Audrey Watters, Hack Education, August 28, 2012
  528. Coursera plans to handle 'soft' courses, such as those in the humanities, using peer assessment. Research shows peer assessments result in reliable grading. But as noted here, "peer assessment in a class of thirty is very different than peer assessment in a class of several thousand." The account posted by Laura Gibbs is especially telling. "There is going to be a whole range of feedback, from the very zealous people who give feedback longer than the essay itself, to the grammar police (yes, they are everywhere), to the ill-informed grammar police, and on down to the 'good job!' people with their two-word comments, and finally the people who commented not in English or who offered incomprehensible comments that had been translated by Google Translate." Which just tells me that free-form 'pretend you are a teacher' peer feedback isn't going to work for MOOCs.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58936

  529. Designing a Learning Design MOOC
    Gráinne Conole,, August 28, 2012
  530. Gráinne Conole writes, "I am very excited to be part of a team developing a Learning Design Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), which will be delivered in October 2012." I will refrain from saying that this is a bit of a contradiction, at least, I'll refrain until I see the result. :)

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58938

  531. The MOOC Debate
    Graham Attwell, Pontydysgu, August 30, 2012
  532. Graham Attwell summarizes the debate around MOOCs taking place in academic right now. "I don’t agree with Nellie Deutsch’s assertion that the attitude the elite universities are choosing to take is 'if you can’t join them, break them'," he writes. "Instead I think they are trying to take what is clearly a successful and ground breaking innovation and trying to mold it to fit their own pedagogic and business models." True.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58954

  533. Newt and a MOOC
    Paul Fain, Inside Higher Ed, August 31, 2012
  534. Almost as strange as debating an empty chair, Kaplan Education (owner of the Washington Post) made its allegiances clear this week as it engaged Newt Gingrich to launch its new KAPxplatform by "teaching a course" from the Republican National Convention. "The company’s plan is to market KAPx schools, businesses and other organizations, so they can get up and running with what Kaplan describes as a nimble, sophisticated MOOC platform, without having to do the heavy lifting themselves."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58956

  535. Designing and Running a MOOC
    George Siemens, Slideshare, September 5, 2012
  536. A light presentation from George Siemens outline the nature and history of MOOCs before outlining in nine easy steps how to build a MOOC of your own. I notice that the advertisements on Slideshare are getting more intrusive. Related: a diagram from Mark Smithers on the history and nature of MOOCs.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58988

  537. Caught between a MOOC and a hard place
    Jenny Mackness, Jenny Connected, September 5, 2012
  538. There has always been quite a bit of push for us to structure our own MOOCs in a more rigid and pedagogically sound manner - people complained of drifting, of lacking guidance, even of not feeling welcomed and personally connected. So it wasn't a surprise to me to see a MOOC such as Lisa M. Lane's Pedagogy First Programme come along with that more rigid structure. It's designed to ease online novices into the process of teaching online, and so (the argument goes) a greater structure is required. The reactions, though, are a bit surprising. There is, for example, this post from Jenny Mackness expressing her difficulties with the concept. It's open, but "not 'open' enough to cope with the diversity of opinions presented by a diverse mix of novices and experienced online learners." Then there's Alan Levine, who questions the concept itself. "I am not sure people should not be teaching online without some level of basic experience being and doing online," he writes.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58989

  539. MOOCs' Little Brother
    Steve Kolowich, Inside Higher Ed, September 6, 2012
  540. I'm not sure how you can reconcile the concept of 'open' and 'capped at five people' but that's what the University of Maine at Presque Isle is doing with it's LOOC - 'Little Open Online Course'. "Students are not paying, but they are getting the full experience," says university provost Michael Sonntag. "If they want to write every paper and take every test, our faculty members have agreed to give them feedback.”

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58990

  541. Harvard and MIT online courses get 'real world' exams
    Sean Coughlan, BBC News, September 6, 2012
  542. This should surprise nobody. From the BBC: "Students taking online courses from prestigious US universities will be able to take final exams in a global network of invigilated test centres." The online tests will be invigilated and the centres wll authenticate the identities of test-takers. This - rather than any story about selling content or data - is the the monetization strategy end-game for MOOCs (though no doubt with the rise of test centres will come the rise of private tutoring). For the record, I predicted this development in my 1998 paper The Future of Online Learning, here.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58994

  543. MOOCing On Site
    Steve Kolowich, Inside Higher Ed, September 7, 2012
  544. Another MOOC platform vendor has signed a deal to support in-person testing. "There’s been a lot of talk about how the whole online methodology is not able to verify identification,” said Anant Agarwal, the president of edX, in a conference call with reporters on Thursday. "This will take online learning to a next level," he said. According to the article, "students who pass exams at a Pearson testing center will be given a certificate that notes that their final exam was proctored." The focus is on university courses, but the MOOC+test approach will be a major play in corporate and compliance learning. Hence, for example, we see companies like Thompson expand compliance training for banking, brokerage and securities firms, and Wolseley focus on its line of customer service training courses developed with suppliers including Ideal Standard, Worcester Bosch, Honeywell and Polypipe. Even companies like Papa Johns are adopting the new approach to enable staff to complete the Food Safety Level 2 certification. Meanwhile, the Chronicle reports that Colorado State University will grant credit to students who complete a Udacity course and pass the test.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 58996

  545. What is a MOOC? The Canadian Connection
    Jamie, Thoughtstream Blog, September 10, 2012
  546. A CBC broadcast looking at MOOCs in general and the Canadian connection in particular created a flurry of registrations for both and this over the weekend. This post embeds the full-length broadcast along with some commentary. It refers to George Siemen's book, Knowing Knowledge, available online, but unfortunately not my own ebooks. "So, what does this have to do with K-12? Everything. Or at least a lot. If this is the wave or a wave of the future of learning and teaching then this is something that we need to pay attention to." Thus far the MOOC phenomenon hasn't really hit the K-12 sector, but I can imagine that it will be transformative when it does.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59014

  547. The MOOC Survivors
    Steve Kolowich, Inside Higher Ed, September 12, 2012
  548. Interesting first look at a survey of 7,000 people who finished and passed an edX course that had 155,000 signups and 23,000 people starting. "The most interesting piece of data is that 80 percent of respondents said they had taken a “comparable” course at a traditional university." Also, the age distribution "favored what higher ed would call 'nontraditional' students: Half of them were 26 years old or older." The survey is of course limited (though at 6,000 responses dwarfs the sample typically found in journal articles).  But there is overlap with the much more extensive research conduced on MOOCs by Rita Kop (which of course Inside Higher Ed never mentions, because it's not MIT).

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59028

  549. College may never be the same
    Mary Beth Marklein, USA Today, September 12, 2012
  550. The MOOC phenomenon hits USA Today, which weighs in with a pretty good overview article (no mention of any work prior to the US-based courses, of course, but that's par for the coverage thus far). It's interesting from my perspective to watch because each bit of coverage - the NY Tim es a week a go, CBC Spark this week, today's USA today article - brings a flurry of new subscribers to the newsletter. I will have to start paying more attention to it as it is attracting a serious readership now.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59029

  551. Curriki launches free, project-based algebra course online
    Helge Scherlund, E-Learning News, September 12, 2012
  552. With all the fuss about MOOCs we haven't heard much from Curriki recently. This post updates us with the release of a free, project-based Algebra I course released this week. "This course consists of five units aligned to the Common Core. Each unit culminates in a project that utilizes mastery of conceptual understanding taught in the individual lessons." Interestingly, the course is sponsored by AT&T. And, you have to sign up with Curriki in order to download content (which doesn't seem very open to me, and very much against the spirit of the wiki).The materials are a lot more traditionally aligned, with packages for students and a separate guide for teachers.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59032

  553. MOOC’s Could Hurt Smaller and For-Profit Colleges, Moody’s Report Says
    Alisha Azevedo, Chronicle of Higher Education, September 12, 2012
  554. Under the heading of "No, Really?" a Moody's report traces a key implication of MOOCs offered by large big-name universities: Using MOOC’s produced by other universities could also lead to faculty and staff cuts, said Karen Kedem, vice president and senior analyst at Moody’s and the report’s author. The report also predicts that MOOC’s will most hurt the bottom line of low-cost local colleges, primarily commuter campuses, and for-profit colleges."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59033

  555. Reflecting on MOOCs and Retention
    Glen Cochrane, A Point of Contact, September 13, 2012
  556. Interesting reflection from a #Change11 MOOC participant on why he didn't continue to the end. The fast pace of the course - which offered a new topic each week - was one reason. But more significantly, "I didn’t want to be spoon-fed topics that were of less importance compared to ones I preferred." And that, I think, remains a significant point of difference between MOOCs and informal learning. If you know what you need to learn, it remains easier to zero in on the resources you want than to wait around for a course to eventually get to the topic.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59034

  557. The illusion we understand
    David T. Jones, The Weblog of (a) David Jones, September 13, 2012
  558. Another discussion related to the distinction between MOOCs and informal learning is this one from David Jones summarizing opinion surrounding the university's plans to replace Sakai. It's one thing to replace the LMS, he writes, but quite another to change the thinking process behind it. "The plan-driven process model that underpins all enterprise information systems procurement/development assumes you can predict the future. In this case, that you can predict all of the features that are ever going to be required by all of the potential users of the system." This is the sort of thinking that led to the formulation of the concept of the Personal Learning Environment - in all the fuss about MOOCs it has been swept aside, but it shouldn't be. See also Sarah Thorney, the post-LMS non-apocalypse.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59037

  559. Gates, MOOCs and Remediation
    Paul Fain, Inside Higher Ed, September 14, 2012
  560. The Gates foundation is soliciting proposals to develop MOOCs in support of remedial learning. Specifically, ti is looking for “high-enrollment, low-success introductory level course that is a barrier to success for many students, particularly low-income, first-generation students.”

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59045

  561. An invitation to join the Future of Education MOOC
    Written and Narrated by Dave Cormier. Video by Neal Gillis., YouTube, September 14, 2012
  562. So here's the intro video for our Ed Futures MOOC: "From October 8th to November 16, 2012, experts from across higher education are getting together to learn about trends and change patterns that will impact the future of the field... We invite you to learn with us. Each weekly topic will be headed up by one of our partner organizations, but we want you to bring your perspectives and insight to the discussion. Go to to register."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59050

  563. Designing an Exemplary Online Course: Blackboard Announces Open Online Course to be Offered
    Jason Rhode, Weblog, September 14, 2012
  564. As reported by Jason Rhode, "Blackboard has announced a new open online course “Designing an Exemplary Course,” as part of the CourseSites Open Course Series. The course will run from September 26th – October 17th, 2012. Registration is free and opens Wednesday, September 19th." This is Blackboard's latest effort to host a MOOC.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59053

  565. So, here’s the thing about the video in my Coursera course
    Clint Lalonde,, September 14, 2012
  566. I've done my share of online video production over the years, and if there's one thing I can attest to, even short videos consume huge quantities of time. This one took three of us all afternoon to do. This one was four weeks' solid work. So when these Coursera MOOCs employing video lectures are being launched a dozen at a time, you can be sure video production is taking a hit. "The primary content delivery tool being used is video. Talking head video of the instructor switching to voice over PowerPoint lectures with bullet point slides and diagrams." Well even that's OK if you can go to exactly where you want to go. But that requires true streaming video, which Coursera videos are not.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59054

  567. Stanford U. Releases New Open-Source Online-Education Platform
    Alisha Azevedo, Chronicle of Higher Education, September 14, 2012
  568. There's some code already available and, of course, with the whole thing open sourced there is the potential for the wider community to build something more significant. As the Chronicle reports, "Stanford University is continuing a high-profile push into online education with a new open-source platform called Class2Go, which will host two massive open online courses, or MOOC’s, during the fall quarter."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59055

  569. Universities in the Digital Age
    Various Authors, CBC Sunday Edition, September 17, 2012
  570. Discussion in CBC's 'Sunday Edition' about MOOCs and new models for universities. According to the website the airdate was September 9, but according to the flurry of registrations the listener mail from September 16 was equally popular. Maybe more so.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59073

  571. MOOC Course: Fundamentals of Online Education
    Thomas Jerome Baker, Profesorbaker's Blog: A Bit of Everything, September 17, 2012
  572. Keeping you updated with new MOOCS: "In this course you will learn about the fundamentals of online education. The emphasis will be on planning and application. In the planning phase, you will explore online learning pedagogy, online course design,privacy and copyright issues, online assessments, managing an online class, web tools and Learning Management Systems. In the application phase, you will create online learning materials. The final project for the course will consist of you building an online course based on everything that you learned and created in the course." The instructor Dr. Fatimah Wirth is the Instructional Designer for Georgia Tech Professional Education and an Instructor for one of the NASA Electronic Professional Development Network (ePDN) courses. Dr. Wirth joined Georgia Institute of Technology in 2008.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59075

  573. Twitter’s dilemma: We own our tweets, but it still wants to control them
    Mathew Ingram, GigaOM, September 17, 2012
  574. I've received some enquiries about how I deal with Twitter feeds in MOOCs. One of the ways we support community is to reprint tweets in our newsletter. In theory, this is against Twitter's terms of service, which says tweets cannot be stored anywhere outside of Twitter. In practice, it's not, as people own their own tweets (and store them and share them frequently on their blogs, in emails, and wherever they fele like storing them). People in one of our MOOCs tell us clearly they want their tweet included in the newsletter by using the course-specific hashtag. So this article is directly relevant. To summarize: "Twitter has argued that it doesn’t own a user’s tweets, but at the same time the company wants to control what users do with their content so that it can monetize the network. There’s an inherent conflict there that is becoming increasingly difficult for Twitter to avoid."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59077

  575. Open source education software unveiled by Google
    Adario Strange, IT Pro Portal, September 17, 2012
  576. Google has release a course authoring tool. "The Course Builder project came by way of another program Google ran earlier this year called Power Searching With Google. The Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), which attracted approximately 155,000 students from 196 countries, allowed Google to marry some of the practices now common to online instruction with the company's robust array of collaboration and communication tools." The tool builds failr traditional courses, as this guide to developing courses demonstrates.  The tool runs on the Google App Engine, which means that while it's free to run at a small scale, costs would begin to accumuulate with more use. I ran a test version on my desktop and it's basically a set of scripts that integrate a content database with presentation tools.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59078

  577. K-12 MOOCs and Communities
    Stephen Downes, Half an Hour, September 17, 2012
  578. With the recent publicity around MOOCs I've been flooded with enquiries. Some of them (like the ones asking me to outline all relevant theories and practices) I can't really answer. Others (asking for specifi courses) I can't help with either. But I've been able to respond to some of the more directed enquiries in some blog posts, including this one on the subject of K-12 MOOCs and communities, and this one with a series of questions on social networks and learning generally.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59080

  579. MOOC Host Expands
    Steve Kolowich, Inside Higher Ed, September 19, 2012
  580. Coursera has doubled its list of university paertners. The expansion raises questions about how many colleges will eventually sign on - perhaps double the newly doubled number. "The company’s rapid expansion also raises questions about how broad a range of disciplines might be effectively adapted to the MOOC format." See also coverage in the Chronicle.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59092

  581. MOOC Course List
    Stephen Downes,, September 19, 2012
  582. I put up an interim list of course lists from MOOC course providers. It's not ideal but it's a start, and it will help people who have gone to looking for open online courses, rather than news and theory about MOOCs in general.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59093

  583. Udacity Statistics 101
    Delta, AngryMath, September 19, 2012
  584. Suppose somebody hosted a MOOC at it wasn't very good? That's the verdict offered by AngryMath after reviewing Sebastian Thrun's Statistics 101 course on Udacity. Some of the points are less convincing ("the lectures and the overall sequence feel like they haven't been planned out in advance") but some of the points are pretty telling:

    • "never in all my years of teaching has a course so massively diverged from the initial plan or course description"
    • "(it) manages to go almost its entire length without ever mentioning or making any distinction between the population and sample"
    • "(it) passes without ever calculating any values for normal curves."

    So, in theory, because these courses are online, they can be updated and the problems corrected. But in practice, suggests AngryMath, they won't. Via Computing Education Blog.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59095

  585. A new academic year: global, connected, creative – and not (quite) a MOOC
    Helen Keegan, Heloukee: EdTech and Digital Culture, September 21, 2012
  586. This looks like a pretty good initiative - says it's not a MOOC, but I'm straining my mind trying to figure out why it's not a MOOC. "It’s certainly pretty open, multi-disciplinary, multi-level and networked, and builds on existing communities of practice and the mentoring that has emerged over the past 6 years (staff and ex-students -> current students). Most importantly, it’s creative, occasionally anarchic and relatively ad hoc." Sounds like a MOOC to me!

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59116

  587. Ed Startup 101, Week 4
    Audrey Watters, Hack Education, September 21, 2012
  588. I encounter this a lot in my day job. "It’s Week 4 of Ed Startup 101, and the class is moving on to tackle “The Pain Test.” That is, you might’ve identified your idea for an education startup, but does this idea really address a problem?" The idea of course is that your innovation - your startup - needs to address an area of genuine need. I get that, but the pain test isn't it. Before the iPod, people didn't feel the pain of not having an iPod. Before MOOCs, there was no burning need for a MOOC. The best innovations create demands for things people didn't realize they needed. But these invariably fail the pain test.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59117

  589. Moby Dick Big Read
    Various Authors, Website, September 21, 2012
  590. I love this idea: various actors, famous and not so famous, are reading a chapter a day from Moby Dck and posting them online. Here's chapter one. It only started five days ago, so it's easy to catch up, if you have an hour or two. It will take more than a half-year to read all 165 chapters. I've signed up to the RSS feed. "‘I have written a blasphemous book’, said Melville when his novel was first published in 1851, ‘and I feel as spotless as the lamb’. Deeply subversive, in almost every way imaginable, Moby-Dick is a virtual, alternative bible – and as such, ripe for reinterpretation in this new world of new media." p.s. This can be turned into a MOOC pretty easily - here's a hashtag (#mobydick). People can chat, discuss, blog and generally agitate around the daily audio post, and by the end of it, each person will have had a unique Moby Dick experience. Via Open Culture.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59118

  591. Making Sense of MOOCs: Musings in a Maze of Myth, Paradox and Possibility
    John Daniel, Speeches and Presentations, September 24, 2012
  592. Survey paper authored by one of the more notable figures in online and distance learning on the topic of MOOCs as part of a fellowship at Korea National Open University (KNOU). The paper is offered as an MS-Word document, but for those who prefer not to download the document I have set up access in a generic blog - click here. "The real revolution," writes Daniel, "is that universities with scarcity at the heart of their business models are embracing openness." The article is written almost entirely about the xMOOCs being offered by big name universities; he does not survey reserach on the cMOOCs, nor does he include gRSShoper in the list of MOOC platforms, and the 'myths' he explodes about MOOCs echo the criticisms about xMOOC dropout rates, certificates and pedagogy.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59123

  593. Economies of Not-so-Scale and Marginal Costs of Not-Quite-Zero
    Mike Caulfield, Weblog, September 25, 2012
  594. Mike Caulfield nicely reframes one of the main issues regarding MOOCs: "One additional point about the Circuits and Electronics course stats I cited yesterday. Most of the talk about MOOC-scale has been about the number of sign-ups. But that’s the wrong end of the problem. What we care about is cost per completion." Well, let's consider, when you have one or two instructors, a support team, and 7,000 completers, what are the economics of that? Pretty good. "At a million dollars a course, for 7,000 students it’s costing you about $150 a completer." No, the marginal cost isn't zero. But it's better than what we're doing now. And honestly, I can't see courses costing a million dollars per in the long term. Also from Caulfield: "It’s not MOOCs replacing higher education — it’s MOOCs supporting it. It’s not revolution or disruption. It’s synergy."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59136

  595. Why We Shouldn’t Talk MOOCs as Meritocracies
    Mike Caulfield, Weblog, September 25, 2012
  596. Mike Caulfield (whose blog has unleashed a slew of RSS posts; don't know why) cautions about MOOCs being harbingers of the return of the meritocracies. "Meritocracy, the flawed idea that an equality of opportunity leads to an equality of results (and to the 'best and brightest' operating the levers of power) can be seen as underlying many of the failures of the current era." I agree with him. Education will healp you get ahead to some degree, as the chart shows. But being in the one percent is a much bigger advantage. "If we begin talking about MOOCs as meritocracies, we are doubling down on the flawed ideology that got us into this mess." So - fair comment. I agree with him.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59137

  597. Marketing to the MOOC Masses
    Steve Kolowich , Inside Higher Ed, September 26, 2012
  598. Elsevier is jumping onto thje MOOC bandwagon. "The academic publishing giant announcedon Tuesday that it will offer a free version of one of its textbooks this fall to students who register for Circuits & Electronics, a massive open online course (MOOC) being offered by edX." It's all about the marketing. "The version that is online on edX is a static version -- a PNG file, which is not downloadable, not manipulable and doesn’t have all the flexibility that a true full e-book does," said Dan O’Connell, a publicist for Elsevier. "So we found that actually it isn’t cutting into, and in fact it seems to be elevating, sales."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59140

  599. Nothing Can Stop It!
    Giulia Forsythe, G-log, September 27, 2012
  600. Some fun illustrations of MOOCs. And as Giulia Forsythe says, "The best thing to come out of the MOOC phenomenon is that people are talking about teaching, instructional strategies, and assessment. Lots of people." 

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59144

  601. Students weigh in on value of massive open online classes
    Sam Hayes, Daily Collegian, September 28, 2012
  602. Interesting blend of forward-thinking and traditionalist inertia: "Danny Weng, a senior Management Information Systems major at UMass, said he thinks MOOCs are an “awesome” idea and wishes he could fit one into his busy schedule. 'I can’t take one at the same time as school,' he said. 'It’s just too much work.' Weng said he thinks MOOCs can help students learn about topics outside of their fields of study. But he also said he cannot see the free education system promoted by MOOCs replacing the traditional University system. 'The University is a business,' Weng said. 'There are not going to be free credits (offered at UMass) anytime soon.'" And that's the problem in a nutshell - the university is a business.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59150

  603. The 'Course' in MOOC
    Stephen Downes, Half an Hour, September 28, 2012
  604. A discussion taking place on the OER-Forum Discussion List - the proposition is that MOOCs of the connectivist ilk should not really be called 'courses' or education'. Needless to say I resist this proposition. "First, MOOCs taught us that rather than depend exclusively on "knowledgeable facilitators (instructors, TAs, field experts, etc.)," which are very expensive, a community working together can support itself.... Second, MOOCs taught us that an education - properly so-called - may be obtained in this manner, and the learning thus obtained demonstrated and recognized via the production of artifacts and actions related to the subject of the learning."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59153

  605. Flipping The MOOC?
    Jeff Borden, Pearson Fwd, October 1, 2012
  606. MOOCs are coming under increasing criticism from what I would call educational traditionalists. Case in point: "I had opportunity to join a discussion group that I found purely by happenstance, with others from the class... nobody had anything of value to bring to the table.  Social learning is indeed a powerful thing, but without what Vygotsky would call the “More Knowledgeable Other” in the group, it starts to break down quickly." Now I doubt that this is actually a true story, but the point is the same as is being made by others: it's not possible to learn without a teacher - not just someone who occasionally corrects and informs, but someone who is pretty much full-time inside these student discussions. I just don't agree with that. Do you think study circles at Harvard founder just because there isn't a professor in the room? No, the proposition is absurd.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59158

  607. Online Education Grows Up, And For Now, It's Free
    NPR Staff, NPR, October 1, 2012
  608. More stuff people are saying is impossible. "Earlier this year in Kazahkstan, 22-year-old computer science student Askhat Muzrabayev had a problem... "we didn't have [Artificial Intelligence] classes in the syllabus," Muzrabayev says. So Muzrabayev went online to Coursera and enrolled in Stanford's Machine Learning class for free. He watched the lectures, did the quizzes, joined online discussions with students from around the world and then took the final exam. He passed, and when it was over he received a certificate that said he completed an online course at Stanford. Muzrabayev used that certificate to apply for jobs; offers started to pour in. One of those offers was from Twitter, and he now works for the company in the Kazakhstan's largest city, Almaty." Meanwhile, John Sener writes, "It's certainly a romanticized (some might say delusional) notion that all, or even most, MOOC participants experience 'deep and meaningful learning'... my conclusion remains that MOOCs are in fact a degraded educational experience..."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59160

  609. Australia's University of Southern Queensland launches the first OERu prototype
    Various Authors, WikiEducator, October 3, 2012
  610. It has taken a while, but the first course from OERu is now accepting registrations. "AST1000 is a first-year level course in International Relations and the Social Sciences [and] will provide basic information about, and analysis of, contemporary regional relationships, current affairs and societies in Asia and the Pacific." The course is hosted on Moodle; if you want to read the course-guide you'll need to sign up for an account. Although the assessment model is credited to Jim Taylor, you'll see a lot of MOOC influence in the design (pictured above) which employs web-based resources, social networks and RSS aggregation; in fact, it's exactly the design we used in CCK08 (that's a good thing!). You can enrol now; the course starts November 23. The course appears to be free, but the website is coy about whether there will be a fee for assessment, and there's no indication whether there will be enrolment caps.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59169

  611. Writing a SOOC
    Keith Lyons, Clyde Street, October 3, 2012
  612. Keith Lyons writes about a SOOC (small MOOC) he is launching shortly, Observing and Analysing Performance in Sport. The course is hosted on a platform called OpenLearning. OpenLearning is "a place for people to teach and learn online. It's social like Facebook, collaborative like Wikipedia and available to anyone in the world." OpenLearning currently hosts four courses and are no doubt planning many more. According to the site, "OpenLearning is currently in Beta and will launch officially on October 15th 2012." Lyons is also using open source icons - that's something else I should investigate. The course starts in November.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59170

  613. Live Weather Display Using CSS, jQuery and PHP
    Steven Morris, CSS Tricks, October 3, 2012
  614. This is an example of the sort of data integration that is going to sit behind the next generation of e-learning (and now I'm talking about what comes after all the MOOC hype here). This article describes a website using CSS and JSON to set up a header than changes based on the weather where you're located. It reads your location, connects with a weather service to get the current weather, then sets up the display with apprpriate images. The article could be a bit clearer - it points the reader to Yahoo's RSS API from 2006, but the code actually uses the REST-JSON api documented in this other article. Of course, weather information is just the tip of the iceberg. Imagine, for example, an online course on economics that changes as the economic data changes!

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59173

  615. MOOC Madness
    Various Authors, Chronicle of Higher Education, October 4, 2012
  616. With the Chronicle's unyielding sense of irony, half the publication's special coverage on MOOCs is locked behind a subscription paywall. Free articles available include 'Five Ways that EdX Could Change Education', 'Self-flying Helicopters', and 'A Pioneer in Online Learning Tries a MOOC'.

    Enclosure: Size: bytes, type: [Comment] [Direct Link] 59177

  617. The Future Of Mobile Learning
    Abhijit Kadle, Upside Learning Blog, October 4, 2012
  618. shares a presentation on mobile learning to the Mobile Learning MOOC (MobiMOOC) "about the possibilities in the future of mobile learning," writing, "You can find our presentation here. Our presentation identified four key technology areas that will impact learning in the future:

    • Big data, huge quantities of user generated content and sophisticated curation.
    • Ubiquitous and pervasive computing.
    • Social (human) and Machine networks.
    • The Semantic Web and Intelligent Agents."
    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59180

  619. Open Architecture: Our Course Could be Your Life
    Jim Groom, Keep Learning, October 4, 2012
  620. Jim Groom offers opinions on where open online courses should be headed - and it's not straight into content-silos such as those offered by the big-name MOOCs. "No students in these corporate-wrapped course spaces are asked to take any ownership of the work they do. There is no aggregation or syndication, and even if there was—given that scaling is at the heart of this business model—how much of the architecture will be freely shared?" He points to Martin Hawksey’s excellent blog post Show me your aggregation architecture and I’ll show you mine, and I will say, I've always put my aggregation engine out there, hoping someone will build something open source and great (and ideally in Perl, though that might be hoping for the moon).

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59181

  621. A true(er) history of MOOCs
    Leigh Blackall, Open and networked learning, October 4, 2012
  622. As "the publishing businesses and American universities are scrambling to occupy the MOOC meme, riding a bandwagon of value creating market development," writes Leigh Blackall, "I've ignored it until now." But now MOOCs are being talked about at his new job at LaTrobe University (congrats, btw) and he has to take a position. "So, what am I to do, when drawn into discussions at La Trobe referencing MOOC? Is it an opportunity to create space for the development of open and networked educational practices, or is the shallowness of interest and awareness ultimately a barrier to such an effort? Is the time right, in other words?" Yes, the time is right. And it might not hurt to leave a few copies of The Future of Learning in a Networked World lying around, as that forsaw the development of MOOCs as much as anything else.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59187

  623. Future of Higher Education
    George Siemens, elearnspace, October 4, 2012
  624. In case you haven't seen it elsewhere, George Siemens writes: "On Monday, Oct 8, we kick of the Current State/Future of Higher Education open online course. This course will run for six weeks, covering these topics. We’re using Desire2Learn as a platform, in addition to the gRSShopper software (developed by Stephen Downes and used in our open courses since 2008)." If you want to join, registration is open:

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59188

  625. Building Democratic Learning
    Fred Garnett, Wikiquals, October 5, 2012
  626. Excellent commentary on the changing nature of MOOCs. "MOOCs originally offered the possibility of designing learning which is NOT pedogically-driven and subject-based. but are now being colonised by the new Open Access model to University courses, which is driven by American University business models." The author offers four major recommendations for a post-MOOC future:

    • Develop a Community of Innovators, maybe even a maverick network; a community of practice for innovation in education
    • Develop learning design skills which are based on new 21st Century pedagogies; such as the Open Context Model of Learning or the Emergent Learning Model or Connectivism or e-pedagogies
    • Design learning experiences that offer complexity, authenticity and engagement; what the Digital Practitioner work called “artfully constructed student-centred learning experiences“
    • Develop them for the society in which we wish to live, for me that is building participatory democratic processes.
    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59192

  627. Building open-learning platforms in Canada
    James Bradshaw, Globe and Mail, October 8, 2012
  628. Globe and Mail ("Canada's National Newspaper") coverage of the MOOC phenomenon. "The Canadian answer to how much MOOCs can contribute to learning will have to rely largely on the American experience. But it didn’t have to be this way – Canada had a chance to lead. In 2008, two University of Manitoba teachers prepared a course for 25 paying students exploring ways to make learning more social and less hierarchical. In a nod to the subject matter, UManitoba’s George Siemens and Stephen Downes of the National Research Council decided to throw open the virtual doors and let anyone join in for free." Canada still has a chance to lead, but there has to be some investment on this side of the border, and to date there has basically been none.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59194

  629. MOOC Reflections
    Tony Hrst, OUseful Info, October 9, 2012
  630. Overview article by Tony Hirst on MOOCs, covering the commerical versions as well as the earlier connectivist forms. "Rather than the ‘on-demand’ offering of OpenLearn, it seems that the broadcast model, and linear course schedule, along with the cachet of the instructors, were what appealed to a large population of demonstrably self-directed learners (i.e. geeks and programmers, who spend their time learning how to weave machines from ideas)." Which is an interesting observation.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59196

  631. Implementing Blogging in the Classroom
    Silvia Tolisano, Langwitches Blog, October 9, 2012
  632. One of the major components of our cMOOCs is the use of blogging and other creative contributions on the part of student participants. It is worth remembering that blogging in the classroom is still new, and that the concept of having posting content on,one is still a challenge for many learners and teachers. This article surveys the process of employing blogs in the classroom, and is filled with links to discussions and guides. It's represented in the form of a 'blogging ladder' - not my favorite analogy - leading instructors step by step through the process.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59199

  633. Could a MOOCl Contribute to the Education of the World’s Poorest Children?
    John Connell, Weblog, October 10, 2012
  634. John Connell writes, "The last thing this global emer­gency needs is any kind of quick fix. But I do believe that there is a poten­tially pow­er­ful appli­ca­tion of dig­i­tal and net­work­ing tech­nolo­gies that could play a sig­nif­i­cant role, along­side all the other big invest­ments needed, in con­tribut­ing to a much bet­ter qual­ity edu­ca­tion for many mil­lions of the poor­est chil­dren in the poor­est coun­tries around the world."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59201

  635. Working Group sMOOChers: Smart MOOCs Higher Education Research Subgroup
    Various Authors, TLT Group, October 11, 2012
  636. I haven't followed up on this at all, but you have to agree that the name is delicious: "sMOOChers Smart MOOCs Higher Education Research Subgroup October 8 -November 18 2012 PLUS FridayLive! follow ups on October 12, 26. and November 30th 1:00-2:00 pm EDT This collaborative workshop is free to TLT Group Individual Members. Click here to register and stay up-to-date with MOOC related discussions and events. Our online MOOC exploration will focus on this MOOC “Current/Future State of Higher Education” (CFHE12). “The course starts October 8, 2012.” You will need to register separately by following this link. Twitter hash tag: #tltgSMOOCHERS"

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59205

  637. MOOCs and the Rest of 'Online'
    Doug Lederman, Inside Higher Ed, October 12, 2012
  638. Coverage of a talk by Sebastian Thrun at a Sloan Consortium event. The article even linked to one of my posts! "In a nod to those who have complained that much of the recent news coverage has ignored an earlier iteration of massive online coursesstaged several years ago by Stephen Downes and George Siemens, Thrun himself referred to the "MOOC hype" and acknowledged that various people  had beaten him to the idea."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59210

  639. Thank you, open access movement!
    Heather Morrison, The Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics, October 15, 2012
  640. Heather Morrison documents the dramatic growth of open access. "Highlighted this month is the dramatic growth of OpenDOAR, more than doubling from just over 800 repositories in 2006 to over 2,200 in 2012, representing substantial and impressive growth of the necessary infrastructure for open access archives." One day, other MOOCs will 'discover' that they can set up MOOCs with access to open resources, thereby creating a distributed MOOC. Via Michael Geist.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59214

  641. Democratizing Higher Education
    Sebastian Thrun, Sloan-C, October 15, 2012
  642. Thanks to Eileen Pratt, who sent me this link to a video recording Sebastian Thurn's talk about MOOCs on October 11, 2012.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59217

  643. Texas MOOCs for Credit?
    Steve Kolowich, Inside Higher Ed, October 16, 2012
  644. A MOOC for credit? This article breathlessly looks at the possibility that the University of Texas System might parlay its EdX membership into for-credit courses. The author is apparently unaware that MOOCs have been offered for-credit since the very beginning - the very first MOOC, CCK08 had a number of for-credit students, as have all CCK MOOCs since. The ds106 courses have also had students enrolled for credit.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59223

  645. xMOOCs = OCW + Cohorts
    Mike Caulfield, Weblog, October 18, 2012
  646. If you want a nice concise definition of xMOOCs you couldn't really do better than this take by Micke Caulfield. The definition is in the title: xMOOCs = OCW + Cohorts. "The basic premise is that OCW would benefit from a cohort that could discuss the content as it is rolled out week by week via some serialization mechanism... in many cases, literally old OCW with a cohort experience wrapped around it." The key is the serialization - we've talked about this before. I haven't abandoned the idea - it would be useful for cMOOCs as well. But yeah - if you're rolling out Open CourseWare (OCW) (not to be confused with Open Educational Resources, which are not (always) attached to a particular university) to a particular cohort then you have an xMOOC.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59289

  647. CFHE 2012 Impressions: My Bumpy Start to a MOOC on Future Trends in Higher Ed – ’505 Unread Discussion Messages’
    Stefanie Panke, educational technology and change, October 18, 2012
  648. So we're just finishing week two of the EdFutures MOOC, and many people (including me) are experiencing the bumps and tensions inherent in this sort of enterprise. Keep in mind, we're not just broadcasting some learning materials out to a mass audience. We're trying to generate conversations and dialogue across a distributed system. That's going to result in some creaks and groans. Count on it.  This post sums up one student's experiences pretty well. Let me add some remarks from a facilitator view:

    • I thought we had all learned the lesson that centralized discussion boards don't work for massive courses, but for some reason we had to go round this loop one more time. Does the world need a board with 441 introductions? I say no.
    • Once again, we replicated the grand MOOC tradition of trying a new synchronous conferencing tool - this time GoToWebinar - the registration and changing URLs were a problem, and it didn't work with many systems
    • I learned a lot about REST and authentication - I've talked about it for many years but rolling up up your sleeves and coding it is something else - we had a few registration glitches, but the numbers were like 20 out of 4000 (still too many! can you imagine if we'd had a million subscriptions?)
    • Never assume the obvious. I was planning to put D2L discussion board postings into the newsletter (not the into messages though) but the RSS feeds created and tested sent out the same link (to a basic contents-frame) for every item. I hadn't even considered that they would do this
    • I cannot emphasize the importance of scheduling speakers well ahead of time and making the schedule online for everyone to see and put in their calendars. Seriously, I cannot emphasize it enough - and so, once again, we didn't have that. Nor a single place for recordings and slide uploads.
    • I've been building a vote-up vote-down system this week (good practice with jQuery) which should be fun to try next week

    OK, those were the problems. A lot of stuff has gone right in this course, far more than a course with seven or so partners, three major platforms (plus all the blogs and Twitter and such) and thousands of students has a right to. And yeah - we're seeing the discussion and the learning happen.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59295

  649. College Is Dead. Long Live College!
    Amanda Ripley, Time, October 18, 2012
  650. MOOCs make the front cover of Time. There's zero coverage of anything that's not Ivy League. But I don't care. MOOCs will be the end of them. The elite universities are about money and privilege. MOOCs represent the opposite of that. "several forces have aligned to revive the hope that the Internet (or rather, humans using the Internet from Lahore to Palo Alto, Calif.) may finally disrupt higher education — not by simply replacing the distribution method but by reinventing the actual product. New technology, from cloud computing to social media, has dramatically lowered the costs and increased the odds of creating a decent online education platform."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59296

  651. Google Announces 100 Live Hangouts For Teachers Around The World
    Jeff Dunn, Edudemic, October 23, 2012
  652. I'm finding the quality of these hangouts announced by Google as listening experiences, um, variable. I also noticed that these (and the Hangouts on Air generally) being boosted in the Google search rankings (for example, they occupy (undeservedly) several of the top video spots on MOOCs). But they exist, so I report them here. Here are the recordings (they're a bit hard to find on the site).

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59321

  653. MRUniversity Launches Alternative To edX And Other MOOCs
    Jeff Dunn, Edudemic, October 24, 2012
  654. The latest entrant into the MOOC sweepstakes is MRUniversity, "brought to life by two George Mason University professors, MRUniversity (short for Marginal Revolution University)," and yes, it's led by professors Tyler Cowen and Alex Tabarrok of link with the offensive blog of the same name (here's Cowan on health care: "We need to accept the principle that sometimes poor people will die just because they are poor").  The 'university' is actually just a web page with some course materials and videos, like this on a Drupal site designed by a company calledinQbation.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59337

  655. MOOCs, Motivation, and the Mass Movement toward Open Education
    Hans de Zwart, Technology, Innovation, Education, October 25, 2012
  656. Report of a fast-paced session on MOOCs at Learning 2012 by Curt Bonk - slides are available at TrainingShare (direct link). I found this interesting"If you want to be a leader in the MOOC space then there are a few things you could do. Each of the following points was backed up by some news item or article: .." and then we have a list of a couple dozen things, like "offer something novel," "be first," "set bold audacious goals," etc.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59340

  657. MOOC as Networked Textbook and a look back at the feedbook
    Dave Cormier, xED Book, October 25, 2012
  658. Is a MOOC more like a book or more like an event. It's an intriguing question and it's raised by the emergence of book-link MOOCs in recent years. But Dave Cormier comments, "More and more I see any MOOC as an event. It’s an event in which you can participate in whatever way you like. The social (and financial) contract explicitly at the core of most courses doesn’t exist. While this may lead to some of the low rates of completion that are part of what a MOOC is, they allow for flexibility of participation. The MOOC as ‘textbook’ is one of those methods of participation."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59341

  659. Will the Real MOOC Please Stand-up
    Debbie Morrison, online learning insights, October 26, 2012
  660. Discussion  of Marginal Revolution University (MRU), which I pointed to on Wednesday. While making the point that "Coursera, Edx and Udacity are pseudo MOOCs" ("they are trying to apply traditional, old-school methods to a new format") the author argues that "the pedagogical principles in MRU’s course look to be grounded in the learning theory of connectivism developed by Downes and Siemens." I'm wondering about the model, especially for Cowen, who believes everything should be bought and sold. So this rings false to me: "the drivers don’t appear to be monetary but stem from a passion for education, economics and sharing." Jill Krasny points to the fame driver, the need to create impact in order to promote a demand for learning. Also, though Cowan has a nice university job, he poinst to growing distrust of institutions, and MRU is being developed outside the institution. And there's his view that "everywhere will be like the music industry."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59346

  661. The Obstacles to OER
    Audrey Watters, Hack Education, October 26, 2012
  662. I'm using this post in a talk I'm giving next week so it seems only fair to list it here. Audrey Watters lists four major obstacles to using OERs: discoverability, supplementary materials, licensing issues, and technological formats. These are problems from the perspective of designers and instructors; it seems to me in addition relevant to list difficulties faced by students as well, ranging from the presentation of OERs in a static (traditional course) format, to compatibility issues (bandwidth, format, language), to relevance, to the emphasis on consumption (as opposed to creativity). These obstacles, interestingly (and this is what I will say next week) lead toward the design of the loose network of resources constituting a MOOC, as opposed to the tight integration of resources characterizing a traditional course.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59350

  663. MOOCs and Connectivist Instructional Design
    Geoff Cain, Brainstorm in Progress, October 28, 2012
  664. Geoff Cain describes designing a class to teach "the core skills that allowed anyone to adapt to any technology they might find themselves in." What's interesting was what happened when they set up an open class form at. "We wanted a space where local students could drop in physically if they wanted to or participate remotely. What we noticed was that students started helping one another as much as we were helping students." This shades into a discussion of connectivism as a learning theory and the design of MOOCs. "Based on the principles of connectivism, learning should:

    • Provide for a diversity of opinions
    • Allow students to create connections between specialized nodes and learning sources
    • Foster their capacity to learn (teach metacognitive learning skills)
    • Increase their ability see connections between fields, concepts, and ideas
    • Teach students to build networks that will allow students to keep current in their field
    • Allow students to choose what to learn and how."

    I think this is a nice summary of the pedagogical intent behind connectivism, and ties in well with the structural and functional accounts Suiemens and I have provided over the years.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59359

  665. Formerly Known as Students
    Alison Byerly, Inside Higher Ed, October 29, 2012
  666. If you were to review my writing on MOOCs and similar phenomena you would see me most frequently refer to (what we would call) 'students' as 'participants'. The term 'participant' to me most accurately represents the relation between MOOC and an individual person - they are not 'students' because that implies studying and the master-student relationship, which are antithetical to MOOCs. Nor either are they referred to (much) as 'learners', as this suggests that learning is the dominant paradigm at work here. In fact, the logic of MOOCs is not the logic of learning, but rtaher, of participation, and that's why I use the word. (Not always, of course, because a needless 100% consistency here would confuse people). The Inside Higher Ed article looks at the same question, but with respect to Coursera, EDx, and the rest of the America MOOCs. In this regard, may I respectully suggest that the best and most appropriate word is 'customer'.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59374

  667. UAlberta, Udacity team up for online learning
    Press Release, University of Alberta, October 30, 2012
  668. The University of Alberta has joined Udacity, signing "a memorandum of understanding today that begins a research partnership for the collaborative development of systems for delivery, measurement and assessment of online learning courses and experiences." Athabasca University associate VP Rory McGreal responds in a comment, "Athabasca University, in the same province as UofA, and  other open universities have been running MOOC-like courses, but not calling them that for many years -- we have been using real instructional designers. And, at Athabasca, challenge for credit, in which learners can take an examination based on their acquired knowledge, have been in place for many years, along with a robust prior learning assessment and recognition system. The new MOOC phenomenon itself was begun by Athabasca University staff member George Siemens with partners across Canada." With more than a little help, I might add, from yours truly.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59380

  669. You could do this with MOOCs too
    Mike Caulfield, Weblog, October 31, 2012
  670. Here's the secret to MOOCs: "Once you get past the corporate culture  (“success coaches”) and Valley buzzword  ickiness (“analytics-powered dashboard”) and concentrate on the core structure of the experience, you realize this is how we live right now outside of education." Even the cMOOCs with gRSShopper and all that - they're designed to model the way we learn outside educational institutions. The way, in other words, we really learn. See also: The Red Cross launches a MOOC.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59385

  671. Learning Management Systems and MOOCs
    George Siemens, xED Book, November 1, 2012
  672. George Siemens points to a couple of developments underlining the provision of MOOCs in the cloud. 1. Instructure launches Canvas Network (see also) (and also) (and also). And 2. Blackboard is having early success in getting universities to adopt its CourseSites service. Desire2Learn, meanwhile, launched a new version today "with rich media content creation, personalized learning and advanced assessment."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59388

  673. FunF
    Alexander Hayes, Uberveillance, November 1, 2012
  674. If you're wondering what comes after MOOCs, it includes something like this ("The Funf Open Sensing Framework is an extensible sensing and data processing framework for mobile devices, developed at the MIT Media Lab. The core concept is to provide an open source, reusable set of functionalities, enabling the collection, uploading, and configuration of a wide range of data types."):

    files/images/funf.png, size:  bytes, type:
    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59389

  675. The Most Important Education Technology in 200 Years
    Antonio Regalado, MIT Technology Review, November 4, 2012
  676. "Online learning will be the most important innovation in education in the last 200 years," says Antonio Regalado, if MOOCs succeed and create something truly different. Me, I'm wondering what he thinks happened 200 years ago that was equally important. But I digress. "Even though only a small fraction of those will actually complete a class, the rise of the MOOCs means we can begin thinking about how free, top-quality education could change the world." Actually, we have been thinking about it for some number of years. But it's nice to have the rest of the world join us.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59395

  677. The Year of the MOOC
    Laura Pappano, New York Times, November 5, 2012
  678. The New York Times ran a large spread on the MOOC over the weeke-end which I suppose I should mention here, though I don't know why I bother. After all, the main point of this article is to tell us that "Coursera, Udacity and edX are defining the form as they develop their brands." I don't think they are. I see them commercializing and playing the media, but I don't see them defining anything new. Perhaps that's just my perspective; no doubt what is commonplace to me amazes NY Times readers.

    But I'll say it here and leave it for now: "Almost 3K words in this NYT piece on MOOCs, but couldn’t spare a single one to mention Siemens, Downes, Couros, Cormier… Did you recognize any of those names? They’re the people who actually invented massive open online courses (MOOCs)". So why rewrite the history of MOOCs? Greg Wilson writes that it's because we, the inventors of MOOCs, "take the 'open' part of 'MOOC' seriously [and] actually want to let the people who are learning decide what to learn... That makes their experiments a lot less interesting to 'the World’s Business Leaders' than the Khan Academy, Coursera, Udacity, and other pseudo-MOOCs that let you watch professors chosen by someone else." Yeah, I'd be upset, but these days, I'm simply happy to be employed.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59402

  679. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) Go International
    Dan Colman, Open Culture, November 6, 2012
  680. Dan Colman is one of my favorite bloggers. But he's terribly misinformed when he says today that "the first major providers of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) got their start in Silicon Valley and Cambridge, Massachusetts." and that "now we’re seeing them sprout up outside of the United States." Additionally, his "complete course list" contains only a fraction of the offerings these providers offer.

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  681. Adjacent possible: MOOCs, Udacity, edX, Coursera
    George Siemens, xED Book, November 6, 2012
  682. George Siemens bites back (good on him): "Let’s start by doing away with the 'lone genius myth' of MOOCs. Thrun, Udacity, Coursera, and Stanford did not invent MOOCs. They did run them on a much larger scale than we have done with our MOOCs. They had better PR connections and better funding. Our own MOOCs, in turn, borrowed heavily from online learning research, our work with networked learning, and the experiences of conferences and online courses that are at least 20 years old. In academia, there is a desire for attribution, an acknowledgement of the origin of ideas. In this regard, NYTimes fails at basic literature review."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59410

  683. Make a MOOC: Shaken or Stirred
    Alan Levine, CogDogBlog, November 6, 2012
  684. Alan Levine introduced the MOOC Shaker, a tongue-in-cheek generator of MOOC titles. Perhaps he could help me: I joined NaNoWriMo last week and got stuck on the title.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59411

  685. Everybody Wants to MOOC the World
    Michael Feldstein, e-Literate, November 6, 2012
  686. Michael Feldstein writes, "it’s worth asking what it means for the traditional LMS players to be marketing themselves as platforms for MOOCs and other open courses." In particular, he looks at Instructure's Canvas. "The main new capability," he writes, "seems to be the catalog that allows courses to be discovered across institutions." More interesting, he says, are the comments made by Instructure executives, specifically those to the effect that MOOCs are more about open education, that you don't need a fancy business model to build them, and that services like Canvas make MOOCs feasible for everyone. It makes sense to question the innovation. Peter Levine of Udacity says "Udacity aims to democratize education by delivering world-class coursework to hundreds of thousands of students everywhere." But that's hardly innovative (even if Levine thinks the software will "eat" education). What's missing in all of these, says Feldstein, are first, a sustainability model, and second, pedagogy. "While the cMOOCs are doing some interesting experimentation in pedagogy, I see little innovation in either course design or platform affordances in the xMOOCs."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59413

  687. International MOOCs Past and Present
    Stephen Downes, Half an Hour, November 7, 2012
  688. I have made two additions to the MOOC online course list over at The first, and most significant, is a list of international MOOCs offered by various institutions around the world. These are almost all outside the Coursera-Udacity-MITx nexus, and for the most part experimental and innovative. Be sure to send me any additions to this list, and I'll post them on this page. The second is a link to The MOOC Guide, which is a list of the first ten or so MOOCs to be created, all of which were developed before Stanford and the rest arrived on the scene.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59417

  689. All about MOOCs
    Rosanna Tamburri, University Affairs, November 7, 2012
  690. As the title of this article suggests, it's an overview of massive open online courses (MOOCs). It has good coverage of the Canadian contribution to MOOCs (which is unusual for publications of any sort). Nonetheless, I had to add a comment to make it clear that George and I worked together over a number of years to develop the model (the article implies that I disappeared after MOOC number one, and wasn't really involved in coming up with the idea; it also doesn't mention Rita Kop at all (I guess it's because the focus is on people who work at CAUT-member universities, which is understandable, but skews the coverage)).

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59418

  691. Who is accountable at Coursera?
    Mike Caulfield, Weblog, November 7, 2012
  692. Mike Caulfield finds a pretty blatant error in a Coursera course and asks a reasonable quetion: who is accountable? "And yes, this is partially an argument for why all xMOOC credit should be wrapped in a layer of authentic institutional assessment, if only to protect the value of your degree. But it’s also a straight up question — who at Coursera is accountable? And to whom?" By contrast, when I make an error in a Connectivist MOOC (and I have no doubt there have been many) there is no presumption of perfection, and it becomes part of the work of the student to identify the error and properly correct it. Oh, and there's no such thing as 'giving away the answer on the test' in a cMOOC.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59425

  693. How 'Open' Are MOOCs?
    Steve Kolowich, Inside Higher Ed, November 8, 2012
  694. The attendees at EDUCAUSE 2012 turn their attention to MOOCs and open educational resources (OERs), asking, finally, how open are MOOCs? As Clay Shirky noted in his leynote,  the most provocative aspect of MOOCs is not their massiveness, it is their openness. But what does that mean? Ian Bogost says, "'openness' is less often a virtue or even an activity than it is a declaration, a rhetorical framing, a kind of branding." My own view is that the 'openness' in open courses means rather more than 'without charge'.  And if you look at the commercial MOOC providers, Coursera and Udacity, 'open' doesn't mean very open at all. Now I don't go so far as to say everything must be licensed just-so in order to be 'open' - open doesn't mean the same thing as 'reusable by publishers to make money off free stuff' either. 'Open' is, well, open. Drop in, have a look around, make some friends, do some things, and please don't make a mess on the furniture. But nobody seems to get that because they're all deferring to the businessmen and the lawyers. See also: the Chronicle. Also Tim Klapdor, writing about the same thing.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59429

  695. Scraping ugly HTML using ‘regular expressions’
    Paul Bradshaw, Online Journalism Blog, November 8, 2012
  696. A lot of the magic that I work behind the scenes in this newsletter and the MOOCs we run is based on regular expressions. This is a two part post (part one, part two) providing an overview. Ignore the references to 'OutWit Hub' - regular expressions work everywhere, not just in the one system (well, ok, not everywhere, but anywhere you're working with sufficiently powerful programming langauges). Basically, regular expressions are pattern matchers - they are code used to define types of patterns that can be matched against strings, to extract from strings, or change strings. Why would this be useful? Well, suppose you have a huge pile of data, like, say, every blog post published today. Regular expressions can be used to zero on those posts that talk about a certain thing, or class of things. They're also really useful for categorization - instead of using tags, which are labour intensive, I simply define a topic 'tag' as a shorthand for a regular expression.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59431

  697. Footprints of Emergence
    Roy Trevor Williams, Jenny Mackness and Simone Gumtau, International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, November 9, 2012
  698. According to the authors, "we need to develop practical tools to help us describe these new forms of learning which are multivariate, self-organised, complex, adaptive, and unpredictable" (compare with the connected company, below). The authors "determine which factors are most relevant to emergent learning" and "describe the dynamics of the processes of self/organization". They create an innovative 3D 'palette' to characterize these factors and map it against case studies such as teacher training, a Masters in E-Business and Innovation, CCK08 (through four phases) and the MEDIATE space. Understanding learning in this way "not only invites but requires self-organization, self-motivation, and creativity."

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  699. Experience, the API
    Clark Quinn, Learnlets, November 13, 2012
  700. Clark Quinn comes up with the best description thus far of Experience, the SCORM-successor API formerly known as Tin Can: "it’s ridiculously simple: Subject Verb Object: e.g. “I did this”, such as ‘John Doe read Engaging Learning’ but also ‘Jane Doe took this picture’.  And this has interesting implications." Why is this important? It means that interactions with learning management systems (or MOOC systems) will produce what Scott Wilson has been calling 'paradata' (and what I have called, since 2003, '2nd Party metadata'), that is, data produced by the user of a resource in the course of usingit. Quinn argues (correctly):

    • developers need to design ways to record data for every interaction
    • managers need to think of how this new information will inform them
    • designers need to think of ways to take advantage of this richer information

    "Learning is not about content," writes Quinn, "it’s about experience, and now we have ways to talk about it and track it. It’s just a foundation, just a standard, just plumbing, just a start, but valuable as all that."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59455

  701. Establishment Opens Door for MOOCs
    Paul Fain, Inside Higher Ed, November 14, 2012
  702. According to this article, "the American Council of Education (ACE), which announced Tuesday that it will work with Coursera to determine whether as many as 8-10 MOOCs should be worth credit." The effort is being funded by the Gates Foundation. This is a long and detailed article, and I will say in passing that Inside Higher Ed has really improved with some of its coverage recently, especially with reports like this on subjects like MOOCs. See also this article, also on the Gates grant (p.s. the Gates Foundation can support me with money any time; the email address is at the bottom of every page on my website ;) ). And also this article, on MOOCs versus performance funding.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59459

  703. A New Pedagogy is Emerging... And Online Learning is a Key Contributing Factor
    Unattributed, Contact North, November 14, 2012
  704. Good article summarizing the key drivers leading to a 'new pedagogy' - the sort of pedagogy, for example, being embraced by MOOCs, identifying some major underlying trends (such as opening learning, sharing power, and new technology) and outlining the major ways the new pedagogy is changing learning through a series of case studies, from hybrid learning, collaborative knowledge creation, use of open educational resources, increased learner control, distributed learning, self-directed learning, and new forms of assessment. The 'further reading' list could be a lot better. For people new to the field, this is a textbook example of how to write a report.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59464

  705. When is a MOOC not a MOOC?
    Vance Stevens, adVancEducation, November 15, 2012
  706. Overview of MOOCs in language learning and an analysis of different tyoes of MOOCs, including content-based, task-based and network-based MOOCs. The intent is to characterize 'multiMOOCs': multiMOOC would straddle network and task-based. He then outlines the distinction between the cMOOC and the xMOOC, and summarizes my own argument here: "Stephen then explained, for xMOOC to be truly viable, it will inevitably have to move in the direction of cMOOC.  In his words, “The connectivism model will become the primary model … [xMOOCs] have to grow to become cMOOCS ... They will do that over time." You heard it first there, read it first here :-)"

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59466

  707. Never Mind Antioch, What is Coursera Up To?
    Ken Udas, Latent Pattern Transmission, November 15, 2012
  708. Good question. "Antioch University Los Angeles has recently received some attention for their plans to accept credits for a handful of MOOCs offered through Coursera.... these arrangements have cast some light on Coursera. It seems that the “Openness” community is taking some time and effort to discuss what is and what is not so open about Coursera and its courses.  In addition, folks are starting to discover some of the basic finances of the for-profit MOOC consortia."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59467

  709. Twitter Email Facebook What You Need to Know About MOOC's
    Various Authors, Chronicle of Higher Education, November 16, 2012
  710. Short article and timeline documenting the 'history' of MOOCs. I put 'history' in quotes because it refers only to Chronicle articles, and is thus a graphic demovstration of the fact that the Chronicle completely ignored the subject for several years. As a result they posit a revisionist history that eliminates any mention of the actual development of the form. It's all the more odd given that the Chronicle actually co-sponsored this year's MOOC with George Siemens and myself. Finally, the plural of MOOC is MOOCs, not MOOC's, because the apostraphe indicates possession, not plurality.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59469

  711. MOOCs trend towards open enrollment, not licensing
    Timothy Vollmer,, November 16, 2012
  712. According to Timothy Vollment, "An OER cannot be freely available or openly licensed—it must be both freely available andopenly licensed (or in the public domain) to be an OER." The earlier MOOCs such as CCK08 were both (and for good measure, ran on open source software), but the later MOOCs have drifted away from that ideal. "As MOOCs continue to develop course content and experiment with various business models," he writes, "we think it's crucial that they consider adopting open licenses as a default on their digital education offerings." Why? It increases the reach of their materials, it serves even more learners, and it streamlines reuse. The MOOCs we designed made use of open educational materials wherever they were on the web; we did not centralize all content in our own system. This distributed approach - plus open licensing - allows the same content to be used in multiple MOOCs, and assists learners in making connections between subjects across domains. (Image by Giulia Forsythe)

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59470

  713. Is Coursera Facebook, Amazon, or
    Michael Feldstein, e-Literate, November 16, 2012
  714. Interesting (and accurate) take on the 'innovation' brought to the field by Coursera and the other xMOOCs. "It’s an uncomfortable truth for educational folks," writes Michael Feldstein, "that one of the principal innovations of the xMOOC is the store front. It is the ability to find courses in a catalog. If you look at what Coursera is right now from a platform perspective, it is primarily a store front on top of an LMS." Given this, where will Cousera and the rest move in the future. Feldstein suggests three directions:

    • Facebook - "the platform gains value primarily not from the content but from the people in the network."
    • Amazon - "the main value of the store front is as…well…a store front. It is a sales channel."
    • - "store front as a stand-alone for-profit company is a passing fad."

    I think there may be additional business models: as a histing service, for example, as a cloud service for institutions, even as an extension of advertising and marketing. But yeah, if you take the view that MOOC services are store-fronts, this is basically your list of business models.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59471

  715. How (online) learning could be knowledge building?
    Teemu Leinonen, FLOSSE Posse, November 16, 2012
  716.  writes, "The high-profile projects and endeavors in the MOOCs-business are also looking for smart ways to initiate peer-to-peer activities, such as peer-support and peer-evaluation. This will make the MOOCs more collaborative and participatory." In such a case, he writes, these MOOCs could be the locus of actual knowledge-building. But it doesn't happen automatically. For example, he says, "I haven’t so far seen that students would have been guided to do research together in a small group with an aim to present their results for their peers." And he poses a challenge for MOOC developers: "Someone should do an experiment: an online course that would include in it some real study assignments, peer-to-peer learning and peer evaluation." Though I think that's happening - the online philosophy course I've been following contains many of these elements.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59474

  717. Innovating Pedagogy 2012
    Yashay Mor, Designed for learning, November 16, 2012
  718. Yishay Mor writes about the Open University's "series of reports [that] explores new forms of teaching, learning and assessment for an interactive world, to guide teachers and policy makers in productive innovation." He links to The first report, which "proposes ten innovations that are already in currency but have not yet had a profound influence on education." The posts themselves are very short; the meat is in the comments, so don't skip them.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59476

  719. 10 Highly Selective Colleges Form Consortium to Offer Online Courses
    Alisha Azevedo, Chronicle of Higher Education, November 16, 2012
  720. I giggled when I read this. "A group of 10 highly selective colleges has formed a consortium to offer online courses that students enrolled at any of the campuses can take for credit." It is, of course, how you create MOOCs if you're an elitist ivory tower - you open up your courses, but only to each other. Oh, and you don't make them massive. "The software from 2U will give universities a platform for small online undergraduate courses capped at 20 students each." And, of course, it allows students to travel around the world while earning credit from their highly selective school. There's no word yet on whether Club Med membership is included with tuition.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59478

  721. [2b2k] MOOCs as networks
    David Weinberger, Joho the Blog, November 17, 2012
  722. Yeah. MOOCs as networks. What an idea! "How do you make that enormous digital classroom smarter than the individuals in it? 2B2K’s answer (such as it is) is that you make a room smart by enabling its inhabitants to create a knowledge network." Maybe David Weinberger saw my presentation. Or maybe not.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59483

  723. Napster, Udacity, and the Academy
    Clay Shirky, Weblog, November 19, 2012
  724. Clay Shirky on MOOCs: "Open systems are open. For people used to dealing with institutions that go out of their way to hide their flaws, this makes these systems look terrible at first. But anyone who has watched a piece of open source software improve, or remembers the Britannica people throwing tantrums about Wikipedia, has seen how blistering public criticism makes open systems better. And once you imagine educating a thousand people in a single class, it becomes clear that open courses, even in their nascent state, will be able to raise quality and improve certification faster than traditional institutions can lower cost or increase enrollment." Not just that, though. Shirky admits he received a Yale education, and he isn't the first to leverage his university pedigree into a successful media career. But if MOOCs have the impact I hope they have, going to Yale won't mean doodly. You'll have to earn your influence like the rest of us, instead of buying it at Yale.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59487

  725. Easy as Pie
    Ethan Allen, Allen Interactions, November 21, 2012
  726. I'm not sure I agree with this analogy, but it's novel and therefore at least worth sharing. E-learning, says Ethan Edwards, is like making pies. There are different models; let me quote from the article:

    • Pre-baked: The easiest path to pie and e-learning is to buy it off-the-shelf.
    • Buy the crust and filling: This takes just a litte time and effort but gives the impression that one is something of a baker.
    • Buy the crust and make your own filling: It takes a little longer, but once attempted, people find enough value in the investment to not retreat to store bought.
    • Make everything from scratch: start with whole ingredients and assembles the pie exactly as the baker wishes.

    Of course very few people mill their own wheat to make flour nor harvest their own sugarcane or gro pupkins and ginger and other slices. But we get the idea that e-learning can be accessed more or less complete. Now, interestingly, says Edwards, "Regardless of where a pie-consumer is on this spectum, they tend to stay there. That is, a pie buyer doesn’t suddenly start baking pies." Maybe this is observationally true. But should it be? Pies are expensive, and off-the-shelf pies contain unhealthy processed ingredients. Making your own pie, like taking your own MOOC, is a lot harder. But perhaps the investment in time and effort is wrth it.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59499

  727. How will MOOCs impact executive education?
    Adi Gaskell, Weblog, November 21, 2012
  728. So while the rest of us consider such trivia as whether MOOCs will advance learning, make learning accessible, or alter the future of universities, Adi Gaskell asks the really important question: how will MOOCs impact executive education. Please, now. Serously. But like executives in general, this post gets it exactly wrong: Gaskell writes, "I am not sure that online courses with 100,000 or more simultaneous students will be any more than a 'flash in the pan' a few years from now in higher education, period. MOOC’s will remain the province of only very highly-branded, elite higher education institutions." Yes, because nothing can take the place of a $100,000 MBA, not where executives are concerned!

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59501

  729. How to make #openbadges work for you and your organisation
    Doug Belshaw, Open Educational Thinkering, November 27, 2012
  730. Some useful how-to guidance from Doug Belshaw on the use of badges. And some important caveats. "I’ve had people tell me that badges 'will inevitably lead to X,' that 'you can’t do Y with badges,' and that 'Mozilla need to make sure that Z'. The great thing about the Open Badges Infrastructure (OBI) is that it’s a platform for third parties – including you – to innovate and think differently about their organisation is set up to do." The article is useful, but I confess, I'm still puzzled. Belshaw has badges from here, for example - but you can't just work on a badge, you do other stuff and them, what, badges magically appear? All of that said - I will use badges in the future - they will be a part of my next MOOC (already well into the planning stages in my own mind). Because it's important to me to be able to show that we can do better than to charge students hundreds of dollars for worthwhile credentials.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59527

  731. Zimmerman, Barry J. & Schunk, Dale H. (2011) Handbook of Self-Regulation of Learning and Performance.
    Reviewed by Susan Farber, Education Review, November 28, 2012
  732. How do people regulate their own learning? As this revciew notes, "The concept of self-regulation of learning (SRL) and performance has been the focus of Barry Zimmerman’s and Dale Schunk’s research since the 1980s." This review summarizes the sixth in a series of volumes on SRL, this one invertigating the impact of SRL and its impact on performance. It provides an overview of the history of SRL, and so is an important reference for contemporary approaches to self-managed learning, such as MOOCs. "SRL is a process where individuals create self-oriented feedback loops to monitor their effectiveness in completing a task and adapt accordingly to experience success." As the reviewer notes, "Despite the complexity of these strategies and their impact on performance and self-efficacy/beliefs, there remains considerable evidence of how embedding opportunities to develop SRL strategies over time can benefit students academically and personally." There's a lot here, so read this review slowly and carefully - and then, if you have the budget for it (unlike me), get the book. (Image: Erin Peters)

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59534

  733. Uruguay Presentations
    Stephen Downes, Stephen's Web, November 29, 2012
  734. I have finally uploaded all the materials from my presentations in Uruguay...

    OER Minicourse
    November 23, 2012. MoodleMoodUY, Montevideo, Uruguay (Seminar). 2.5 hour minicourse on the topic of open educational resources. This is a class session, not a lecture, so there are periods of chaos, group discussions, and more. Enjoyable, if confusing, listening. Topics covered include the definition of OERs, creating OERs, and OER metadata and discovery. Licensing is mentioned and covered in the slides but wasn't a major topic.

    The LMS and the PLE
    November 23, 2012. MoodleMoodUY, Montevideo, Uruguay (Keynote). Keynote on the topic of the LMS and the MOOC model. Abstract: "With the widespread adoption of the massive open online course (MOOC) over the last year, questions are now being raised about the role of a learning management system (LMS) such as Moodle. Where previously the focus was on the management of course materials and cohorts progressing according to predefined objectives and curricula, the learning environment of the future is more open-ended and less overtly managed. In this talk Stephen Downes, one of the originators of the MOOC format, describes the differences between types of MOOCs, compares them to the LMS, and outlines the changes LMSs such as Moodle are looking at in the future."

    Open Discussion on the LMS and the MOOC
    November 23, 2012. MoodleMoodUY, Montevideo, Uruguay (Keynote). Discussion of the keynote on the topic of the LMS and the MOOC model. Some interesting topics covered, including the question of curriculum, assessment, and the nature of critical literacy.


    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59544

  735. What Price MOOCs?
    Donald H. Taylor, Weblog, December 2, 2012
  736. "One topic has received less notice," says Donald H. Taylor, "How will MOOCs be made to pay?" We could simply invest the same public resources into offering free learning at all levels online that we currently expend in the traditional system, but still there persists this idea that MOOCs, somehow, must make money. Taylor's response is, "Freemium model surely?" In other words, the basic service is free, but premium extras are offered for those willing to pay extra money (in Canada, we call that "two tier"). There is no question the concept is becoming a gamechanger. "In a few years’ time you may be asked to justify your training course against one  provided by Harvard,  by a local college in Hyderabad and by an online training company in Singapore."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59552

  737. Owning Your Massive Numbers
    Alan Levine, CogDogBlog, December 2, 2012
  738. For our MOOCs, completion was never the name of the game - sure, we'd lose people alog the way, but we'd also pick up new people, and after that first big rush things were usually stable. It was always about the journey, people put in or take out what they want, and we never really worried about it. For the xMOOCs though there are tests and achievements and a final certificate to earn. So when you sign up 61,285 people and have only 0.17 percent of them left at the end of the course, you have, as Alan Levine would say, some explaining to do. "So in the end, we have 107 students who got the more personalized attention (doing a project, getting feedback, being part of the Google hangout presentations). This class had one professor and 3 TA, about a 1 : 27 teacher/student ratio. That is pretty much the size of a normal section of a class."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59554

  739. Cultivating Your Personal Learning Network 2.0
    David Warlick, 2¢ Worth, December 4, 2012
  740. There has been a lot commentary about how the term MOOC has been appropriated and redefined, but not nearly as much discussion of now the term 'personal learning environment' (PLE) was rebranded as 'personal learning network' (PLN) and turned into a minor industry south of the border. Just saying.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59562

  741. The MOOC movement is not an indicator of educational evolution
    Andy Oram, O'Reilly Radar, December 4, 2012
  742. Maybe ds106 - which Alan Levine and Jim Groom keep saying is "not a MOOC" - is a fab course. "DIY courses, as popularized in the book Fab by Neil Gershenfeld at the MIT Media Lab. O’Reilly’s own Make projects are part of this movement. Fab courses represent the polar opposite of MOOCs in many ways. They are delivered in small settings to students whose dedication, inspiration, and talent have to match those of the teacher — the course asks a lot of everybody." Of course, this is yet another case where someone from MIT found something, gave it a name, and is now the 'inventor'.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59567

  743. Nokia uses mobile e-learning to align social and business objectives
    Oliver Balch, The Guardian, December 6, 2012
  744. After a brief interruption to look at MOOCs, the world will go back to being enthusiastic about mobile learning. Witness this Guardian article. "Web-based MoMaths service aims to plug learning gap in pupils from low-income households and create new business opportunities in Africa." MOOCs and mobile go really well together, of course, as the promise for each is "education for all."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59569

  745. Providers of Free MOOC's Now Charge Employers for Access to Student Data
    Jeffrey R. Young, Chronicle of Higher Education, December 6, 2012
  746. Another business model fpr MOOCs. This one is a bit unique - it doesn't charge the students, or even government. It charges employers. "Providers of free online courses are officially in the headhunting business, bringing in revenue by selling to employers information about high-performing students who might be a good fit for open jobs." It does make the case clear, that education expenditures, always viewed as a benefit directed toward studnets, are in fact a corporate subsidy, relieving companies of the need to train staff. Interestingly, the corporations who pay for data herepay for more than just marks. "They also highlight students who frequently help others in discussion forums. Mr. Thrun, of Udacity, said those 'softer skills' are often more useful to employers than raw academic performance."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59570

  747. Google Plus rolls out Communities, a place for every tribe
    Bogdan Petrovan, Android Authority, December 7, 2012
  748. Thabks to Lucy Grey, who joined us during my Hangout from Ibague, Clolombia, today, and told us about the launch of Google Communities. The idea is that Google Plus members can invite other people to join together to converse on topics of interest. And the land rush has begun. I created my own community, of course, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) - I tried to invite people, but I only have one grou of 4000+ people I follow, and G+ won't let me invite that many people to my community (I don't see why not; that's the problem with these proprietary set-ups, there's always restrictions and limitations).

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59579

  749. Top Ed-Tech Trends of 2012: MOOCs
    Audrey Watters, Hack Education, December 7, 2012
  750. Excellent overview of 2012, "The Yera of the MOOC". Audrey Watters writes, "It was students — two from India and one from Canada — who created what I think is the among most important MOOC innovations this year — 6.003z... MITx had no plans to offer the follow-up class to 6.002x. So Bhave took matters into his own hands, creating his own open online course with help from two other members of the 6.002 learning community – a class based on a blend of MIT OpenCourseWare and student-created materials. 'Taking matters into your own hands' (and 'taking learning into your own hands') is one of the most empowering things that the MOOCs can offer. But while they do offer the chance for anyone to sign up and learn, the ease with which you can drop in is echoed in the ease with which you can drop out."

    See also Audrey Watters's other four top trends in eduation for 2012:

    Great well-researched seried; don't miss any of the articles.



    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59583

  751. Could online courses be the death of the humanities?
    Aurélien Mondon, The Guardian, December 9, 2012
  752. "Imagine a return to a pre-revolutionary world," warns , "where such a form of knowledge and study would only be practised by a very small elite, rich enough to delve into 'unprofitable' questions in their spare time." Her concern is that as MOOCs in the hard sciences raise money and gain support, the humanities are left behind. I think her concern is misplaced. We do not live in an era where only the wealthy have access to knowledge, resources and spare time. For example, I have set up a Philosophy Community in Google Plus (here's another, and here's one on Philosophy of Mind). And the world of MOOCs will very definitely open up to the humanities, spurred on by a global interest in the subject. If, however, it's the death of the first year 500-student English course, I wouldn't mourn.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59588

  753. Size Isn't Everything
    Cathy N. Davidson, Chronicle of Higher Education, December 11, 2012
  754. I have to admit, I am one of the people bemused by all the attention MOOCs are getting, not so much that I would join some sort of anti-MOOC brigade, but enough that I know that were I know so closely associated with the concepted, I would by now be one of the people yearning for journalists to write about something else. Of course, a good amount of the journalism about MOOCs is a part of the anti-MOOC brigade, and this item is in part a case in point. Davidson summarizes, "Far too many of the MOOC's championed in the (Forbes) article use talking heads and multiple-choice quizzes in fairly standard subject areas in conventional disciplines taught by famous teachers at elite universities. There is little that prepares students for learning in the fuzzy, merged world that Negroponte sees as necessary for thriving in the 21st century." For me, what's revolutionary about MOOCs isn't size, it's openness - and openness isn't just about free content, it's about ownership over the process. And I don't see anyone who is bored (yet) of talking about open education.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59595

  755. Headhunting by MOOC
    Alastair Creelman, The corridor of uncertainty, December 11, 2012
  756. Commentary on reports from last week that Coursera is planning to sell student information to companies as a recruiting tool. "If the company is interested in one of those students, then Coursera sends an e-mail to the student asking whether he or she would be interested in being introduced to that company. The company pays a flat fee to Coursera for each introduction." According to the post, Udacity is also marketing information in the same way. Personally, I think it's a really good business model, though I do understand the concern that this may drive courses to fit corporate training objectives, rather than wider social needs. But we should understand, it's an option, a piece of the puzzle, and not the whole thing. "Combine this with the Open Badges initiative and suddenly there are several alternative educational paths that may be just as likely to lead you to employment as the traditional road." Alternatives create opportunities, and opportunities create innovation.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59598

  757. Openness Beyond the Course Container
    Alan Levine, CogDogBlog, December 12, 2012
  758. Alan Levine highlights a problem with the recent crop of open online courses: "It’s that weekly ramming speed pace that bugs me," he writes. "Just as a topic opens in this pace, the course zooms on to other topics. If you do not row along, you either go your own, or just give up. When not let people join the boat they want to be on, and decided where to go, how fast to row there?" I'm totally agreed. I signed up for the Scope Badges course, but while I was in South America it was blasting me with two writing assignments a day (and not much else, but that's a separate issue). I found the same thing with ds106 - they're on to video while I'm still messing around with audio. "Rather than making everyone go on the same boat going at the same speed, why not launch a fleet of boats," he suggests. I agree completely. But then it wouldn't be an open course in the model of EC&I 831 or ds106, it would be, well, a MOOC.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59608

  759. Finally, alternatives to prominent MOOCs
    George Siemens, elearnspace, December 14, 2012
  760. George Siemens tells us "Tony Hirst shared a new initiative via OU UK: UK universities embrace the free, open, online future of higher education powered by the open University. From a Times HE release: 'Futurelearn will carry courses from 12 UK institutions (see list), which will be available to students across the world free of charge.'" Siemens comments, and I echo: "I’m more dismayed now, however, than I was in July and the anemic vision and response by Canadian universities. Higher education is facing a changed landscape. Even if MOOCs disappear from the landscape in the next few years, the change drivers that gave birth to them will continue to exert pressure and render slow plodding systems obsolete (or, perhaps more accurately, less relevant)." He's quite right. Institutions in this country are so afraid they might be making the wrong move they end up making no move whatsoever. And yes, I include my own institution in that.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59626

  761. StreamHub
    Various Authors, Website, December 14, 2012
  762. Daniel Christian posts in the G+ MOOC Community, "(a) piece of what they offer is subtitled as the "Web's first Engagement Management System" (so we now have another meaning for the EMS acronym :).  Interesting concepts therein. As the convergence of the computer, the telephone, and the television continues, should be an interesting set of techs to watch develop; especially as it relates to Learning from the Living [Class] Room..." Related, I saw the other day a reference to social network support as a 'second screen' option for video and sports entertainment on television, which makes a lot of sense to me. Multiple devices working in concert - this is the future of digital media.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59628

  763. Online learning in 2012: a retrospective
    Tony Bates, Online Learning and Distance Education Resources, December 17, 2012
  764. Tony Batesis as always well worth reading, including this take on the year that was. He writes, "The media love to focus on the ivy league universities to the almost total neglect of the rest of the system (the cult of the superstar). Here is an appalling irony. The top tier research universities have by and large ignored online learning for the last 15 years. Suddenly though when MIT, Stanford and Harvard jump in, all the rest follow like lemmings. MOOCs are seen as an easy, low risk way for these universities not only to catch up, but to jump into the front line. But they are hugely wrong. Moving from broadcasting to learning is not going to be easy."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59639

  765. Are MOOCs becoming mechanisms for international competition in global higher ed?
    Kris Olds, Inside Higher Ed, December 17, 2012
  766. The buzz surrounding MOOCs continues apace in this pair of articles from Inside Higher Ed. The first article looks at the use of MOOCs to brand online learning for national education systems. This is in light of the recent announcement of a British MOOC platform. The second looks at the transition from MOOCs to that they call MOCCs - Mid-Sized Online Closed Courses. Of course, this is what academic institutions have been doing for more than a decade, so it's hard to see the new here. "As various players, from companies to individual professors, try to monetize the MOOC phenomenon, in the end we may not actually be left with true MOOCs anymore." This is of course the end-game for commercial education providers. The sooner open learning can be converted into something people have to pay for, to these providers, the better.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59642

  767. Openness is still the only superpower
    Mike Caulfield, Weblog, December 17, 2012
  768. I think Mike Caulfield gets the basic premise right here as he writes of a "lurry of anti-MOOC, anti-Cousera columns in the Chronicle recently." Caulfield writes, "I love a good fight over pedagogical techniques and scalable architecture, but I’m less concerned about that than whether in the course of this argument we are producing open, reusable course elements. As long as the argument produces reusable course elements, our options are multiplied in moving forward. More things become possible." I agree. It was always openness that was at the heart of the MOOCs George Siemens and I created, and it was this openness that triggered the innovation and massive response to the Stanford AI course. A lot of MOOC-work since then has been dedicated to putting the genie back in the bottle. Ultimately, such efforts should fail.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59644

  769. Two key learning trends you might have missed this year: MOOCs and OA
    John Helmer, Line, December 18, 2012
  770. Leaving aside all the discussion about specific models of this and that, what really makes me happy about the major trends for this year is that both of them - open online learning and open access - are things I have been working toward for many years. "The spirit that animates the pioneers of MOOCs is a manifestation of the wider desire to open up education to a world beyond the small minority within developed economies who can currently afford it – a spirit that is leading to a lot of push-back on the power of academic publishers." This is not about giving, it is not about charity - it's about opening doors.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59647

  771. Rebuilding the Web We Lost
    Anil Dash, Weblog, December 19, 2012
  772. Anil Dash follows up his "The Web We Lost" post with one on how to rebuild it. It's a set of good suggestions, aimed mostly at builders. Som e of them resonate quite a bit with me. This, for example: "The people involved in creating these platforms are hired from a narrow band of privileged graduates from a small number of top-tier schools, overwhelmingly male and focused narrowly on the traditional Silicon Valley geography." He adds, "Flickr was born in Canada!" I can think of a few other Canadian innovations swllowed and made corporate by that same narrow band of privileged graduates. And then there's this: "Right now, all of the places we can assemble on the web in any kind of numbers are privately owned. And privately-owned public spaces aren't real public spaces. They don't allow for the play and the chaos and the creativity and brilliance that only arise in spaces that don't exist purely to generate profit. And they're susceptible to being gradually gaslighted by the companies that own them." What we are trying to build with (our version of) MOOCs is a public space for education. Has there been push-back against that concept? oh yes.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59657

  773. Teorías y modelos sobre el aprendizaje en entornos conectados y ubicuos
    Miguel Zapata-Ros, E-LIS, December 20, 2012
  774. Miguel Zapata-Ros writes that he disagrees with MOOCs for reasons outlined in this paper and in his blog (where he expresses concerns about the socialization of self-taught or home-schooled students). The text is in Spanish, so I worked through it with the aid of Google translate, reading a framework for theory-formation and acceptance that incorporate some of the broader aspects of learning, specifically, attributions of value and meaning to knowledge, personal involvement in learning, and theories specific to learning. He raises the question of whether connectivism is a theory, whether it embodies the objectives, values, application conditions, methods, elements that should comprise the theory, and moreover validation, open problems and future development lines. Finally, he argues that the theory based in the science of society, chaos theory, and of and complexity of networking do not address the learning processes of individuals and if what has to happen for this to occur. An English translation would have helped me a lot. But I see this mostly as a criticism of the Siemens version of the theory, and only periphrially my own.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59661

  775. Open Learning Recognition: Taking Open Educational Resources a Step Further
    Anthony F. Camilleri and Anne-Christin Tannhäuser, eds., The OERTest Consortium, December 20, 2012
  776. This is a significant publication taking an in-depth look at the question of individual assessment in OER-supported learning. It cites one of the barriers to the use of OER as "the absence - or comparatively slow emergence - of open educational practices," among these, assessment. Consequently, "the initiative developed a set of supporting tools and guidelines for assessment, recognition and portability of credit based on OER. In particular, our team of researchers developed a proposal for a ‘learning passport’." The passport is based in specific (indeed, 'SMART') learning objectives, and a process of documenting, verifying, testing and recognizing learning. While most of the book is addressed toward the passport proposal, the final chapter surveys educator opinions on institutional collaboration and MOOCs.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59662

  777. Idea #1: 'MOOC': Saviour of Higher Ed?
    Justin Ritchie, The Tyee, December 20, 2012
  778. "MOOCs can't replace the deeply important social learning environment of the university," according to this article in the Tyee, "but (they) could lead to new teaching styles in traditional degree programs. Academic departments are in the first stages of allowing transfer credit for MOOCs in their programs, reducing the cost burden of the university system." One question I have is this: if the social aspects of universities are so all-fired important, what happens to the large majority of the world's population that never attends university? Do they just become socially stunted? Inept? Or is it possible that these social dimensions may be addressed in ways other than university pubs and social clubs?

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59663

  779. ‘History Harvest’ Project May Spawn a New Kind of MOOC
    Marc Parry, Chronicle of Higher Education, December 21, 2012
  780. I like the concept. It reflects the idea in connectivist MOOCs that the learners are expected to bring new resources to the mix. The idea is that each person brings a unique perspective, and learning occurs when these perspectives are placed in juxtaposition. In this case the new perspectives are communicated using historical artifacts. Nice.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59671

  781. Why Do Smart People Do Dumb Things? Thinking about School Reform
    Larry Cuban, Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice, December 24, 2012
  782. I was asked for my take "on Cuban's labeling MOOC's at Stanford (and other schools) as a 'dumb thing.' Do you think that these high-level university MOOCs are missing the whole point of the MOOC anyway?" In my view, Cuban's article is a sleight of hand. He gives examples of people making the same mistake over and over. But the last example is responder-responder-MOOC. But a MOOC is nothing like a student  responder system in a lecture hall (see my longer response).

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59684

  783. Important developments in online learning in India in 2012
    Tony Bates, Online Learning and Distance Education Resources, December 24, 2012
  784. India continues to be an interesting place to watch for developments in online learning. Tony Bates highlights a couple important developments from 2012: first, the appearance of very low cost computers, and second, he emergence of Indian e-learning content. So what does that say for the future. India still faces challenges - one is a way to leverage the country's millions of mobile phones to support learning. But beyond mobile phones, India still faces infrastructure challenges. A lack of reliable internet is a cjhallenge. And "It is hard to see how MOOCs developed from North American institutions are going to have a major impact in India. They are likely to be of value mainly to those already with a high level of education." Only 125 million people, mostly well-educated, are fluent in English. Indian e-learning will depend on Indian technology and Indian content.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59686

  785. Learning new lessons
    Unattributed, The Economist, December 24, 2012
  786. The fabrication is in the first paragraph: "top-quality teaching, stringent admissions criteria and impressive qualifications allow the world’s best universities to charge mega-fees: over $50,000." The actual product for sale at the 'elite' institutions is found later in the article: "sublime architecture, better marriage partners and a huge career boost." Mostly this coverage of MOOCs in the Economist is about spin. Why Tyler Cowan, rather than the many other professors teaching MOOCs before him? Because he's a hard-right neo-conservative economist. Why credit Knewton with the term 'flipped classroom', when we all know it originated elsewhere? Why, Knewton is a for-profit provider of personalised online education. We are supposed to focus on "economic and political pressure to improve productivity in higher education," we are supposed to believe that "real innovation comes from integrating academics talking with interactive coursework, such as automated tests, quizzes and even games," and we are to just naturally agree that "even if MOOCs can coin sound academic currency, they must also make real money."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59687

  787. MOOCs in 2012: Dismantling the Status Quo
    Phil Hill, e-Literate, December 24, 2012
  788. Phil Hill offers the thesis that MOOCs are the beginning of change, not the final outcome. "The real significance of xMOOCs," he writes, "is that they are acting as the foreign element triggering the end of the status quo. The key method of this change was the removal of the core assumption that online learning is necessarily inferior to face-to-face education... The challenge is that the higher education system has not found the transforming idea yet. We’re in the chaotic period where system performance is fluctuating wildly, and in many cases the changes brought by MOOCs and other forms of online education actually are harming the output."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59689

  789. Where xMOOCs and Adaptive Analytics Both Fail (For Now)
    Michael Feldstein, e-Literate, December 25, 2012
  790. Good analysis from Michael Feldstein on 'the missing viola player' aspect of online learning: it's inability to comprehend and respond to student questions. I respond at more length to this article here how cMOOCs are interended to respond to this: "You don't need an expert for this - you just needs someone who knows the answer to the problem. So we have attempted to scale by connecting people with many other students. Instructors are still there, for the tough and difficult problems. But students can help each other out, and are expected to do so."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59695

  791. Michael Sandel’s Famous Harvard Course on Justice Now Available as a MOOC: Register Today
    Dan Colman, Open Culture, December 25, 2012
  792. This post focuses on a new MOOC being offered by Harvard, a reprise of Michael Sandel's 2009 course, Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do? (YouTube - iTunes - Web). It also notes that EdX is offering a slew of ither new courses this spring, including The Challenges of Global Poverty, Justice, and The Ancient Greek Hero. All this makes me think of one aspect of these courses that has not really been discussed: coming from these major U.S. private universities, these courses offer a certain point of view and political perspective.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59696

  793. MOOCs – The revolution has begun, says Moody’s
    Sarah King Head, Universit World News, December 27, 2012
  794. According to this article, "A new report by Moody’s Investors Service suggests that while MOOCs’ exploitation of expanded collaborative networks and technological innovation will benefit higher education in the United States as a whole, their long-term effect on the for-profit sector and smaller not-for-profit institutions could be damaging." I think they under-estimate the power of inertia.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59703

  795. Why Online Courseware Can't Replace A 4-Year Degree
    Andrew Grauer, Forbes, December 28, 2012
  796. More techno-scepticism following in the wake of this year's MOOC hysteria. Andrew Grauer argues that online learning will not replace traditional learning until the resolution of "key issues currently plaguing the advancement of online education." All very fine, but the "key issues" he flags are ridiculous:

    • teaching methods to deliver the same lecture experience via your computer as in a live classroom
    • online communities that are sufficiently collaborative yet plagiarism free
    • easily and readily connecting with a professor, tutor or classmate when a question arises during a lecture

    The supposition, of course, is that replicating the classroom experience is what online learning should strive toward. But i think we can do rather better than that. To paraphrase an example used in the article, if the skill being learned is how to play golf, taking a class is like being told how to play golf, watching videos is like watching golf, while online learning is like a golf simulation system. Sure, it's not golf - but it's a lot better than a lecture about golf. And that - I might add - is why online learning will replace traditional learning. Not this year. But soon.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59706

  797. The Downes Prize 2012
    Stephen Downes, Stephen's Web, December 31, 2012
  798. In 2010, the prize was awarded to Effective Assessment in a Digital Age, published by JISC. Last year, the prize was awarded to Acceptable Use Policies in Web 2.0 & Mobile Era, by the Consortium for School Networking. Both were outstanding contributions to the field of educational technology that have stood the test of time. This year's contribution is no exception.

    The 2012 Downes Prize is awarded to:

    Clayton R. Wright, for his series of posts annotating educational technology conferences.

    Since 2007, I have been posting the list of conferences compiled by Clayton R. Wright here on this website. It has been annually one of the most popular resources on the site, and elsewhere (as the list is posted on a variety of blogs). In  2012 he posted the 27th and 28th editions of the list. He is a fitting recipient of the prize who exemplifies the best traditions of our community.

    Some other notable posts from the last year include (in no particular order):

    Through 2012, welcomed 334,364 unique visitors  (not counting search engines) who visited 774,792 times, viewing 2,212,286 pages for a total of 12,669,823 hits. Thank you for your support over the last year and the best to all in 2013.






    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59715

  799. What would be the implications of MOOCs on Higher Education?
    Sui Fai John Mak, Learner Weblog, January 3, 2013
  800. A couple of interesting points in this one. First, "If the mooc is better than the existing teaching and learning in the elite or most universities, wouldn’t that be the greatest disruption to their own 'mainstream' teaching and pedagogy?" And, all else being equal, that would be the case. Next, from this perspective, the difference between xMOOCs and cMOOCs "seems to be a race between technology affordance and professors and the associated pedagogy employed in the conversation and engagement of learners in the MOOCs." All else being equal again, whichever is better should suvive. But all else is rarely equal. The marketplace is full of inefficient solutions.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59726

  801. The Year Ahead in IT, 2013
    Lev Gonick , Inside Higher ed, January 3, 2013
  802. I'm always thinking about the future of learning technology, even if I don't write about it so much these days. This is partially because it has become a bit predictable. Learning will become more open and content cheaper and easier to produce - hence, the move to flips, MOOCs and son-of-flips-and-MOOCs will continue. Computer hardware will continue to outpace need, so we'll see an increase in cloud and virtualization. Always-connected and mobile will continue to grow and increase capacity with LTE and processing power, so we'll see always-on learning. And then of course there are the things that have happened in the past, which are the easiest to predict, things like 3D printing, gamification and analytics. All good. These are the easy predictions, and everyone is making them. So what are the hard things that nobody is predicting?

    I think the impact of HTML5 will be widely felt - the New York Times article from the other day is just the thin edge of the wedge - we're going to see widespread integration of multimedia and text in ordinary things like books, posts and articles - leaving print-based media behind completely. This will be very good for publishers, because for now it's still pretty difficult for amateurs to do (I'd love to see ds106 focus on this rather than retread Twilight Zone episodes). What else? We will also see dynamic learning materials (and dynamic reading materials generally) - multimedia posts and articles connected to live data sources. We've seen these already in things like weather bugs, Yahoo stock charts and Google Maps mashups, but it will become widespread. Again, this will favour publishers, because they will have priority access to live data. So, expect a rebound year for commercial content. Expect the pay media sites begin to prosper and for publishers to begin rolling out high-quality dynamic learning resources non-professionals cannot easily emulate.

    That's the hard prediction - a reversal of existing trends. It will happen this year. You might think I oppose it, but I don't. Commercial media quite properly should focus on the difficult and high-quality. Where it has gone wrong in the past was in trying to monopolize easy media against a growing tide of open content. Once it enters into a proper research-and-development cycle (something it hasn't needed in a century) it will begin to prosper again, without harming openness, and this is good for all of us.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59730

  803. MOOCs are a fundamental misperception of how teaching works
    Mark Guzdial, Computing Education Blog, January 4, 2013
  804. focuses on xMOOCs like Coursera and Udacity, basically ignoring cMOOCs. He argues MOOCs misrepresent how teaching works because:

    • The main activity of a higher-education teacher is not to lecture
    • A teacher is an expert at teaching the topic, and the teaching is dependent on the domain
    • The job of the teacher is to educate, not filter, and that includes motivating students

    He writes, "There is evidence that MOOCs do not teach. We knowthat MOOCs have a low completion rate. What most people don’t realize is that the majority of those who complete already knew the content. MOOCs offer a one-size-fits-few model, unchanging between content domains, that does not change for individual students (I know that they hope that it will opne day, but it doesn’t now)."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59733

  805. The mixably Open Online Course (mOOC)
    Mike Caulfield, Weblog, January 4, 2013
  806. Two part presentation (Part One, Part Two) on the structure of open online courses. "This is an off the cuff presentation of the module structure in the Psych course we are developing, which shows some of the possibilities of combining multiple OER into a course designed for institutional reuse." This model reminds me of the Assiniboine Model, which I developed (and built software supporting) in 1997. That's the thing with the new xMOOCs, too. Technologically, they aren't really an advance over this basic concept (with the exception of automatically graded assignments, a field I left to people like Martin Holmes). See my original model below:

    Image8.gif, size: 9903 bytes, type:  image/gif
    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59734

  807. etMOOC
    Various Authors, MOOC, January 4, 2013
  808. The latest MOOC: "#etmooc is a ‘Connectivist’ MOOC (‘cMOOC)that is designed around a few key principles:

    • The course is developed with a weak ‘centre’. While will provide a level of aggregation, detail, and direction, the majority of interactions are likely to occur within groups & networks, facilitated through various online spaces & services.
    • Participants are strongly encouraged to develop their own reflective, learning spaces. We’re hoping that every learner in #etmooc creates and maintains their own blog for continuous reflection, creativity, and resource sharing.
    • Sharing and network participation are essential for the success of all learners in #etmooc. Thus, we’ll be needing you to share your knowledge, to support and encourage others, and to participate in meaningful conversations."

    There is a long long ls of 'conspirators' headed by Alec Couros.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59735

  809. MOOC MOOC Starts Sunday, January 6, 2013
    Sean Morris and Jesse Stommel , Canvas Network, January 5, 2013
  810. Via LinkedIn: "In just a couple of days, the Hybrid Pedagogy online journal group is starting a MOOC MOOC to study and evaluate MOOC's within an open online course environment. I figured this group may be interested in joining the conversation and participating in the course. The course will be taught by Sean Morris @slamteacher and Jesse Stommel @Jessifer and will begin Sunday, January 6, 2013."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59737

  811. Anmeldung
    Monika Koenig, Dörte Giebel and Heinz Wittenbrink, MOOC, January 5, 2013
  812. Via email, the following: "We are offering a MOOC from 16 January onwards (till 22nd February). The course shall take place in a connectivistic manner (cMOOC), we call it 'MOOC Maker Course' as it will focus on the process of developing and running an Open Course. Hashtags at Twitter and Google+ are either #howtomooc or #mmc13. Unfortunately information in our blog is provided in German, you might find it interesting to have a quick look at it nevertheless. The URL is What makes the MOOC special (at least in our opinion) is that we created some special roles to involve all interested folks in different ways. E.g. there are so-called 'reflectors' and even some “wiki supporters” as we will work out a sort of howtomooc-tutorial in a wiki (the URL is not open yet)."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59739

  813. Outlook for online learning in 2013: online learning comes of age
    Tony Bates, Online Learning and Distance Education Resources, January 7, 2013
  814. As promised, Tony Bates has tallied a number of predictions for 2013 and beyond, each with probabilities attached. Some of them are vague and probably ("online learning starts to become a core activity", "hybrid learning... which I mean the re-design of courses to integrate the best of online and campus-based teaching"), some of them are unsuprising ("the evolution of MOOCs: the trough of disillusionment") and some of them are pretty niche ("online learning increasingly appearing as strategic initiatives within institutional plans"). I think the more significant predictions concern outsourcing ("some institutions outsourcing all or a significant part of their online learning activities to organizations such as Academic Partnerships, Pearson or its subsidiaries, or 2U") and open textbooks.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59749

  815. Growth for Online Learning
    Doug Lederman, Inside Higher Ed, January 8, 2013
  816. Online learning has yet to show a plateau, according to the 2012 iteration of the Babson Survey Research Group's annual Survey of Online Learning. According to the study, more than 30 percent of all enrollments were in online classes (see diagram, above). The same survey reviews attitudes regading MOOCs, generally displaying divided opinions. "A small fraction (2.6 percent) of the roughly 2,500 responding colleges said they currently have massive open courses, and another 9.4 percent said they are planning one." (p.s. the term MOOC was not coined by Dave Barwick, no matter what the report says - as is widely known, it was coined by Bryan Alexander and Dave Cormier in 2008 to describe CCK08).

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59752

  817. Introduction to Openness in Education, the 2013 Edition
    David Wiley, iterating toward openness, January 8, 2013
  818. I'm not sure whether to call it a MOOC or an open course or what, but readers will be interested to know of the launch of David Wiley's latest iteration of "Introduction to Openness in Education", a staple since 2007. "The course is currently “full” in the Canvas Network. International interest looks strong (Go Iceland! Go Seychelles!)... However, since most of the course action really occurs on your blog, twitter, youtube, and delicious accounts (this is important: read why), you can still participate fully in the course even though you can’t register in Canvas. Just add your name and blog post to the same Google Form course participants are using, and you’ll get aggregated in the course RSS feed just like everyone else." One wonders, why use Canvas then? If there's an upper limit, that would seem to me to be broken.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59755

  819. Enter the MOOC
    Todd Krohn, The Power Elite, January 9, 2013
  820. A fairly typical reaction: "While I don't see MOOC's "democratizing higher education" (which I think is a euphemism for "watering down content," see below), I do believe their value as a continuing education conduit cannot be overstated. They offer individuals a chance to brush up on certain skills, learn a new skill set, or simply explore a subject they were always interested in but never got to when they were younger. They offer companies a relatively cheap way to re-train workers and improve the skill set of their employees." Nobody seems to have anything new to say about MOOCs, suggesting that nobody really knows anything about them (this does not stop them from opining, however).

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59777

  821. Could a MOOCI Contribute to the Education of the World’s Most Impoverished Children?
    John Connell, Weblog, January 9, 2013
  822. Let's map out the core dilemma that produces the idea (quoting from the text):

    • good-quality teaching should be central to good educational provision, and most especially for the education of young children
    • there is a massive shortage of good-quality teachers across the developing world

    OK, so do MOOCs here here? Maybe, but John Connell writes, "I, for one, am less sure that the course-ness of the con­cept has to be a given.... so many of them have no access to good teach­ing, I can’t but help won­der how the MOOC might be taken, reshaped, and made into some­thing that could begin to ame­lio­rate some of the worst effects of that gen­er­ally awful situation. I have problems with this article because it really misconstrues MOOCs as "a lin­ear, struc­tured, com­pre­hen­si­ble process in which ideas or con­cepts or infor­ma­tion are intro­duced, dis­cussed, dis­sected," etc. I get what he wants - we've been talking about it here for years under the heading 'personal learning environment'. But I think he still wants it 'supervised' and 'safe' - hence, 'classroom'.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59781

  823. UbuWeb
    Various Authors, Website, January 10, 2013
  824. Jim Groom points to this website that compiles generally obscure but always intresting audio and video records. For example, right now on the front page we have The Films of Toshio Matsumoto, 1961-1987 (19 short experimental works by Matsumoto), Obscure Records (1975-78) [MP3] (the complete run of all 10 LPs from Brian Eno's legendary record label), and Robert Hughes - Shock of the New (1982) (eight part documentary that offers a comprehensive view on the development of modernist art). Too bad there's no RSS - perhaps someone could make one for them with Feed43. Groom comments, "the fact that UbuWeb has been operating for free for 17 years is amazing. With all the blood, money, and ink shed over MOOCs concomitant with the endless discussions of the future of education, it’s refreshing to see a university do something that actually matters as a public service."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59783

  825. About MOOC Completion Rates: The Importance of Student Investment
    Tucker Balch January 11, 2013
  826. When you look at how many people clicked on the login form, completion rates in a MOOC are very low. But when you look at those who completed teh first assignment, completion rates are much higher. Investment matters. "We need to recognize that completion rates for MOOCs really have a different meaning than those for regular university courses. This is mainly because of the differing level of investment the students make from the start." Making students pay might raise the completion rate, suggests Tucker Balch, who just fin ished teaching a Coursera MOOC in which 53,000 students signed up and 4.8 percent completed. But one wonders what the purpose of such a measure would be. "If we continue to keep the barrier to entry low, we’ll enable students to taste many many courses, and that may be a good thing for education."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59803

  827. Unthinking Technophilia
    Jennifer Cost, et. al., Inside Higher Ed, January 15, 2013
  828. A collection of Six community college faculty members have taken it upon themselves to denounce MOOCs on the grounds that "MOOCs are designed to impose, not improved learning, but a new business model on higher education, which opens the door for wide-scale profiteering." I thought about writing a reply, but I thought instead about this article, also in Inside Higher Ed, which states (to quote the newsletter) "Union College in Kentucky typically loses half its freshman class before the second year begins, so its new president has made students a promise: If they stay, work hard, and get involved, they won't see a bill for their last semester before graduation." And I'm thinking, who exactly are the profiteers here? Half the class at this college gets nothing for their investment of tuition and a year of their lives, but it's the other guys that are profiteering? The enthusiasm for MOOCs has nothing to do with technophilia. It has everything to do with a system that is more and more frequently being seen as the problem, not the solution.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59826

  829. As California Goes?
    Paul Fain, Inside Higher Ed, By Paul Fain, Inside Higher Ed, January 16, 2013
  830. California has taken centre stage in the discussions around online learning and MOOCs in recent weeks, prompted by passage of tax increases (see more and more) to cover rising deficits in the state's higher education system. An organization called 20 Million Minds (20MM) organized a conference to discuss proposals. E-Literate provided very good coverage of the event, which was called Re:Boot California Higher education - a post listing statements made before the conference, some opening thoughts from Michael Feldstein, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg's introduction, and bottleneck courses. At WCET, Phil Hill describes the state's increasing rolein the governance of the system.

    What will the future hold in the rethought California system? Tanya Roscorla summarizes three major points:

    • One idea or technology will not solve higher education's affordability problem.
    • An adversarial relationship won't work within or outside of higher ed.
    • Education leaders must look forward and think creatively to make higher education relevant.

    These are addressed especially at the introduction of MOOCs, but other voices are speaking of an expanded role for MOOCs in the system. The NY Times reports on a big push for the open courses.  The system will experiment with offering credit for MOOCs - see coverage by Audrey Watters. But there is pushback. Some argue it will only help companies selling software. And there are alaso calls for clickers and peer instruction (in a post that seems curiously out of touch).

    Tony Bates observes, "California appears likely to be a key battle ground regarding the role of the private sector and online learning in post-secondary education." Maybe, but there are other issues at stake as well. As Feldstein writes, Part of the problem, I think, is that we have grafted modern ideals onto what is essentially still an aristocratic model for education." The problem, to my mind, is that the aristocrats - the professors - fundamentally don't care whether the sysem is accessable or affordable. Tha's what has to change. Feldstein proposes:

    • aggressive program of experimentation and evaluation
    • a data-driven and public conversation about the cost and sustainability models
    • personas and use cases that help the stakeholder groups have focused and productive conversations

    I think the initiatives have to reach beyond mere planning (there's always the clarion call from  professors for "more research" and a "coordinated program" and an "emphasis on quality", but at a certain point it becomes more important to do than to plan, to try a bunch of things on a larger scale and take notes about what worked and what didn't).

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59829

  831. 5 Wishes for the Next Stage of Online Learning
    Unattributed, Contact North, Contact North, January 16, 2013
  832. Interesting discussion paper from Contact North that doesn't stay with the usual observaions and recommendations typical of such papers. Surveying what was important in 2012, the author points to the arricval of MOOCs (ofcourse) but also at new approaches to credit recognition and private sector engagement. The second is most important - the idea that we can't transfer credit from one institution to another is a relic of the Medieval age. The "wishes" for 2013 are as follows:

    • a focus on pedagogy - "In higher education, especially university graduate programs, the focus for learning
    • is more on discovery and exploration"
    • supporting and maintaining academic service standards for all students
    • a focus "on increasing access to and success in college and university 'gateway' courses"
    • e-Apprenticeship - "thinking about how we educate for trades, how we supervise trades trainees and how we build on a trades education"
    • better data and analytics - "simple and reliable data is not available for reasonable policy and strategic review and analysis."

    These are reasonable wishes, and I appreciate the emphasis on practical approaches to solveproblems of access, effectiveness and affordability.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59830

  833. Peeragogy
    By Jay Cross, January 16, 2013
  834. Jay Cross introduces a new handbook and resource guide authored by a group of people including himself and Howard Rheingold called Peeragogy. "This project seeks to empower the worldwide population of self-motivated learners who use digital media to connect with each other, to co-construct knowledge, to co-learn." It's a nice concept, and something that has been at the core of the work we have been doing here on MOOCs. This overview gives you a good sense of the concept. The connection with MOOCs is evident in the section on How to Organize a MOOC. There's a lot more - explore using the menus on the lefty. Give yourself a few hours for this one.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59835

  835. The Open University releases ROLE eBook
    ROLE - Responsive Open Learning Environments, January 17, 2013
  836. The Open University has released a book on ROLE. This is good, as ROLE - Responsive Open Learning Environments - is a major project covering many aspects of recent work in fields such as Personal Learning Environments (which some of us in MOOC-mania haven't forgotten). Unfortunately, I can't provide a review, since I'm in the office and hence using my PC Desktop, not an Apple or iPad, and the book was deveped, as neatly as I can tell, exclusively for the Apple platform. There isn't even a PDF - the 'download' they provide is a specialized .ibook format (there's a fun discussion on the Apple support website). OU is generally better than this, which makes me wonder what sent them off the rails this time.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59838

  837. Stanford Makes Open Source Platform, Class2Go, Available to All; Launches MOOC on Platform Today
    By Dan Colman, Open Culture, January 17, 2013
  838. Open Culture covers "Stanford’s Class2Go. The platform is open, meaning that you can grab the code base for free and run it on your very own server. Class2Go is also portable, giving schools the ability to move documents and media to other platforms if they so choose. The Stanford platform is interoperable in the sense that it builds on existing software (MySQL, Github, Piazza, MySQL, Python Django, etc.). And, unlike some other platforms, Class2Go gives educators immediate access to valuable data, allowing them to make refinements to the educational experience." I read some thing about how great Python is and how that's why they used it to develop Class2Go. You can view the code library here. I've looked at Django in the past for my own work but decided to go with a much lighter Perl backend (and to use things like JQuery and Bootstrap to do the client-side work). The other thing I don't have, of course, is Stanford's PR department (or anything resembling that). Anyhow, Class2Go has been around for a few months now.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59839

  839. MOOCs: ‘dropout’ a category mistake, look at ‘uptake’?
    By Donald Clark, Donald Clark Plan B, January 17, 2013
  840. Donald Clark is on point in this reframing of the 'dropout argument' against MOOCs: "We need to look at uptake, not dropout. It’s astonishing that MOOCs exist at all, never mind the millions, and shortly many millions, who have given them a go. Dropout is a highly pejorative term that comes from ‘schooling’. The ‘high school dropout’. He’s ‘dropped out of ‘University’. It's this pathological view of education that has got us into this mess in the first place. MOOCs are NOT school, they eschew the lecture hall and are more about learning than teaching. MOOCs, like BOOKs, need to be seen as widely available opportunities, not compulsory attendance schooling. They need to be encouraged, not disparaged." And not just that - the cost of dropping an open online course is effectively zero, as compared to a cost of thousands when dropping a university course. Via Seb Schmoller.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59841

  841. What Makes a MOOC Massive?
    By Stephen Downes, Half an Hour, January 17, 2013
  842. I've been asked this a few times recently, so I thought I should expend a few paragraphs describing the difference between online courses that are and are not 'massive'. I argue, first, that it's not the raw count of participants that's important, but how the course is structured. It's not simply a big course. Then given that caveat I go on to explain that a course needs 150 active participants to be thought of as 'massive' - this because 150 people - Dunbar's Number - is more than any one person can attend to, and hence is a course that will resist groupish properties (such as an emphasis on sameness rather than diversity).

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59842

  843. Lessons learned from wrestling with a MOOC
    By Robert Talbert, Casting Out Nines, January 18, 2013
  844. I think it's useful to include opportunity cost when calculating the cost of an eductaion. A case in point: the free MOOC. Robert Talbert reports, "this week has me reconsidering the notion that MOOCs are “free”. They may not cost anything, but there is an expense, namely time. That '3–5 hour workload' estimate turned out to be wildly underestimated, at least for newbies like me." It makes me think of my own university experience - while other people used weekends to socialize, work on projects and network, I was pulling my two weekend night-shifts at 7-Eleven. Sure, I did fine - but it was only after I quit my night job that I scored a perfect 4.0 GPA. Makes me wonder what I could have done had my background been silver spoon rather than Splurpee straw.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59845

  845. The Learning Technologist Becomes A Luddite
    By Lanny Arvan, Lanny on Learning Technology, January 18, 2013
  846. Lanny Arvan has never learned to write concisely (I've written to him about this - he says it's his style) so you'll have to wade through mounds of verbiage to get to the essential point. Which is this: "you're a Luddite if you are ok in using the technology but think it largely should be a complement to face-to-face instruction, not a substitute for it." He's responding to a post by Nathan Harden in American interest touting the end of the university as we know it. There's a lot of self-gratification in these kinds of posts celebrating the rise of MOOCs as we know them, as too-eager reformers tout the long-awaited defenestration of the tenured professoriate and the system that supports them. But supporting writers like Harden isn't the same as supporting learning technology, and opposing them doesn't need to mean seeing everything as an adjunct to the traditional institution. They're both Luddites, both the smug sycophant from Yale and the wordy academic who sees no good coming from anywhere outside his own classroom.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59847

  847. #diffimooc Launches next week: Differenting instruction in a MOOC
    By Vicki A. Davis, Cool Cat Teacher Blog, January 18, 2013
  848. Vicki Davis introduces a post describing a new MOOC from the frozen north: "Next week will be the official start of the Differentiating Instruction through Technology #diffimooc offered by the University of Alaska Southeast. This class is designed to help pre-service, in-service, formal or informal teachers in gaining strategies to differentiate student instruction through the environment, through process and through product. We’ll be exploring ways to collect, aggregate, and manage student information, models for differentiating the classroom process such as the flipped classroom and problem based learning, and giving students a choice of products to demonstrate their content knowledge through technology." And I can say "frozen north" even though it's -20 today (giving me a nasty sinus headache).

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59848

  849. Thoughts from a MOOC Pioneer
    By Gene Roche, Academic Technology, January 23, 2013
  850. We hear the same lesson from "MOOC pioneers" every time they report on their experience: "Producing decent video takes much more skill and concentration than it would seem." What else? Interestingly, Scott E. Page’ reports, "the constraints of sharing video with the entire world and trying to keep it reusable strips out much of the humor, the personal stories, and the other emotional content that make even average lectures more engaging than carefully produced video.  One student noted, 'You don’t seem to care as much in the videos.' He notes that he gets asked to speak on MOOCs in lots of settings, but, when he offers to send a video, almost no one takes him up on it. They want face-to-face interaction."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59865

  851. Public Universities to Offer Free Online Classes for Credit
    By Tamar Lewin, New York Times, January 24, 2013
  852. We continue to move incrementally toward a reconfiguration of the educational system. "Dozens of public universities plan to offer an introductory online course free and for credit to anyone worldwide, in the hope that those who pass will pay tuition to complete a degree program." So, basically, you get and pass your intro course for free, get credit, and maybe purchase the whole package from the institution. "We’re taking the MOOC idea, but now it will be part of a degree program, not a novelty," said Randy Best, the chairman of Academic Partnerships, a company that helps public universities move their courses online. See also coverage in the Chronicle and also good analysis of the trend toward 'school as a service' on e_literate by Phil Hill.

    I especially agree with this: "Randy Best, founder and chairman of Academic Partnerships, said that the real megatrend is not the emergence of MOOCs, but rather the move to universal, affordable access to education. This populist view runs contrary to 2U, Coursera, Udacity and edX, all of which target elite universities, betting that their brands and faculty are important to attract large numbers of students." As Hill writes, "this is another key milestone in the rapid transformation of MOOCs into the next generation – in combination with Instructure’s launch of the Canvas Network, Udacity’s move to MOOC 2.0, and the American Council on Education’s moves to recommend credits for MOOCs."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59873

  853. Revolution Hits the Universities
    By Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times, January 28, 2013
  854. Thomas L. Friedman gushes about MOOCs. "I can see a day soon where you’ll create your own college degree by taking the best online courses from the best professors from around the world — some computing from Stanford, some entrepreneurship from Wharton, some ethics from Brandeis, some literature from Edinburgh — paying only the nominal fee for the certificates of completion. It will change teaching, learning and the pathway to employment." I think we need to understand that 'best' does not mean (as it currently seems to) 'best marketed', and that the entire world will be competing to offer online learning, not just the Harvard-Stanford-MIT nexus.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59893

  855. Moving Towards a Culture of Learning #MOOCs
    By Miguel Guhlin, Around the, January 28, 2013
  856. Miguel Guhlin (citing Lisa M. Lane) divides MOOCs into three categories:

    • Network-based MOOCs - "the goal is not so much content and skills acquisition, but conversation, socially constructed knowledge, and exposure to the milieu of learning on the open web using distributed means."
    • Task-based MOOCs - "emphasize skills in the sense that they ask the learner to complete certain types of work."
    • Content-based MOOCs - "the ones with huge enrollments, commercial prospects, big university professors, automated testing, and exposure in the popular press..."

    People haven't really been talking about the task-based courses, but these are probably the most interesting of the bunch, as the tasks can be automated, and the system can step you through a series of actvities. Here I'm thinking of sites like Duolingo, which steps you through language instruction, or Codecademy, which teaches you Python (among other things).

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59896

  857. MOOC-Covered Towers? Online Education's Coming Impact on Traditional College
    By Scott D. Miller, Huffington Post, January 28, 2013
  858. I tend not to link to Huffington Post articles because the pages have so many widgets they're unpleasant to read. But I wanted to like to this item, the upshot of which is "The challenge is to figure out how to embrace MOOCs and other technological innovations so that they best complement, not replace, that primary and original learning experience." Fair enough, but as Lydia Cline points our in an article, Udacity recently sold a MOOC to San Jose State University, and she suggests (in this LinkedIn thread) that "what I see happening is the flagship MOOC providers (the ones run by Ivy League profs) selling canned courses to all other schools, and the profs at those schools being turned into TAs for the courses. Or just fired and replaced with cheaper TAs." Of course, thus has ever been the lament of traditional faculty regarding online learning. And it begs the question: if they can be replaced by a MOOC, for half the cost or less, why shouldn't they be. Most responses are, if course, in the form of "well they can't be." Well, fine, if so then do what you do and quality will out. But what about the oither possibility? What then?

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59900

  859. Examining the true meaning of Davos
    By Don Tapscott, Globe and Mail, and , Mail, January 30, 2013
  860. Don Tapscott writes in the Globe and Mail about how people misunderstand Davos (if you've tripped the paywall after reading the Globe's defense of the one percent, I'm sorry, though you can always read the paper they lifted the content from directly(cite)) and that they shouldn't comment from afar ("much like someone describing what is happening on the surface of Mars when they’re not there"). That's like saying you shouldn't criticize TED unless you've been to TED, or that you shouldn't criticize billionaires unless you're a billionaire. Anyhow. Tapscott says, "The key point is that the Forum is really an example of a new model of global problem solving, co-operation and governance." Because, you know, democracy is so inconvenient.

    Take e-learning, for example. "In another meeting hosted a private Ukrainian foundation, educators, policy makers and business people had sessions dealing with higher education, and the potential for massive open online courses, or MOOCs. Representatives from Harvard, Stanford and MIT all came to Davos to discuss the issue." Because that's how things get decided in the wonderful post-democratic world of Davos. Don't worry about voting; rich people will get together and talk about it. The people from the elite institutions gather with their former students, talk about the latest advances in education (or unemployment, or international development), pat themselves on the back for 'inventing' something, then talk about how they'll monetize it. No, I'll never get to Davos. I don't have the stomach for it.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59907

  861. Both MOOCs and Textbooks Will End Up Courseware
    By Mike Caulfield, Hapgood, January 30, 2013
  862. Where are MOOCs headed? Not toward massive classes, writes Mike Caulfield. "It’s broadly used courseware — software that provides much of the skeleton of standard classes the way publisher texts do today." That's my call as well. He continues, "it’s not a new shift, either. It’s been quietly happening for quite a long time now. And after all the talk about first tier schools and massive class sizes burn off, we’ll be left with questions we’ve been asking for quite a long time now: What is courseware? What can it do/not do? What are its implications?" I had fun with this web page reloading it and reading the ads for new and improved courseware at the bottom (One of them is pictured above - I thought it was part of the article at first, but it's just some ad network).

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59912

  863. Treating MOOC Platforms as Websites to be Optimised, Pure and Simple…
    By Tony Hirst, OUseful Info, January 30, 2013
  864. More stuff on the tech front - this is from a Tony Hirst post where he looks (sceptically) at FutureLearn. What does it mean to say "the USP is going to relate to the quality of teaching/pedagogy?" Anbd will it be open? How much will be drawn from Moodle? Meanwhile, he notes "I notice that JISC Advance’s Generic eMarketplace (or GeM) for Work Based Learning ('gemforwbl', or looking at the logo, 'gee em for weeble'? (will it wobble? will it fall down?) is now open and ready for business… and as for the logo, what on earth is it supposed to represent?" Another example, probably, of management shooting and missing - but still, you can tell there are some solid ideas behind these projects.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59913

  865. Here a MOOC, There a MOOC: But Will It Work for Freshman Composition?
    By Karen Head, The Chronicle: Wired Campus Blog, January 30, 2013
  866. Interesting post on some of the dynamics of teaching in Coursera. "A representative from Coursera (the platform we must use) contacted recipients of the Gates MOOC grants asking all the recipients to form a collaborative led by a Coursera representative to discuss course design. While the explicit message was one of helpfulness, the implicit message felt intrusive and seemed more about Coursera’s desire to ensure a certain continuity of experience for its users."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59917

  867. Free Course, Inexpensive Exam
    By Paul Fain, Inside Higher Ed, February 4, 2013
  868. More on the same story, with a few new players. "students can use free course content from providers like the Saylor Foundation and Education Portal to study for “challenge exams,” probably the fastest and most inexpensive way to earn credits. The examinations, like those offered by Excelsior College and the College Board’s College Level Examination Program (CLEP), are designed to test whether students grasp the concepts that would be taught in a conventional classroom version." What's important is that the tests are accepted as rigorous. So this is what's shaking out as the stage-one model: MOOCs as a replacement for the first-year cattle courses.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59927

  869. How NOT to Design a MOOC: The Disaster at Coursera and How to Fix it
    By Debbie Morrison, online learning insights, February 4, 2013
  870. As I've told people in the past, what makes a MOOC a MOOC is that it i set up to use distributed resources, not centralized resources. It was inevitable that Coursera would learn this lesson the hard way. As one commenter said, "Wowzers, 40,000 students signed up for considering google spreadsheets limit of 50 simultaneous editors ... not a good choice!" and "Egads, this group thing in is a giant clusterf*." Debbie Morrison analyzes the causes of the failure: a problem with the Google spreadsheet used to join groups. She also notes, "Instructions for the group work in this  course are vague. It is not clear what the groups are for, or why one needs to join a group." The course? Coursera, Fundamentals of Online Education: Planning and Application.See also: Steve Krause.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59928

  871. Educon: Unraveling the Textbook
    By Tim Stahmer, assortedstuff, February 4, 2013
  872. Tim Stahmer, reflecting on Educon (and linking to a few of the wonderful reflections written by others) jots down a few short notes about textbooks. "A replacement for the textbook should

    • be accessible on any device, anywhere
    • allow users to add comments
    • allow certain users (teachers, trusted students) to add and update materials
    • have a social media component to allow users to discuss the materials
    • have content controlled by educators, not publishers."

    The fact that this would completely disrupt the textbook industry should tell us something. Related and relevant: Mike Caulfield, maybe colleges should worry less about moocs and more about textbook companies.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59933

  873. Complexity Explorer
    Santa Fe Institute, Portland State University, February 5, 2013
  874. This looks like an interesting MOOC, and I've signed up: "The topics you'll learn about include dynamics, chaos, fractals, information theory, self-organization, agent-based modeling, and networks. You’ll also get a sense of how these topics fit together to help explain how complexity arises and evolves in nature, society, and technology. There are no prerequisites."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59936

  875. How Knowledge Workers Learn Judgment
    By Nancy Dixon, Conversation Matters, February 5, 2013
  876. Interesting post discussing how people who are knowledge workers learn how to make judgements "that require much more that simply following a predetermined step by step procedure." Lawyers, nurses, platoon leaders - all of these are examples of knowledge workers. The post reflects many of the principles we follow in MOOC desgn. "The corporate view... is that knowledge and skill are a matter of individual competence, which is gained by attending training, reading journals, and/or listening to lectures. The underlying assumptions of that view are that, 1) there are individuals with expertise who can provide the knowledge required to be effective, through documents or lecture, and 2) that the required knowledge is relatively stable, it changes little over time.

    "[But] as more and more of the workforce is populated by knowledge workers our premise about of how people develop the judgment to be effective is changing. The newer view holds that: 1. complex knowledge and skills are distributed across the practitioners who use that skill, with no one individual knowing all that the group knows, and 2. knowledge is continually changing as the group of practitioners learn from the act of practicing their craft. Ideas are not fixed and elements of thought are formed and reformed through experience. Knowledge then is not stable, but is ever changing." Knowledge workers learn from experience, by identifying patterns, and through immersion in their community. Just like in a MOOC.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59937

  877. American Council on Education Recommends 5 MOOCs for Credit
    By Steve Kolowich, The Chronicle: Wired Campus Blog, February 7, 2013
  878. Today's big MOOC news (is there any day these days without big MOOC news?) is that the American Council on Education has recommended five MOOCs for credit, all offered through the Coursera platform. According to the article, "the approval of the first Coursera MOOCs is 'an important first step in ACE's work to examine the long-term potential of MOOCs' to deal with issues such as 'degree completion, increasing learning productivity, and deepening college curricula,' said Molly Corbett Broad, the council's president, in a written statement." Of course, now colleges will need to accept these credits as (say) equivalent to credit for advance placement courses (and into the labyrinth we go, sorting out course accreditation among hundreds of separate college programs).

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59947

  879. Analyzing MOOCs – A SWOT Analysis
    By Andrew Spinner, February 7, 2013
  880. The article pretty much delivers on what the title promises - a straightforward SWOT analysis of MOOCs. It's pretty informally written, and it focuses mostly on the ever-popular xMOOC form offered by Coursera and Udacity and the like.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59948

  881. #MOOC disasters are human and part of educational innovation and why sandboxes are good
    By Inge de Waard, Ignatia Webs, February 8, 2013
  882. Inge de Waard writes, "my heart really goes out to Fatimah Wirth, for she dared to test new approaches but ... fell into the trap that all of us tend to fall into at one time or another: dreaming and as a result wanting to go too far, too quickly." She is referring of course to the recent Coursera course that was cancelled due to a failure of the system usedto assign students into groups. I think she makes a good point - in many contexts, you would simply pick up the pieces and muddle through, but in strict regimented formal education there was no choice but to cancel the course. "It is the formal part of the course that got people anxious. Formality puts a much bigger demand on any course: instructions, time, ... Informality keeps it  easier to adapt and be creative." I live for informality; when people start structuring what I do, my first inclination is to run for the hills, where I can be free agin.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59950

  883. Your Massively Open Offline College Is Broken
    By Clay Shirky, The Awl, February 8, 2013
  884. Good comprehensive discussion from Clay Shirky on some of the drivers underlying th concept of the MOOC. "For all our good will, college in the U.S. has gotten worse for nearly everyone who relies on us. For some students—millions of them—the institutions in which they enroll are more reliable producers of debt than education. This has happened on our watch. The competition from upstart organizations will make things worse for many of us. (I like the experiments we’ve got going at NYU, but I don’t fantasize that we'll be unscathed.) After two decades of watching, though, I also know that that’s how these changes go. No industry has ever organized an orderly sharing of power with newcomers, no matter how interesting or valuable their ideas are, unless under mortal threat." I remember fifteen years ago exchanging banter with Conrad Albertson in Brandon to the effect that the barbarians were at the gates. It has been a long siege. But we are beginning to see the walls waver. This is a good thing, for a lot of people, a lot of us, who are on the outside.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59953

  885. The missing perspective(s) on MOOCs?
    By David T. Jones, The Weblog of (a) David Jones, February 11, 2013
  886. David Jones criticizes a presentation by John Daniel on the future of education (available here). He writes, "Sir John’s talk focused entirely on xMOOCs. There was no mention whatsoever of cMOOCs." Why is this significant? "Senior management taking it upon themselves to analyse and determine how best the institution can navigate these 'turbulent times' informed mostly by their experiences and the abstractions of interest to those operating at a strategic or institutional level. The absence of other perspectives suggest they are more likely to miss the boat, than successful navigate to another port." They understand the didactic model as practiced by traditional institutions. But the cMOOCs were something quite different from that - and outside their, and John Daniel's, experience.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59966

  887. The business of MOOCs: how to profit from giving away something for nothing
    By David Glance, The Conversation, February 13, 2013
  888. The discussion in the comments is much more emlightening than the article itself, which is essentially a restatement of how to profit from giving something away for free, with references to online music, news, etc. - the presumption that online learning should somehow be 'sustainable' is itself never questioned (indeed, the author explicitly describes how revenues from tuition have traditionally subsidized university research). Oh, and to correct one earror early in the comments, the C in MOOC stands for 'Course', not "Courseware' (though the presumption implicit in the error is interesting).

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59974

  889. MOOCs instead of open education
    By Bryan Alexander, February 15, 2013
  890. The open access declarations, notes Bryan Alexander, are now more than ten years old. So why the interest in MOOCs now, when in fact open access had been around for more than a decade? It's not simply that it's The New. It's partially because it is supported by the elite institutions (though read the comments about why EdX hasn't received the publicity of Coursera and Udacity), partially because it fits the narrative that "education is broken and we need the Silicon Valley to fix it" and partially because, from an institutional point of view, open educational resources are expensive while taking part in a MOOC is (nearly) free.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59981

  891. A Language Learning MOOC – Thoughts & Vision
    By Glen Cochrane, A Point of Contact, February 15, 2013
  892. A 'Language MOOC' (or LMOOC) is a MOOC created for the purpose of helping participants learn a language. As can be imagined, the conversational format of an LMOOC lends itself well to this purpose. English Eco is an example of an LMOOC. What's interesting is that it is open to facilitators as well as to students - anyone can create a topic of discussion, set it up, and carrty it out over a two-week priod. My main comment would be that it is not clear when this MOOC starts, whether it has already started, whether there is a topic currently underway, how I access that topic, and how I take part. There needs to be, in other words, a clear 'on ramp' for participants.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59982

  893. Course Sprint Creative Commons
    By Stephen Downes, Billy Meinke, YouTube, February 15, 2013
  894. Informal online chat I had with Billy Meinke, from Creative Commons, on the course he's developing on open scientific data (I mentioned the course in a post a few days ago, here). We talked about some of the mechanics of setting up an open course, how an open course would use open data, the role of badges in a course, and issues related to managing an open online course. I think people interested in starting their own MOOCs will find this discussion useful.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59984

  895. The MOOCs that ate themselves
    By Martin Weller, The Ed Techie, February 15, 2013
  896. Martin Weller outlines "quite a depressing scenario" that may unfold as MOOCs follow invaiably the part set out by Coursera and the rest of them (I don't think that will happen - but that's a separate story):

    • They become unsustainable - a good MOOC is so expensive to put on that it simply isn't worth doing. You're providing it for free after all.
    • Only elite institutions offer them - given the expense, only those institutions who have the money, or the skills to produce broadcast quality content will provide them.
    • They are conservative - as Georgia Tech found, it's better not to try anything risky or innovative, because the cost of failure is too great.
    • MOOC failure will be costly - if you fail publicly and damage your own, and your institution's reputation, don't expect them to give you promotion. So why risk it?

    I agree this would be depressing - but I think what's happening is that after this first burst of MOOCs using these (quickly built) platforms, we are seeing an unveiling of many more MOOCs on any number of different platforms. Which means they won't be controlled by the big elite institutions (as if they ever could be) and that there will be tens of thousands of them in short order. Yes, then the bubble will burst, but the fact of open online education will have been established. [Image by David Kernohan]

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59985

  897. A Few Thoughts on MOOC Credit (and “Life” credit)
    By Steven D. Krause,, February 15, 2013
  898. I got into this discussion about badges with Billy Meinke today (see the link to the video below) and one of the comments I made is that, with the sort of MOOCs I'm thinking about, your contributions are your badges. But it raises the whole question of credentialing and assessment in general. Steve Krause considers the question and ponders the business model - after all, he says, if you take all the mechanisms for 'granting credit' combined, that's still only about 500,000 students - "that isn’t exactly the Thomas Friedman-esque transformation of higher education as we know it, is it?" And while granting credit seems to be the monetization path for a lot of people (because the presumption is always that it just must be monetized) I wonder what happens to credit based on contributions in such a scenario. Do we just forget them?

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59986

  899. Visualizing the community neocortex
    By Fred Bartels, Icl - Meta MOOC Explorations, February 17, 2013
  900. Interesting 'meta MOOC' community created by Fred Bartels and an interesting diagram (above) capturing nicely the model of MOOCs as I see them (the people working in neural networks and connectionism will recognize it as a perceptual system, which is exactly what I think MOOCs are). There is I guess a Twitter conversation as shared here: "Playfully exploring meta ideas. Want to join in?   " but I didn't find it, just a jpeg of some posts.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59989

  901. T3S1: Digital Literacies with Dr. Doug Belshaw
    By Doug Belshaw, Slideshare, February 17, 2013
  902. Good set of slides from a Doug Belshaw presentation to #etmooc on Monday (hard to gauge the exact time - the schedule says "all times eastern" but then posts times inside a Google Calendar, which automatically corrects time zones). I don't agree with Belshaw's 'essential elements' of digital literacies (in particular I object to 'cultural' and 'civic' and have my doubts about 'confident' - but this objection is of course couched within my own definition of critical literacies) but I do agree with his observations that literacy is multi-faceted and graduated. See also

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59990

  903. edcmooc interesting
    Flickriver, February 18, 2013
  904. This is a link to a seemingly endless set of images related to edcmooc (and MOOCs in general) generated as a result of a week 3 contest in the open online course. I'm not sure what the licensing is, but it seems to me that what we have here is a bottomless supply of slides for PowerPoint presentations on MOOCs. From the same MOOC, a Hangout on Air featuring Jen Ross and others from the course team. I also tried to view the resources but it's insisting that I login before I can see anything - tsk, that's the oppositeof open. I guess that's how Coursera inflates 'registration' statistics. Image: Connected by lisainglasses

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59994

  905. Making Search Engines Work for Education Resources
    By John K. Waters, THE Journal, February 20, 2013
  906. This article unwittingly makes the case both for and against the Learning Resource Metadata Initiative (LRMI). The idea of such an initiative is to help educators find resources to support learning either in the classroom or online. But this, we are told, is very difficult. "Try this for information overload: Open your favourite browser, and in the search box type 'multiplying fractions.' In about a quarter of a second, you'll find yourself buried in more than 4 million results. Four million." Sounds daunting, right? But I modified the query slightly, to "how to multiply fractions" and got 812,000 results. Still sounds bad? No - every one of the results on page 1 was a perfectly good explanation of how to multiply fractions. The problem for LRMI is that it's pretty hard to improve on that, and it's not clear that it's necessary. Indeed, that's why the next step in online learning was to evolve from assigning resources, as they do in traditional learning, to enabling learner choice, as we do in MOOCs.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59995

  907. Posts About MOOCs
    By Stephen Downes, Stephen's Web ~ OLDaily, February 20, 2013
  908. So I thought it was pretty impressive when Jay Cross posted a list of 195 posts about MOOCs yesterday. Authoritative. Then I got to thinking, did some checking, and realized that I have personally authored 453 posts about MOOCs. This link is to that page, and I've set it to automatically update weekly, so there will always be a current list. Meanwhile, I went over to and found that since last July that site had aggregated 3708 posts about MOOCs. So I think between the two sites we've got the topic pretty much covered.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59996

  909. When MOOCs melt down
    By Robert Talbert, Casting Out Nines, February 20, 2013
  910. In the news this week is the story of a professor who quit his own MOOC half way through. The Chronicle provides one side of the story - "the problem had stemmed from Mr. McKenzie’s reluctance to loosen his grip on students who he thought were not learning well in the course" - but we read from these tweets quite a different perspective: "What he didn't like most was the students who WERE informed, but were fighting back on his rigorous rational economics model. He didn't like criticism from those knowledgeable at economics. And the text that was not free was HIS!" (Tweets combined and edited for spelling.) This is being depicted as a failure for Coursera, but I see it as a victory - one wonders what has been happening in Richard A. McKenzie's classroom over the years, with what appears to be a dysfunctional teaching style operating obscured from scrutiny. More links: here's the course, Microeconomics for Managers. Here is Mackenzie's video course and his YouTube channel. Coveage of the incident from the L.A. Times, GigaOM,

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 59997

  911. Beyond the Buzz, Where Are MOOCs Really Going?
    By Michael Horn, and , Clayton Christensen, Wired, February 21, 2013
  912. This post is evidence that you can't really predict where something is going if you don't understand the subject. The authors, trying to argue that MOOCs are a disruptive innovation, comment, "the big, reputable universities are the ones leading the MOOC wave. This includes MIT and Harvard (through edX) as well as Stanford, whose groundbreaking AI course morphed into Udacity (and whose professors independently founded Coursera)." Yes, that did happen - three years after the invention of the MOOC. The evidence that MOOCs are disruptive is that the commercial elites have signed on and invested millions. And where are they going? The elites have morphed MOOCs into their own image, and will be capturing media attention for a while - but the real innovation is continuing in the many non-elite MOOCs that are following a more distributed and open model. The future of MOOCs is as learing communities, not Napster on steroids. But don't try telling the magazine that predicted the long boom.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60001

  913. Apollo Group’s Technology Investments
    By Michael Feldstein, e-Literate, February 21, 2013
  914. People are going gaga over the hundred million or so collectively invested in MOOCs. It's an impressive spend, even if distributed across a number of companies, but dwarfed by the $1 billion investment Apollo Group is making to support "basically their entire learning- and learner-focused technology portfolio." Apollo Group, which owns the University of Phoenix and other online learning properties, may not be in the news so much these days, but it's still one of the dominant players in the field. This article reports on an interview with Apollo's Chief Innovation Officers and Executive Vice President, Rob Wrubel. A big focus for them is "getting the right mix of students in terms of their skills and abilities [that] can be critical to the success of the cohort," as well as learning analytics and (maybe) activity streams. Also, "He scoffed at using Google-like tricks to personalize learning through big data magic (which is very much in line with my recent critique). Instead, he talked about automating the thus-far labor-intensive process of discovering skill maps for different subjects and disciplines." This is good, smart stuff. The details matter, of course, but if I were investing a billion dollars, this would be where I put a good part of it.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60002

  915. The Most Thorough Description (to date) of University Experience with MOOC
    By Phil Hill, e-Literate, February 21, 2013
  916. I thought we have been pretty thorough with our own accounts of MOOCs (Rita Kop alone generated more description of our MOOCs than anything else I've seen) so I'm not willing to cede the title of "most thorough description" to this 21-page report(PDF). Too often pundits south of the border don't look north of the border before awarding attributions of 'first' or 'most' or 'best'. It seems to be a national characteristic.

    But my point here is to offer a counter-example to the model described in this report, because some of the numbers are astonishing. "Over 600 hours of effort were required to build and deliver the course, including more than 420 hours of effort by the instructor." And "Nearly 22 gigabytes of data files were created in connection with the course, including over 11 hours of video for the 8 week course. More than 1000 files were created including 97 'final' videos published to the Coursera course site (12 videos per week, plus a promotional video for the launch page)."

    You'd think no resources existed anywhere on Bioelectricity: A Quantitative Approach before this course was launched. But there are some 296,000 results in Google on bioelectricity. I looked through a few and while some are clearly off topic, the bulk of them are useful resources that could support an open online course. And I've said this before: the model of open online learning where you hire professors or other experts to build bespoke content is not sustainable. It's much more sustainable - and much more educational - to have the learning community source and where necessary create the learning content.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60004

  917. Future of the MOOC
    By Stephen Downes, George Siemens, YouTube, February 22, 2013
  918. I was in Philadelphia today to talk about MOOCs and online learning with George Siemens and staff at Philadelphia University, including especially provost Randy Swearer. We had a lot of fun and we both appreciated the relaxed and informal approach that allowed us to explore more deeply wherever the conversation took is. The result was two videos:

    The second one ends a bit suddenly as my computer runs out of power, but it's right at the end of the session and you don't miss anything.


    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60011

  919. Common Misperceptions of MOOCs and Open Learning
    By Trent Batson, Batson Blog, February 22, 2013
  920. Trent Batson makes a nice point in his response to the recent (and ill-informed) NY Times editorial on online learning: "with open learning, all connected humans have multiple sources of learning.  This is true right now.  But because most learners are not yet adjusted to guiding their own learning, they cannot yet take advantage of the riches of open learning.... This legacy 'one-way' mindset limits awareness of the multiple ways that learning can occur and how new learning designs can be varied and enticing."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60012

  921. MOOCs and Digital Diploma Mills: Forgetting Our History
    By David Wiley, iterating toward openness, February 25, 2013
  922. David Wiley wsrites, "When David Noble first published his groundbreaking critique of online education in 1998, Digital Diploma Mills: The Automation of Higher Education, I thought to myself 'he couldn’t be more wrong.' As it turns out he might not have been wrong – maybe Noble was simply so miraculously prescient that I couldn’t see what he saw." My comment is: Noble's error is the same today as it was in 1998: seeing commercialism in all online learning, instead of online learning as it is being used by commercial learning. Yes, there are 'digital diploma mills', just as there were in 1998, and yes, online learning is overhyped by those who oppose, and would like to do away with, the public education system. But that was also true in 1998. Online learning remains the last best hope to *prevent* the Noble scenario, but arguments such as his led (and still leads) a complacent professoriate to pretend it's just a commercial fad and will go away.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60014

  923. The 3 Ms, quality and instructional design of MOOCs
    By Sui Fai John Mak, Learner Weblog, February 26, 2013
  924. A writer in the Association of Governing Boards magazine gets to the point of online learning in this article: Mission, MOOCs, & Money. It's a reasonably good overview (though I would question awarding somebody working in the 1970s the title of "father of the MOOC" (for the simple reason there was no online). Sui Fai John Mak, writing in the context of the Governing Boards article, focuses on the major question the boards face:

    • Why are we online? Is the movement to or expansion of online education consistent with the institutional mission? Does and will it serve and advance the institutional mission? Or is the key issue in the discussion about online education—including any conversations about MOOCs—money?
    • How do we assess quality—that of our own online offerings and those of others, including the MOOCs?
    • What will it take to achieve our objectives in terms of online learning

    "In summary," he writes, "mission and money are now blended together when considering MOOCs under an institutional framework.  This seems to be a time where a critical mass of institutions and learners have justified the promotion and adoption of MOOCs in a global arena of Higher Education."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60015

  925. MOOC Paths directory – alternatives to a college programs of study
    MyEducationPath blog, February 26, 2013
  926. There's another MOOC directoryh, this one mapping the path to a degree via MOOCs. "In the directory there will be published paths to get education degree using MOOCs and online courses. We will publish paths that can be used as replacement of traditional college programs of study." It's an interesting approach, assuming (a) it's possible to get a degre via MOOC, which it currently isn't, and (b) people want to get a degree via MOOC, which sounds like a good idea now, but wait 'til they see the workload.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60017

  927. The Higher-Education Lobby Comes to Madison
    By Sara Goldrick-Rab, The Chronicle: The Conversation, February 26, 2013
  928. I'm not sure whether 'the higher education lobby' refers to the author of this article, or the speaker being commented upon. Not a good start. Sara Goldrick-Rab posts a 'conversation' where she restates the case for MOOCs advanced by Molly Corbett Broad, president of the American Council of Education (ACE), and then criticizes it. The case is the usual: economic pressurs are making a traditional education harder to obtain, at a time when it's needed more than ever. And concerns about quality can be addressed by organizations like ACE. Goldrick-Rab responds, "the picture Broad painted was not so much of higher education at a 'crossroads,' but rather a disturbing vision of colleges and universities frantically trying to pull up the drawbridge and create a new moat for their protection." Maybe, maybe not, but that's not the case for MOOCs. The case is the urgent need to extend education, and especially advanced education, to a much broader segment of society.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60021

  929. My first MOOC: diary of 1 of 24,000 students following a truly Massive Open Online Course
    By Aldo de Moor, Making CommunitySense, February 27, 2013
  930. This is interesting. It shows how deeply personally people take things like missing confirmation emails or links that don't work.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60024

  931. The Disruption Higher Ed Doesn’t See Coming
    By Scott Leslie, EdTechPost, February 27, 2013
  932. It's not MOOCs, says Scott Leslie. It's badges. As he comments, "when met with the prospect that the value of a University degree is under threat and that their 'market' will get as disrupted as the newspaper business, or travel agencies, etc., the response is simply 'yeah, but we’re the only one who can issue degrees that people trust.'" Break that monopoly (how can it not happen?) and the universities' main argument against, well, pretty much everything fades in to nothingness. And as he arues, "implemented in a robust, open way that really does allow a badge to represent learning at various scales (micro-lessons to full programs) and to be attested to, *bi-directionally*, by all the parties involved (learners, issuers, endorsers, “recognizers”) at scales ranging from the individual to the national, an open badge infrastructure opens the field to upstarts who really could disrupt the existing system." I don't think it's badges, per se, that will do the trick. But something will.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60028

  933. Business+MOOCs: the Hangout recording
    By Jay Cross, Internet Time Blog, February 27, 2013
  934. I rtook part in this Hanghout today with nine of my colleagues across the Moocosphere where we looked at the contradictions inherent in the concept of coporation s offering 'internal' MOOCs. Yes, I said "moocosphere".

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60029

  935. The End of the (MOOC) World is Nigh
    By Matt Crosslin, EduGeek Journal, March 1, 2013
  936. I expect more of this sort of article in the months to come. There is an intuitive appeal to the argument. "Anyone remember Second Life?" asks Matt Crosslin. I certainly do - and I remember the pushback when I said (in 2007) that Second Life had no future. "When a tool or concept gets labeled disruptive before it actually disrupts anything," says Crosslin, "it more often than not dies out." OK. But to hearken back to my Second Life talk, here's what survives: software that features distributed ownership, open source, non-commercial, diverse and democratic, a place where we create our own worlds, where we can visit freely from place to place, and where we can create our own learning commons. Those parts of MOOCs that are closed, commercial and proprietary will indeed die off. And yes, the media hype will certainly fade; that's just the nature of media. But the original concept - massive, open, online learning - will survive, and will continue to be disruptive.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60035

  937. FutureLearn: pedagogical & mLearning MOOC platform - the approach
    By Inge de Waard, Ignatia Webs, March 1, 2013
  938. Inge de Waard writes, "I am a bit enthusiastic here - read subjective - but after hearing yesterday’s introduction focusing on the pedagogical and design plans of the FutureLearn MOOC platform from Mr UK-MOOC himself – Mike Sharples." Important design principles include ubiquity and mobile design, "pedagogy linked to mobility and social media," meeting actual learner needs, but also, pedagogy and scaffolding. But here's the toughest part: "I really believe," writes de Waard, "the approach starting from a strong, contemporary pedagogy is the only way to have a sound base for any learning platform, but … turning this into practice can proof to be quite challenge." My concern is that "strong, contemporary pedagogy" might be wrong in some important ways, and that building a MOOc to be too much like what we already know might derail its disruptive potential. But maybe that's just me.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60038

  939. The changing role of L&D: from packaging to scaffolding plus social capability building
    By Jan Hart, Learning in the Social Workplace, March 1, 2013
  940. The argument here is that MOOCs and personal learning are not for everyone. And in this column Jane Hart shows what aspects of learning are suited to MOOCs, and what are not, as illustrated above (and edited by Harold Jarche). Note most importantly that we're no longer interested in creating all-inclusive course 'packages' and are rather more interested in providing access to resources and help using them. It's a different mindset (and not one the prepackaged MOOCs have attained yet). She writes, "rather than trying to design, create, deliver or even 'control' what happens there, there is also a need for a focus on 'building the new personal and social capabilities' that are are going to be required by the new 'connected workers', in order for them to work and learn effectively in the digitally connected workplace."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60040

  941. Getting More Out of Student Blogging
    By Sue Waters, Sue Waters Blog, March 5, 2013
  942. The whole concept of educational blogging has faded to the background recently, though you'd think that wth MOOCs it would be more important than ever. You'd think. Anyhow, this post features edublogs staffer reviewing the concept of edublogs, from her perspective, and reiterating their application in learning and how to do it well. "Almost all educators who blog well with their students use scaffolding – regardless of the age of the students," she writes. "It’s like teaching someone to drive a car.  They break down the process into key steps from learning to blog to becoming independent connected learners." Good post with a lot of detail.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60058

  943. Farewell Posterous
    By John Larkin, March 6, 2013
  944. I've mentioned the death of Posterous in these pages before, but because it was one of the top four platforms used by MOOC participants to participate (WordPress, Blogger and Tumblr were the others) it seems relevant to link to the migration strategies: "one of the co-founders of Posterous is setting up Posthaven as a permanent replacement for Posterous." Also, two links: migrating your Posterous site to Edublogs and WordPress.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60067

  945. What can I do with my educational data? (#lak13)
    By Sheila MacNeill, Sheila’s work blog, March 6, 2013
  946. I think this topic will be on the top of a lot of minds in the next little while. No, not simple "what can I do with my educational data?" though that will certainly be the topic of conversation. But the other one: who owns my educational data? The question was prompted for Sheila MacNeill by the recent #etmooc webinar featuring Audrey Watters titled 'who owns your education data?' "This idea also chimes with the work of the Tin Can API project, and closer to home in the UK the MiData project. The latter is more concerned with more generic data around utility, mobile phone usage than educational data, but the data locker concept is key there too." I think that it's useful to think of educational data in the same terms as health data: there's certainly going to be some out there that belongs to practitioners and employers, but for the most part, in the main, it needs to be personal and private. But how does that square with learning analytics as it is currently being discussed? In a word: it doesn't.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60068

  947. Your first degree course is a MOOC
    By Alastair Creelman, The corridor of uncertainty, March 8, 2013
  948. reports: "MOOC2degreeis a new initiative that offers the first course of a degree program as a MOOC in the hope of recruiting students on to the full program. A consortium of seven US universities under the coordination of Academic Partnerships are already on board and intend to use MOOCs as a shop window for their regular programs." It's a bit like a loss leader - get them to do a few courses for free, earn some credits, and then have them sign up to pay full tuition for the rest of the program. "This is very mainstream and is simply a way of recruiting to regular university degree programs," says Creelman. But the main problem I can see is that it is offloading the university's most lucrative courses - high-enrollment first-year 'weeder' courses taught by teaching assistants or adjuncts - and retaining the high-cost low-return upper level courses taught by full professors to small classes. I'm not sure how that's a plan.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60080

  949. Can MOOCs Save Academic Freedom?
    By K. Edward Renner, Edudemic, March 11, 2013
  950. Interesting angle on MOOCs and not one that would spring to mind immediately. But... could MOOCs save academic freedom? Well, that depends a lot on what is threatening it.  In this article, the concerns are globalization and commercialization. "MOOCs have become the last stand for the defense of academic freedom because ownership of knowledge and information is the key to controlling the political power and social beliefs and values determining the distribution of wealth in the 21st Century." How can the typically 'weak warriors' of academia take advantage of this opportunity? "We must own and use MOOCs to elevate general public knowledge to be an effective civic moderator of wealth, power and belief." Personally, I believe there is no freedom of any kind without independence of means, and this is what we should strive toward for society as a whole. And that, not the protection of professor rights, is the purpose of the MOOC.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60089

  951. Hacking the Classroom: Beyond Design Thinking
    By Jackie Gerstein, User Generated Education, March 11, 2013
  952. Sometimes people ask me what research methodology I employ, and after referring them to Paul Feyerabend and appropriate scepticism about research methodologys, I usually wave my arms in the direction of somethng like design methodology, which people can accept. Design methodology is how I set up my website, and design methodology is the process that created the first MOOCs. But what is that? This post sort of approaches it with this diagram - but in my world these are not stages, they are parallel processes (or, more accurately, occasional processes). At any given time, I may be solving a problem, pursuing an idea, learning how to do something - whatever. Design is the process that follows that, and is (in my world) wholly informed by the tools at hand and the objective I am trying to satisfy. It there is any method to this madness, it is only observable retroactively, and is usually a rationalization.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60091

  953. Emerging Student Patterns in MOOCs: A Graphical View
    By Phil Hill, e-Literate, March 11, 2013
  954. Because the whole emphasis on the new crop of MOOCs is their massiveness, it becomes very important how you count participants. Hence Phil Hills division of MOOC participants into four categories was broadly welcomed last week. The categories are (using Phil Hill's terminology and descriptions):

    • Lurkers – where people enroll but just observe or sample a few items at the most.
    • Drop-Ins – Partially or fully active participants for a select topic but do not attempt to complete the course.
    • Passive Participants – These are students who view a course as content to consume and expect to be taught.
    • Active Participants – These are the students who fully intend to participate in the MOOC.

    Like most categorization exercises (and therefore 90 percent of research in education) the division reveals more about the perspective of the researcher than it does about the demographics (notice, for example, how I say 'participants' and not 'students' - perspective shift). Not that this is bad - it's just useful to be clear about what we're studying.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60092

  955. California Unveils Bill to Provide Openly Licensed, Online College Courses for Credit
    By Cable reen, Creative Commons, March 14, 2013
  956. A logical next step for MOOCs. California introduces a bill that "will allow CA students, enrolled in CA public colleges and universities, to take online courses from a pool of 50 high enrollment, introductory courses, offered by 3rd parties" (note 'CA' here stands for 'California', not 'Canada'). The caveat here is that these must be courses "in which CA students cannot currently gain access from their public CA university or community college." So we've set up a situation here where private providers will now lobby government to cut back university funding, in order to limit the number of spaces in introductory courses, to drive students to themselves.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60107

  957. Online learning: Campus 2.0
    By M. Mitchell Waldrop, Nature, March 15, 2013
  958. Revisionist history. Here is the sum total of our contributions, according to Nature: "the term MOOCs, which had been circulating quietly in educational circles since it was coined in 2008, took off."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60115

  959. The MORU as Precursor to the MOOC
    By Darin Hayton, March 17, 2013
  960. So, "MOOCs are all the rage right now," writes Darin Hayton. "Academics [are] generally upset or unimpressed and disruptors generally optimistic. What intrigues me is how familiar the kook-aid tastes." I have always tried to be clear that the phenomenon of mass education was well established before MOOCs, and therefore that what makes MOOCs different, at least the way we do them, isn't the massiveness, but the network structure, which permits both scaling and interactivity. Thus I certainly acknowledge the precedence of an invention like the MORU, first mentioned in Popular Science in 1923, which is in effect the "Radio University." But I don't see MOOCs, at least the way we do them, as the latest brank of kook.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60121

  961. Learners Are People, Not Isolated Test-Taking Brains: Why MOOCs Both Work and Fail
    By Susan D. Blum, Huffington Post, March 17, 2013
  962. Those readers who know my history know that I began online with MUDs a type on MMOG (Massively Multiplayer Online Game). I saw in them what Nick Yee saw: "achievement, social, and immersion factors." Fast-forward some twenty years and here I am working on MOOCs, which for me are based on many of the same principles as MUDs. So, when MOOC critics like Susan D. Blum cite Yee, I know where they're coming from. "Aside from the financial gains promised by a college diploma, the aspect of residential colleges that is especially compelling for many students is not the academic side of college but the same goals as Yee saw."

    It's the community students benefit from, because they are immersed in the conversation, practices, beliefs and values of their discipline, whether it be the Iron Ring ceremony or the Mummers Ball. MOOCs have to be more than just online videos and the occasional discussion forum. "Those learners are people, fully engaged with multiple dimensions of their life: social, physical, pleasure-appreciating, playful." What makes MOOCs different, at least the way e do them, is first, there is a much wider range of community available to choose from, and second, participation , with all its social dimensions, is available to all people, not just the very rich who can afford to attend Blum's Notre Dame University. Image: NY Times

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60122

  963. The Professors Who Make the MOOCs
    By Steve Kolowich, The Chronicle of Higher Education, March 18, 2013
  964. Survey of 103 people (probably most of them professors) who have designed and offered a MOOC. Interestingly, most of them who participated did so for altruistic reasons (which makes a mash of Coursera's business model) while a few - such as those who had written textbooks - did it to "protect their roost." Many of them see a positive outcome for MOOCs (though I am not at all certain the Chronicle sees this as positive): "Two-thirds believe MOOCs will drive down the cost of earning a degree from their home institutions, and an overwhelming majority believe that the free online courses will make college less expensive in general."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60124

  965. Who Owns a MOOC?
    By Ry Rivard, Inside Higher Ed, March 19, 2013
  966. IPR follies and MOOCs. Faculty in California have a hard-won right to own their own academic material. "But before professors can have their courses put on Coursera, they are expected to sign away those rights to the university so the university can give the professors’ work to Coursera." Anyone who expects that Coursera won't pull a Google and convert open courses into a walled garden is fooling themselves.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60134

  967. Small Open Online Communities
    By Keith Lyons, Clyde Street, March 20, 2013
  968. Icon

    keith Lyon reports that Danny Munnerley makes the point that the C in SOOC stands for Community rather than Course. A SOOC is a variant of MOOC, with the S standing for 'Small' (see slide 7 of this presentation). I've seen this sentiment a lot. And as Lyons writes, a few days earlier, Susan Blum wrote: "If our ultimate goal is to educate human beings, then we must focus not only on knowledge and information, discipline and surveillance as measured by tests, but also on non-academic pleasures, motivations, skills, and the full array of human engagement that sustains attention and meaning." Well I agree, but I would say this: courses have start ad end dates, and communities don't. So if your thing has a start and end date, it's a course. It may foster and support community, but it's something different.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60140

  969. How could cMOOCs be designed and incorporated under an institutional framework?
    By Sui Fai John Mak, Learner Weblog, March 21, 2013
  970. I wrote a brief item a few days ago on evaluating MOOCs. I write: "I then ask whether it satisfied the properties of a successful network. I can do this from two perspectives: first, from a process perspective; and second, from an outcomes perspective. The process perspective asks whether the MOOC satisfied the criteria for successful networks... The outcomes perspective looks at the MOOC as a knowing system." The current post is Sui Fai John Mak's response to my post, where he raises learning contracts. "This is based on the definition of the purpose of the project, with scope, learning and assessment strategies proposed and action plans developed." But I don't like the idea of learning cointracts; you can't negotiate them fairly in any sort of student-teacher relation, and in any case, your objectives might change (I know mine certainly do).

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60150

  971. The Coursera composition course
    By Laura Gibbs, Google+, March 22, 2013
  972. Icon

    I have said in the past that the xMOOCs like those offered by Coursera will need to become more like connectivist courses over time. This post explains why. While Laura Gibbs is enchanted with all the great people she met in a recent Coursera coyrse, she writes, "I could NEVER have connected with this people at Coursera's discussion boards, which are useless, worse than useless in fact because they are squandering all this potential interaction in the worst way possible." The core of the course interaction was moved to Google+ by one of the students, where it stayed.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60153

  973. The Aussie Coursera? A new homegrown MOOC platform arrives
    By Bella Counihan, The Conversation, March 23, 2013
  974. Icon

    According to this article, "The first Australian free online education platform has been launched in Canberra today, by tertiary education minister Chris Bowen. Open Universities Australia, a private distance and online education organisation, has stepped into the world of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) with a new online platform called Open2Study." I'm thinking right now that traditional LMSs could have countered this whole trend simply by having an 'open courses' option on their LMSs. But they didn't, because they listened to their customers.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60157

  975. MTOPs: Micro-Targeted Online Programs - (The Anti-MOOC?)
    By Joshua Kim , Inside Higher Ed, March 25, 2013
  976. Asking, "Why should MOOCs get all the ink?," Joshua Kim describes the "anti-MOOC", an "online (or blended) program with 50 or fewer students per year, Narrowly focused, with a specialized curriculum and student demand profile...." etc. etc. In other words, business as usual in most universities. Not massive, not open. Not the future, either.
    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60162

  977. It’s MOOAs, Not MOOCs, That Will Transform Higher Education
    By Laurie Essig, The Chronicle: The Conversation, March 26, 2013
  978. The article is tongue-in-cheek and meant as a reductio, but let's analyze the implications. In the Chronicle (where else?) Laurie Essig writes, "MOOAs are the perfect solution to the rising cost of higher education. We take superstar administrators and let them administer tens, maybe even hundreds, of thousands of faculty at a time. The Ivy League and Nescac colleges could pool their upper management as could, say, Midwestern state colleges." OK, fine, completely unreasonable, right? Leaving aside the Lee Iacocca phenomenon, how could a single administrator manage thousands of staff? Just as in a MOOC: they would have to stop micro-managing, empower staff to make their own decisions, and create a distributed mode of administration. One wonders whether this form of management wouldn't be better for staff than existing management.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60164

  979. MOOC provider EdX goes open source – with an interesting choice of licence
    By Scott Wilson, OSS Watch, March 26, 2013
  980. Icon

    It's well-known that EdX recently open-sourced its MOOC software. Less well known is the unusual license it chose to do so: the Affero GPL. The core of the license ensures that any application service providers who use EdX and make improvements to the code will have to contribute those imporvements to the code base, thus ensuring that the creators of EdX have access to any improvements made to EdX.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60169

  981. MOOC Manifesto
    Conecta13, March 28, 2013
  982. This 'MOOC manifesto' came to me via Twitter and while I am sympathetic with the intent, the manifesto is almost point for point opposed to my own view of MOOCs. "In every teaching design," it begins falsely, "the learner is the centre." And then, "MOOCs must be an element within the digital strategy of an institution," and "Institutions may consider MOOCs basically as a branding instrument," and "Institutions may need to consider the prerequisites to enter a MOOC" seem to place MOOCs well within the institutional context, which is probably (in the longer run) not where they belong. And then there's this: "Open does not mean free." And "MOOCs may be courses, or not." And "there may... be face-to-face, local learning encounters in parallel to the on-line learning experience." No part of 'open online course' is left untouched

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60189

  983. Trend Report: Open Educational Resources 2013
    By Ria Jacobi, Hester Jelgerhuis, Nicolai van der Woert, SURF, March 28, 2013
  984. Icon

    This is a substantial document that "describes trends in open educational resources (OER) and open education in the Netherlands and elsewhere, from the perspective of Dutch higher education." Topics covered include not only OERs but also MOOCs, badges and learning analytics. The papers are generally short but well-written and well-informed. Between each paper is a resurce page (in gold colour) offering a lot to explore. This is a substantial reference work that should be basic reading in thefield today. 114 page PDF. Via Ignatia.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60190

  985. MOOC News and Reviews
    By Robert McGuire, MOOC News, and , Reviews, March 29, 2013
  986. Icon

    New group blog focused on, as the title suggests, MOOC news and reviews. "MOOC News and Reviews is an online publication devoted to thoughtful critique of individual MOOC courses and to discussion of the evolving MOOC landscape. We are independent and user-centric, and our goal in every review is to answer for readers, 'What will I experience in this course and how will it impact my life?'"

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60193

  987. Does Europe need its own Mooc?
    By Alex Katsomitros, The Guardian, March 29, 2013
  988. Icon

    this article takes the perspective tha the only activity related to MOOCs is happening in the United states and raises the question of whether Europe should get its own MOOC. I read this question to mean, "should Europe get its own commercially-funded and massively hyped MOOC." As in , "A European Mooc will need to have its own brand name, degree awarding powers and a viable business model that would attract international students, not just Europeans." But as readers of this newsletter know, there is plenty of MOOC activity taking place outside the United States, but not with the same relentless commercial fervour.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60194

  989. Open SUNY: A Game Changer in the Making
    By Phil Hill, e-Literate, April 2, 2013
  990. Overall positive coverage of an effort by the State University of New York (SUNY) to adopt and evaluate various elements of open learning in order to increase access and reduce costs. But there's one odd remark in the middle of it: "SUNY, of course, is not the place to develop MOOCs, online courses, OER, open courseware or PLAs." And one wonders, why not? It seems an error to leave the innovation to others, because then you get innovations that don't suit your own needs or interests.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60214

  991. Pre-Hire Assessment Science Revealed: Value for Employers, Value for Candidates
    By Josh Bersin, Bersin by Deloitte, April 3, 2013
  992. Icon

    Probably the most common question I am asked about MOOCs is what people will do for credentials if they're not getting degrees from universities. I've talked about mechanisms of direct assessment usin g available data from the open web. Now I can point to an actual instanceof that idea: pre-hire assessment. "I/O Psychologists look at jobs in great detail. They examine tasks at work and try to diagnose the skills, personality traits, experiences, and knowledge someone needs to succeed at this job (often called “KSA’s” or knowledge, skills, and abilities)... you now have the core of a 'pre-hire assessment,' or test and interview script which can help you identify the top people for a position."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60218

  993. Rosetta Stone Acquires Online Language Company Livemocha
    Business Wire, April 3, 2013
  994. Icon

    Rosetta Stone has purchased an online language learning community, moving it much more firmly in the direction of distributed social learning. MOOC providers like Coursera should take note, as it points to a community and cloud based future (like cMOOCs) rather than the old-style 'follow the lectures of experts' mode of learning. Indeed, when one thinks of language learning, the whole model of 'learning from the greatest experts in the world' seems very suspect. Rosetta Stone writes, in a press release, "Livemocha will enable us to quickly migrate our legacy products to a future-proof technology stack with a modern, cloud-based architecture and contemporary means of distribution," said Rosetta Stone Chief Product Officer West Stringfellow. "But even more exciting, it gives our customers more choice. Livemocha presents us with a low-cost or even free alternative product to offer learners around the world. It becomes a 'ladder of learning and value' for our customers." Via TechCrunch.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60220

  995. MOOCs to cultivate networked textbooks part 1
    By Dave Cormier, Dave’s Educational Blog, April 4, 2013
  996. Icon

    Cave Cormier has observed, as have many of us, that the newer xMOOCs are mostly just online interactive textbooks. Which raises the question, what are the other kinds of MOOCs, if thought of from the perspective of textbooks. Well, something like open textbooks. But the whole domain of open textbooks - it has a long history - is fraught with difficulty. Could MOOCs address the problems of continuity and creation? "The key is to utilize the scale of education to your advantage. There are thousands and thousands of people teaching first year accounting. Some of them are passionate about it… some are not… but most/all of them are using textbooks."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60225

  997. US Mooc platforms’ openness questioned
    By Chris Parr, Times Higher Education, April 4, 2013
  998. Icon

    The Times Higher Education supplement is now asking the questions we've all been asking. Patrick McAndrew, professor of open education at The Open University, praised the work of platforms such as Peer to Peer University and the OpenCourseWare Consortium for 'really being careful to do everything in a way that truly meets criteria of open'. 'However, a lot of the organisations involved more recently, like [US Mooc providers] Coursera and edX, have not paid so much attention. Often you can’t actually see into the [course] materials until you make a commitment,' he said. 'They are creating a sort of closed community in the open.'"

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60226

  999. Rate Rule, MOOCs drool
    By Mike Caulfield, April 4, 2013
  1000. Mike Caulfield picks up on the new terminology I've been hearing over the last few days: "The 'wrapped MOOC' has gained attention over the past year as a way to integrate MOOCs into traditional education. ... in practice most educators are not 'wrapping' the cohort experience, but are instead using the MOOC as robust OER." yes, from what I've been hearing, people are using the term 'MOOC' interchangeably with 'online course materialks'. But that's a very long way from the original conceptionm where a MOOC is the actual instance of conducting a class openly online. So what explains  this shift? (The same thing happened to 'learning objects' - they were originally pieces of object-oriented programming, but became packages of published course contents).

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60227

  1001. Online Courses or Long Form Journalism? Communicating How the World Works…
    By Tony Hirst, OUseful Info, April 4, 2013
  1002. Icon

    This is an interesting thought: "wouldn't it be wonderful if somebody put together a Coursera course on Bitcoin, covering whole range: crypto, ops, economics, politics?" The idea, as Tony Hirst correctly summarizes, is that an online course, or even a MOOC, could be offered instead of a long-from news article on a topic of economic or political importance. "And are there opportunities for media and academe to join forces producing – in quick time – long form structured pieces on the likes of, I dunno, Bitcoin, maybe, that could cover a whole range of related topics, such as in the Bitcoin case: crypto, ops, economics, politics?" Maybe. Maybe indeed.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60228

  1003. NYTimes rejects the MOOCopalypse
    By Mark Guzdial, Computing Education Blog, April 5, 2013
  1004. OK, I get this criticism, which comes from the NY Times, but I have a question. Here's the criticism: "They work well for highly skilled, highly motivated students but are potentially disastrous for large numbers of struggling students who lack basic competencies and require remedial education. These courses would be a questionable fit for first-time freshmen in the 23-campus California State University system, more than 60 percent of whom need remedial instruction in math, English or both." Now, the question: what are these students doing in university? Why are we charging them thousands in tuition and even more in state subsidies? If they are really uneducated and unmotivated, they belong in remedial education, not university, don't they?

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60233

  1005. Four observations on how OER initiatives are modelled
    By Allison Littlejohn, Little by Littlejohn, April 5, 2013
  1006. Here, first, are the observations, as stated by Allison Littlejohn:

    • European OER initiatives are based (largely) on the traditional view of instructor using OER as content for teaching
    • Most European OER initiatives rely on government or institutional funding
    • OER is often viewed as content curated by ‘experts’
    • Significant groups of people are not being considered as key users of OER

    From what I've seen of MOOCs in North America, exactly the same four comments could be made. So what's wrong with that picture. In short, it's unsustainable. Eventually the funding runs out, experts are too busy to curate all the resources, and the unrepresented groups turn elsewhere for resources. That's why I recommended community supported OERs to the OECD in 2006, and recommend community-based MOOCs today. Not that anyone listens.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60236

  1007. Sweating the Details of a MOOC in Progress
    By Karen Head, The Chronicle: Wired Campus Blog, April 5, 2013
  1008. I was enlisted as a 'friend of the MOOC' as the ocTEL MOOC was being prepared, and now I'm feeling guilty because I really had no time to help when they were planning, but now have comments as they're running into some opening week difficulties. But perhaps difficulties were inevitable, with or without my help; as Karen Head says, "I don’t think any institution was, or could be, fully ready for the endeavor." Additionally, as I've seen over and over again, people try to do on-campus things in MOOCs, without comprehending the distortions scale adds (conversely, the apply MOOCs to on-campus activities, not comprehending that they are removing the benefits scale offers). I would add that while the title of this post says the MOOC is 'in progress', they're really still preparing content for it. You don't understand the meaning of 'in progress' until you have thousands of people running through your site.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60237

  1009. The Realities of MOOCs
    By Ben Betts, Stoatly Different, April 9, 2013
  1010. Icon

    Some interesting early results in a MOOC run by University of San Diego (USD) based on a course called "Sustainability in the Supply Chain." The post is a bit awkwardly written, but essentially, they started with three cohorts, one of 300, one of 150, and one of 50 students. All three lost members, as expected, but the smaller cohorts lost members more rapidly than the larger ones - by the two-week period, the 50-member cohort was down to four students! "If engagement is any measure to go by, then small class sizes don’t make for a great experience in the world of MOOCs."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60251

  1011. Flipping the classroom
    By Rosanna Tamburri, University Affairs, April 10, 2013
  1012. Icon

    Nice article basically summarizing Desire2Learn in University Affairs, a Canadian magazine read mostly by university professors and administrators. It covers the original founding of the company by John Baker, its struggles to grow amid the Blackboard lawsuit controversy, and its current success explanding internationally and launching new learning support tools. Disclaimer: I helped build some of those tools in NRC's three-year Synergic3 project with Desire2Learn. I collaborated with D2Land others hosting the recent CFHE12 MOOC, which is mentioned in the story. I am also quoted a few times in the article.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60255

  1013. The One Laptop Per Child Correlation With Massive Open Online Courses
    By Wayan Vota, Education Technology Debate, April 11, 2013
  1014. Icon

    Wayan Vota gets to the core purpose of MOOCs, at least as I see them. "What we need to bear in mind is that the MOOCs are trying to make better quality education available to a great mass of people who are currently “non-consumers” of education and such quality is currently superior by far to whatever they may be getting right now. The MOOCs are not aimed to people who are willing to cheat but to those willing to learn." Good article, with an interesting comparison between MOOCs and OLPC.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60264

  1015. Reclaim Open Learning
    By Jim Groom, bavatuesdays, April 12, 2013
  1016. Icon

    If I had a simple way of reclaiming open learning I would do it. Though I'm not sure I'd be seeking out the MIT Media Lab as the place to do it (strictly my own bias, but I don't really associate MIT with 'non-commercial'). But anyhow, Jim Groom (who I still have faith in after all these years) descended into Babylon to chat with Audrey Watters and Philipp Schmidt on Jöran und Konsorten on Vimeo. "The theme that emerged," writes Groom, "is reclaim, as in reclaim the web, reclaim your data, reclaim open learning, etc. This is a topic very much in line with (and at least for me inspired by) Boone Gorges and D’Arcy Norman‘s Reclaim Project." See also coverage from Audrey Watters, as well as D'Arcy Norman, who writes, "Yes, there are silos and commodifcation and icky corporate stuff that would be easy to rail against, but what if we just let go of that and (continue to) build the web we want and need? Yeah. Let’s (continue to) do that." Remember, that's how MOOCs originated, they were something we created to reclaim learning from the institutions. Until places like Stanford and, um, MIT, turned them into what they are today. #indieweb #reclaimopen

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60274

  1017. A report from Keith Devlin's and Coursera’s Introduction to Mathematical Thinking MOOC
    By Seb Schmoller, Fortnightly Mailing, April 15, 2013
  1018. Icon

    There is not nearly enough time to follow every MOOC out there, so I'm attending closely to summaries of different MOOCs like this one from Seb Schmoller. He reports quite a positive experience taking Keith Devlin’s 10 week Introduction to Mathematical Thinking. "What this course shares with the AI course is the feature that struck me so forcefully in 2011: the feeling that you are getting one-to-one personal tuition from a very skilled and interesting teacher." In the same vein (and from the same blog) Ian Chowcat reviews Modern and Contemporary American Poetryled by Professor Al Filreis of the University of Pennsylvania. Again we read a positive review. "What made it so great? The huge passion and enthusiasm of Al Filreis himself certainly helped... But for me what really clinched the course were the videos produced for each course reading – over 80 of them, with running lengths from nine to twenty-seven minutes."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60283

  1019. Fanshawe MOOC
    Fanshawe College, April 15, 2013
  1020. Icon

    Fanshawe College is running a MOOC. "Beginning on May 13, in partnership with educational software provider Desire2Learn, Fanshawe College will launch a free, six-week open online course on Applied Sustainability. Students from anywhere in the world will participate in online field trips, perform hands-on tasks, discuss issues and ultimately be eligible to receive a letter of completion from the College." Just in time for Earth Day.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60284

  1021. MOOCs and the Funnel of Participation
    By Doug Clow, The Open University Open Research Online, April 16, 2013
  1022. Icon

    Interesting paper introducing the metaphor of a 'funnel of participation' to illustrate the steep drop-off inactivity in a MOOC. It uses three MOOCs as cases and observes that the number of people registering is much greater than the number of people making "meaningful learning Progress." Good set of references (though it suggests to me I ought to publish more). One quibble: the author argues that the existence of the funnel of participation "shows that MOOCs alone cannot replace degrees or most other formal qualifications" because "the significant efforts that institutions put in to supporting their learners to reach a commonality of learning outcome are necessary, and have a real effect." This doesn't follow at all, and is a conclusion that (true or not) goes well beyond the evidence presented here.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60285

  1023. Mooc platform to focus on group learning
    By Emma Boyde, Financial Times, April 16, 2013
  1024. Icon

    The Financial Times (of all places) reports on a new MOOC start-up from Stanford called NovoEd. As the headline suggests, the defining feature of the new software is a group-forming algorithm. Groups were originally formed of people from the same geographic area but with a range of experience. Members rated each other, then participants were asked to reform into new groups. "The top 200 teams were assigned, or found, mentors" (which to me sounds like a logistical bottleneck). NovoEd was founded by Stanford professor of management science and engineering Amin Saberi and PhD student Farnaz Ronaghi. It has secured startup funding. The website lists nine courses, all from Stanford. See also coverage in Stanford News, Forbes, Silicon Valley Business Journal, GigaOm, and Venture Beat.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60286

  1025. MOOCs Changing the Way We Think About Higher Education
    By Helen Hu, Diverse, April 16, 2013
  1026. Good overview of the arrival of MOOCs, from their first instntiation by George Siemens and myself, to later university versions, to some of the fallout. "The sudden rise of MOOCs has prompted criticism of higher education, which some say is inefficient, slow to change, does a poor job of teaching and retaining students and saddles people with heavy debt. The Internet tidal wave that shook up the newspaper business and other fields is now hitting higher education, highlighting its weaknesses, educators say."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60290

  1027. MOOCs: taxonomy of 8 types of MOOC
    By Donald Clark, Donald Clark Plan B, April 17, 2013
  1028. Icon

    I don't see the need for the rude poem, which requires that I post a language warning here. But beyond that, the list of eight types of MOOC is, well, a taxonomy. Because it wouldn't be Education Research without a taxonomy. But I like this bit: "Siemen’s famously  said 'cMOOCs focus on knowledge creation and generation whereas xMOOCs focus on knowledge duplication'. More simply, Smith says 'in an xMOOC you watch videos, in a cMOOC you make videos.'"

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60292

  1029. MOOCs and the Elite Edupunk Way
    By Darren Draper, Drape's Takes, April 17, 2013
  1030. Icon

    Darren Draper summarizes a response from David Wiley to a recent post of mine in which I argue (or complain) that "MOOCs were not designed to serve the missions of the elite colleges and universities. They were designed to undermine them, and make those missions obsolete." As one of the people who actually developed MOOCs, I figured I was in a good position to say why they were designed, but apparently not. Anyhow, Wiley insightfully pierces the motivation behind the xMOOCs: "The current mania around MOOCs has nothing to do with strategic neutralization of a potential threat to higher education’s business model and everything to do with needing to be in the New York Times." As IO comment on Draper's piece, "there's plenty of precedent for these institutions jumping out in front of an existing trend and then taking credit for it in the media." But ultimately, I would argue, this self-serving behaviour serves to fend off competition to the privileged position these institutions enjoy.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60293

  1031. How was it? The UK’s first Coursera Moocs assessed
    By Chris Parr, April 18, 2013
  1032. Icon

    Here's something you don't read every day: "Introduction to Philosophy the most popular, drawing almost 100,000 participants." It was one of five MOOCs offered in Britain by the University of Edinburgh. The one I saw most was the university’s E-learning and Digital Cultures Mooc (#edcmooc) and this is the focus of the article, which marvels at both the completion rate (12%) and the level of community-formation around the course. “There was a very engaged group that began forming a community before the course even started,” Knox explains. “They were using social media to meet each other, and were very happy with the idea of self-directing their study. They got it.”

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60298

  1033. Punked
    By Brian Lamb, Abject, April 18, 2013
  1034. Icon

    As Brian Lamb observes, a recent post of mine on the rebranding of MOOCs has struck a nerve in the community (Lamb lists responses from Jim Groom, David Kernohan, Martin Weller, Tony Hirst, David Wiley, D’Arcy Norman, Pat Lockley, Richard Hall). Some of them have been supportive, some less so, and some incomprehensible. Brian Lamb picks up on the suggestion that my conception of MOOCs, like Edupunk before it, means we do everything on our own, with no help from anyone else. Which is of course a mischaracterization. It was much more simple: “Corporations are selling us back our ideas, innovations, and visions for an exorbitant price. I want them all back, and I want them now!” But history, as Lamb notes, is being rewritten by those with time and money to do so.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60299

  1035. My eBook on MOOC and how to set up #MOOC yourself
    By Inge de Waard, Ignatia Webs, April 18, 2013
  1036. Icon

    Inge de Waard has offered and published an eBook on designing and setting up a MOOC. She has been one of the few people running a MOOC using my own gRSShopper software, so her perspective will be a bit different from the cookie-cutter Coursera MOOCs. But the book is not at all about the software: "This MOOC eBook gives a short overview of options on how to set up your own MOOC and how to tailor it to your own needs, tools and target audiences. The challenges and benefits of MOOCs are highlighted and guidelines on how to build an optimal MOOC experience are shared. Online learning best practices' are listed with a focus on MOOC specific learning characteristics, certification options and pedagogies."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60302

  1037. Education Giant Pearson Adapts To Digital Learning
    By Ellis Booker, Information Week, April 18, 2013
  1038. According to this article, half of Pearson's revenues now come from digital products and services. Pearson is also adapting to the changing learner demographic. "'[They] need flexibility,' said Todd Hitchcock, senior VP of online solutions and business development. 'So access becomes more online and blended.' Similarly, although Hitchcock isn't sure that massive open online courses (MOOCs) will transform education, they have had the effect of 'shining a light on online learning, access and affordability models.'" 

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60303

  1039. How Can MOOC Platforms Be More Dynamic?: A Comparison of Major MOOC Providers
    By Adam Heidebrink, MOOC News & Reviews, April 19, 2013
  1040. Icon

    It's interesting to watch someone who has no experience with the gRSShopper cMOOC platform wrestle with the same discussion board issues we faced, and then come up with some of the same solutions. Here's the problem: "As the course progresses, then, Coursera’s forum posts become a labyrinth of missed connection." And the recommended solutions:

    • Integrated real-time discussion ...  An embedded Twitter feed, for example, that provides real-time thoughts appearing directly on the content contextualizes and promotes a more useful discussion
    • Crowdsourced annotations ... Open up in-page annotations, and the reading experience becomes dynamic and communal
    • Promote a more authentic community ... Interactive study environments, live chat systems with other learners currently online and audio/video mentor-mentee relationship need to be integrated into the system
    • Open-source plugins ... I encourage coders and educators to collaborate to develop add-ons and plugins that will fill the diverse needs of the free education world.

    I don't think plug-ins are the answer, for a myriad of logistical problems. But the rest make sense and were all tried with some success to more or less a degree in the connectivist courses.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60307

  1041. News of the Week: Robo-Grading Debate, MOOCs Promoting Peer Collaboration & New Ed-Tech Tool
    By Debbie Morrison, online learning insights, April 21, 2013
  1042. Icon

    This is a summary article of the week's events in educational technology, but it contains a good summary of the debate around (what I guess we are now calling) robo-grading, including links to a NY Times article (with more than 1000 comments), a petition against robo-grading, and arguments against edX on the basis of robo-grading. The same article looks at a new platform called NovoEd , including challenges posed by peer grading. Clearly the whole issue of grading is in the news, which should tell us that traditional grading (now performed mostly by automated multiple-choice testing systems, or underpaid graduate students working on their third Wake-Up) is under fire.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60318

  1043. Why c and x MOOCs are attracting different number of participants?
    By Sui Fai John Mak, Learner Weblog, April 21, 2013
  1044. Icon

    It's a question I'm sure many people have pondered: why do the xMOOCs attract hundreds of thousands of people, while cMOOCs attract far few. Sui Fai John Mak rounds up the reasons:

    1. branding and affiliation with elite institutions and professors,
    2. well established courses with rich support on resources and assessment (grading/peer assessment),
    3. granting of certificates of achievement or statements of attainment (in recognition),
    4. degrees of difficulties – xMOOCs are much easier compared to cMOOCs,
    5. perceptions of learners – xMOOCs are based on 1,2,3 above, and 4 – learners – cMOOCs would have to curate resources and create blog posts/join forums,
    6. pedagogy,
    7. assessment.

    He then discusses each of these in detail. A post well worth reading.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60319

  1045. European MOOCs
    By Graham Attwell,, April 23, 2013
  1046. This is interesting. From Graham Attwell: "Partners in 11 countries have joined forces to launch the first pan-European ‘MOOCs’ (Massive Open Online Courses) initiative, with the support of the European Commission. MOOCs are online university courses which enable people to access quality education without having to leave their homes... Detailed information about the initiative and the courses on offer is available on the portal" I wonder, though, why the language used in the portal would be so dismissive: "You are visiting the portal of a brand-new initiative around so-called MOOCs..." So-called? From a MOOC portal? Odd. See also this announcement from WSIS.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60336

  1047. Will MOOC Technology Break the Education Cartel?
    By Jonathan Nadler, Education Technology Debate, April 24, 2013
  1048. Icon

    Jonathan Nadler writes, "Once flexible and even user-generated learning content embedded in MOOC’s trickles down to a primary school level, and super-capable mobile devices like smartphones and tablets are deployed widely enough to provide ubiquitous access, its really only the process we use to harness them (especially how to keep some strategic face to face time in the mix) that remains to be solved." The "obligatory history lesson" should include a reminder that trickle-down has never worked, and has only ever served to entrench, not unseat, the cartels. If MOOCs are to mean anything more than another generation of Disney cartoons, we need to create the content, to share it freely, and create the learning ourselves.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60339

  1049. DIT goes live with first Irish MOOC
    Dublin Institute of Technology, April 25, 2013
  1050. Icon

    I found it interesting to look in and around what was advertised today as the "first Irish MOOC" (I have no idea whether that's true). It is offered by the Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) and facilitated by DIT staff member Anne Green. But it appears to have been developed in Singapore (and that's where the advertising came from), at a company called GetReskilled, which specialized in Pharmaceutical and medical device industry; they have a list of short self-paced courses they offer prospective students. Moreover, the new MOOC is being offered on Blackboard's CourseSites, described as "a supported cloud-based learning system." None of this is intended as criticism - it's just interesting to see the way the different parts come together.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60341

  1051. Of Machine Guns and MOOCs: 21st Century Engineering Disasters
    By Pat Lockley, Hybrid Pedagogy, April 25, 2013
  1052. Icon

    As someone heavily implicated in the development of MOOCs, I have to be accountable if, as this author suggests, the impact of the MOOC is more skin to that of the machine gun than to anything that would actually help massive numbers of people. But I am not a member of the military-industrial complex (nor even a particularly good public servant) and it is not with the militarization of learning in mind that the MOOC was developed (the author's allusions to COBOL and SCORM, neither of which have anything to to with MOOCs, notwithstanding). It may be true that "the teacher is now the maintainer of a technology which wasn’t built for her, or for her purpose," but MOOCs were not developed for teachers, they were developed for learners. As a developer, I don't think I have to apologize for my role in MOOCs. I don't think there's anything to apologize for.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60343

  1053. MOOCs, History and Context
    By Arthur Levine, Inside Higher Ed, April 29, 2013
  1054. This is a bit of an odd article, describing as it does the history of post-secondary education in an America-centric and sonetimes inconsistent manner. The term "Democracy's College", for example, is a parochialism that misrepresents both college and democracy. The article, as one commenter notes, depicts several centuries of history where institutions adapted to change, but then argues (on the basis of nothing) that change will come from outside the institution. There's a weird social Darwinism vide through out. MOOCs will be forgotten in history, but when we look back, "like Western Governors University, Coursera, and Udacity leap to mind." And causation is often reversed: for example, the author writes "These institutions will operate globally, not locally, which will dictate a digital format," when in fact, it is the "digital format" that enables universities to operate globally.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60367

  1055. Major Players in the MOOC Universe
    By Nigel Hawtin, Xarissa Holdaway, The Chronicle of Higher Education, April 29, 2013
  1056. Icon

    There's some interesting on the Twitter about how the Chronicle has "jettisoned" any reference to the original MOOC authors (and somehow promoted Khan Academy to MOOC status. But as Lissie says, "I don't want to be famous / if I have to be shameless / if you don't know what my name is / so what so what."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60368

  1057. Does the Khan Academy Pass the MOOC “Duck Test”?
    By Anuli Akanegbu, EdTech, April 30, 2013
  1058. Icon

    There has been much criticiasm of the Chronicle's recent elevation of Khan Academy to 'MOOC status'. My own thinking is that either (a) they needed four companies to make a nice need diagram, and cMOOC is not a company, or (b) someone paid them. But I really don't know. In this post, Anuli Akanegbu asks when Khan passes the "duck test" - as in, "if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck..." So, does it? "By all appearances, the Khan Academy passes the MOOC “Duck Test.” But even though it may look like a MOOC and sound like a MOOC, founder Salman Khan maintains that the Khan Academy is not a MOOC." There is video.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60376

  1059. Peer Learning, Online Learning, MOOCs, and Me: Response to the Chronicle of Higher Education
    By Cathy Davidson, HASTAC, May 1, 2013
  1060. Cathy Davidson reacts with some bemusement on finding herself at the top of the list of movers and shakers in the MOOc works, as seen by the Chronicle of Higher Education. "Am I a key player in the MOOCs being supported by venture capitalists at a handful of elite or Ivy or near-Ivy institutions? Hardly!"


    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60389

  1061. How McAfee Cloud Identity Manager Benefits Higher Ed IT Professionals
    By Wayne Rash, EdTech, May 2, 2013
  1062. We're still a few months before services like this reach prime time (and push MOOCs off the front pages) but they're coming and eventually everybody will use one or another. "Cloud Identity Manager provides users with single sign-on access to cloud ­applications. In addition, the identity management tool creates a web portal for a variety of online services, ranging from LinkedIn to Amazon, to which users can connect with a single click." Why isn't it prime time yet? "Implementing McAfee Cloud Identity Manager requires deep knowledge of server operating systems and directory services."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60391

  1063. Perspectives on Open and Distance Learning: Open Educational Resources: Innovation, Research and Practice
    By Rory McGreal, Wanjira Kinuthia, Stewart Marshall, Tim McNamara, Commonwealth of Learning, May 3, 2013
  1064. Icon

    Rory McGreal announced today that this book is now online at and is available in PDF and epub. From the website: "It describes the movement in detail, providing readers with insight into OER’s significant benefits, its theory and practice, and its achievements and challenges." I have a chapter in the book on the role of OERs in personal learning. I argue, "when a course is designed according to network principles, and hence as a MOOC, the role of OER changes dramatically. Far from being published materials created by academics and authors and merely consumed by course participants, they begin to become the way in which these course participants communicate with each other and, as a consequence, their use and exchange numbers are not in the single digits but rather in the hundreds or thousands."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60395

  1065. San Jose State University Faculty Pushes Back Against EdX
    Inside Higher Ed, May 3, 2013
  1066. San Jose teachers are attacking the 'Great Teachers' / 'Best Teachers in the World' meme that has been associated with the recent 'elite universities' MOOCs. "There is no pedagogical problem in our department that JusticeX solves," the letter to Sandel says, "nor do we have a shortage of faculty capable of teaching our equivalent course." And they question the pedagogy that xMOOCs implement in their place. "The move to outside vendor MOOCs is especially troubling in light of this--it is hard to see how they can nourish the complex mix of information, attitudes, solidarity and moral commitment that are crucial to flourishing democracies."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60396

  1067. 250 000 Euros for the production of 10 MOOCs
    MOOC Production Fellowship, May 4, 2013
  1068. Icon

    Interesting site that will fund the production of 10 MOOCs at 25K Euros each. That's not the interesting part of the site; the interesting part is the set of 250+ courses being proposed for development. And also, the bit below talking about the "core" of the MOOC: video, feedback and P2P learning. The site is a bit confusing, though, if you enter via the search engine route, as it's not clear from the presentation that these are courses being proposed and not actually being offered. Ah, if only people knew, and applied, the distinction between "will" and "would".

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60401

  1069. The MOOC Quality Project
    The MOOC Quality Project, May 4, 2013
  1070. Icon

    This is a project that will post a dozen or so weekly commentaries about quality in MOOCs - my own post is due to be posted in a week or two. "Are MOOCs the new model of online education for all? Are they fit to democratize education? and above all – what is a good quality MOOC? The MOOC Quality Project, an initiative of the European Foundation for Quality in E-Learning (,  addresses the latter question not by trying to find one answer which fits all, but by trying to stimulate a discourse on the issue of Quality of MOOCs."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60402

  1071. [Expletive Deleted] Ed-Tech #Edinnovation
    By Audrey Watters, Hack Education, May 5, 2013
  1072. Icon

    Audrey Watters came to Canada to speak at the Ed Tech Innovations conference and with a series of f-bombs attacked the revisionism that is eliminating the Canadian contribution to MOOCs from history. Why does it matter who gets credit? "It’s a carefully constructed narrative — one that invokes certain events from the past and pieces together tidbits from the present, in order to make some folks appear heroic, to frame the world ideologically, and to point to and shape the future." I've posted the audio of her talk here.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60412

  1073. The Hijacking of MOOCs
    By Kevin Bell, Inside Higher Ed, May 6, 2013
  1074. Coverage of my post from almost a month ago (!) responding to the rebranding of MOOCs. With Audrey Watters's recent column, I guess it's suddenly relevant again. "The MOOC spirit has been eroded by institutions and individuals who see an easy way to sound (or just seem) tech-online savvy. MOOCs are being used by many institutions to avoid actually having to discuss issues like ownership of curriculum, scalability and strategic online growth."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60414

  1075. Learning scales, teaching doesn't
    By Vance Stevens, adVancEducation, May 6, 2013
  1076. This is not a long post but I want to highlight what is I think a key insight contained within: "regarding the problem with corporate and other institutional training programs.  They are attempts to teach participants in these programs to fish in an era where the tools of fishing are evolving rapidly...  In other words, such training doesn't scale. It becomes less efficient the more rapidly evolutionary change approaches. Training should focus instead on the wider issues of finding a range of tools available to address desired pedagogical tools. The answer is learning, not teaching.  Learning scales. This is what MOOCs are about.  They are experiments for scaling learning."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60415

  1077. The MOOC wars
    May 6, 2013
  1078. Icon

    "Initially," writes Martin Weller, "I thought this was just a bit of ignorance, but Clark's post made me understand - it is part of a wider narrative to portray MOOCs as a commercial solution that is sweeping away the complacency of higher education." This is in reaction to Donald Clark proclamation of the ascendency of (certain kinds of) MOOCs. "The narrative goes something like:

    • Higher education is irretrievably broken
    • MOOCs have come along from outside and shown how it can be done for free and at scale
    • MOOCs can answer all your education issues and make a profit."

    Meanwhile, Brian Lamb reports on the Wikipedia battle over revisionist MOOC hostory. observes "MOOCs are not the disruptive innovation in education. The Web is the disruptive innovation in education." I agree - and would note that the primary influence over the design of cMOOCs is - you guessed it, the web! Sheila MacNeill, meanwhile, reminds us there is another universe where MOOCs do not yet exist (and yet another universe, known only to the writers of the Chronicle).  (Photo by synestheticstrings / Wikimedia Commons)

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60419

  1079. The pedagogical foundations of massive open online courses
    By David George Glance, Martin Forsey, Myles Riley, First Monday, May 7, 2013
  1080. This article focuses exclusively on xMOOCs - it's interesting to me to see how the research method effectively steered the author completely away from cMOOCs. It was, essentially: using keywords  when searching as follows: 'online learning', 'retrieval learning', 'mastery learning', 'peer assessment', 'short video AND lectures', 'short videos AND education' and 'online forums AND learning' - yes, that will pretty effective eliminate any discussion of cMOOCs; this is what you call presupposing your research outcome in your search methodology. The authors note more than once how off it is that the MOOCs they were studying resembled traditional online courses.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60422

  1081. 'The MOOC Moment': New Compilation of Articles Available
    Inside Higher Ed, May 9, 2013
  1082. Icon

    Sneaky. Inside Higher Ed is releasing a collection of MOOC articles, entitled 'The MOOC Moment'. I assume they are all from Inside Higher Ed. But the catch is - you have to give them personal details and your email address before they'll let you see the list. Whioch is silly, because this Google search will give you the same list. Or if you want the world's most comprehensive list of MOOC resources, collected and personally curated, you can click here and obtain my archive of 711 individual posts. And I won't ask you for personal information.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60433

  1083. Coursera to offer students free online textbooks, with conditions
    By Nick Anderson, Washington Post, May 9, 2013
  1084. Of course it was always the case that Coursera would ultimately make a deal with publishers (if not actually be acquired by them). Here is the first act: "Coursera... announced Wednesday a partnership with several publishers to provide portions of certain textbooks free for students to use while they take the courses. The course materials — from publishers including Cengage Learning, Macmillan Higher Education, Oxford University Press, SAGE and Wiley — would be available through e-readers from the student-services company Chegg." Sounds good - but it's just portions, and even more uselessly, "MOOC students would not be able to print or download the free texts available through the deal." Here's another report, from, which makes it clear the intent is to sell students stuff, not make it available for free. Here's the Coursera announcement (blog post version). And of course Audrey Watters is right on it. She observes (correctly) "What was a promise for free-range, connected, open-ended learning online, MOOCs are becoming something else altogether. Locked-down. DRM'd. Publisher and profit friendly. Offered via a closed portal, not via the open Web."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60434

  1085. The thorny issue of MOOCs and OER
    By Lorna Campbell, Lorna’s JISC CETIS blog, May 10, 2013
  1086. "FutureLearn," writes Lorna Campbell, "doesn’t appear to make any mention of using, creating or disseminating open educational resources." One of the core concepts of MOOCs - at least, the way we design them - was the use of open educational resources (OERs). After all, OERs and MOOCs are natural partners. Or were. On come the xMOOCs. "it seems that very few xMOOCs use or provide access to open educational resources. The relationship between MOOCs and OERs is problematic at best and non existent at worst. As Amber Thomas memorably commented at the Cetis13 conference 'it’s like MOOCs stole OER’s girlfriend.'"

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60439

  1087. The Pedagogy of MOOCs
    By Paul Stacey, Musings on the ed tech frontier, May 12, 2013
  1088. Good article from Paul Stacey outlining the arc of MOOC pedagogy from the first days of the connectivist MOOCs to the more recent U.S.-based offerings. "All of these new MOOC’s are focused on objectivist and behaviourist methods of teaching and learning. Their pedagogy is based on an assumption that when there are tens of thousands of learners social learning isn’t feasible." But "Students tend to find online behaviourist and objectivist learning pedagogies boring, impersonal, and not interactive or engaging." Like Stacey, I don't see the story being over just yet. Yes, we've seen "a form of colonialism that attempts to rewrite MOOC history." But we persevere.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60452

  1089. MOOCs and Community Colleges
    By J. Noah Brown, Inside Higher Ed, May 13, 2013
  1090. Icon

    J. Noah Brown writes a long article for Inside Higher Ed that takes as it's point of departure the question, "do MOOCs represent a panacea for community colleges?" To which the answer is clearly and obviously 'no', because nothing is a panacea for anything! It is irresponsible to write essays about whether 'A is a panacea for B'. If you must write about A, in relation to B, then write about how A helps A, how A hinders B, or how the role of A is relevant or irrelevant to B. The language of panaceas is for children and politicians. The rest of us should know better.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60456

  1091. Professional Responsibility
    By C.K. Gunsalus, Inside Higher Ed, May 14, 2013
  1092. I've taught ethics in the past and on reading this would contemplate teaching ethics in the future - but in today's more emlightened MOOC format, rather than a classroom (I wonder what the interest would be in that). These days in the popular press 'ethics' typically is held to mean a set of principles to live one's lfe by that somehow act against one's own interest (this article actually states it outright: "what you’re willing to sacrifice for your principles"). But that's just one view of ethics, and not (to my mind) the best - I am more inclined to want to foster what Hume would call a 'moral sentiment' which can be fostered through the development of compassion and empathy in people.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60462

  1093. (re)Inventing the free online textbook
    By Sean Connor, The Saylor Journals, May 14, 2013
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    Saylor knows how we feel. "First came free online courses. Now come…free online textbooks (Coursera to offer students free online textbooks, with conditions | WaPo). Call us picky, but the implication that free textbooks are an xMOOC innovation is a bit frustrating, especially coming a couple days before we announced the release of a free-and-open, no-strings-attached college mathematics textbook. Even more especially after we’ve spent a couple years seeking, vetting, and deploying free, open textbooks, in free, open-as-we-can-get-’em courses." I would say "a bit frustrating" is probably a bit of an understatement.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60466

  1095. Laptop U Has the future of college moved online?
    By Nathan Heller, The New Yorker, May 14, 2013
  1096. Icon

    Don't miss this exploration of MOOCs and elite schools. But note well, this (and not education) is what the elite universities sell: "At twenty, at Dartmouth, maybe, you’re sitting in a dormitory room at 1 A.M. sharing Chinese food with two kids wearing flip-flops and Target jeans; twenty-five years later, one of those kids is running a multibillion-dollar tech company and the other is chairing a Senate subcommittee. Access to 'élite education' may be more about access to the élites than about access to the classroom teaching." So why are they offering MOOCs? To make sure nobody else sells what they're selling. And - perhaps - to prevent the wave of open learning reform from striking their sacred shores and breaching their hallowed halls.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60467

  1097. The Quality of Massive Open Online Courses
    By Stephen Downes, MOOC Quality Project, May 14, 2013
  1098. In this contribution I address the question of assessing the quality of massive open online courses. The assessment of the quality of anything is fraught with difficulties, depending as it does on some commonly understood account of what would count as a good example of the thing, what factors constitute success, and how that success against that standard is to be measured. With massive open online courses, it is doubly more difficult, because of the lack of a common definition of the MOOC itself, and because of the implication of external factors in the actual perception and performance of the MOOC.

    Moreover, it is to my mind far from clear that there is agreement regarding the purpose of a MOOC to begin with, and without such agreement discussions of quality are moot. Let me begin, then, with a statement describing what I take a MOOC to be. I will then address what I believe ought to be the purpose of a MOOC, the success factors involved in serving that purpose, the design features that impact success, and finally, questions regarding the measurement of those features.

    This is a contribution to the MOOC Quality Project (which posted part 3, 'MOOC Success Factors, on the blog, with the final edited version intended for eventual publication somewhere, and possibly other sections on other blogs).

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60468

  1099. MOOC war is it?
    By Leigh Blackall, May 15, 2013
  1100. Icon

    Leigh Blackall suggests that the editing 'war' over MOOCs on Wikipedia is lamentably one-sided. "Who among us, that spend considerable time commenting on the commentary through our blogs, Slideshares, Youtubes and the like, take an hour out of each day to check and help improve the Wikipedia articles relating to our work?" This is a fair point, and I confess that I edit Wikipedia only occasionally (partly because Wikieditors have taken over, partly because it would seem self-serving, partly because I don't have the time). But Blackall makes the case, pointing to a number of Wikipedia articles related to the field and relating their sorry state of disrepair. "Remember," he writes, "MOOCs have become a manufactured consent."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60471

  1101. MOOCs FORUM
    Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. publishers, May 15, 2013
  1102. From the email again (can you tell I'm catching up today?) comes this item on a new journal launching this summer, "the only publication dedicated exclusively to the development, design, and deployment of the game-changing Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)." Which I guess means that is not a publication. Also from the email: "Multidisciplinary in scope, this authoritative journal has a neutral bias. Its mandate is the critical evaluation of the MOOC components and modules that are essential in creating a global and sustainable system." The journal, of course, is closed access, with a $1400 sticker price for institutions. Here's the announcement.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60474

  1103. Yale Joins the MOOC Club; Coursera Looks to Translate Existing Courses
    By Steve Kolowich, The Chronicle: Wired Campus Blog, May 16, 2013
  1104. Beyond pondering the irony of Yale offering an open online course on morality, the timing of their announcement that they will be joining Coursera draws my attention away from other issues facing the college.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60482

  1105. Visualizing a cMOOC
    By Fred Bartels, YouTube, May 16, 2013
  1106. Icon

    Interetsing 15 minute video demonstrating a graphgical and visual representation of a cMOOC. Its all pretty much what we would expect (and I like how they captured not just the connections between people in the ubiquitous network graph but also the artifacts created by participants during the course). It is important to recognize that every cMOOC is different. But thinking about my recent post on evaluating MOOCs, it's easy to see how we could just look at these representations and recognize whether it was a good MOOC or not - not by 'course outcomes' (properly so-called) but by the design and structure of the MOOC that resulted.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60483

  1107. MOOCs and Regifting
    By David Wiley, iterating toward openness, May 17, 2013
  1108. Icon

    Actually, I think we should call it regrifting. Because like Jim Groom, when I saw Georgia Tech was charging $7000 for a new Masters in Computing Science MOOC I didn't think it was prticularly low-cost, despite the press (I guess you have to compare it with U.S.-style pricing, which would put the same program at an utterly unreasonable $40K). You also have to be admitted, of course, to be allowed to view the collection of videos and quizzes Georgia will be lining up for you. Groom points out, "You charge $7000 a year tuition with the idea you’ll have a 2-year cohort of 10,000 students. If you add that up, you get $140 million. That’s massive, especially when you’re only hiring eight new faculty to educate those 10,000 students." Related: Alastair Creelman writes, "many fear that MOOC consortia will soon reveal their true colours once they've captured the mass student base and are fearful of the way we are being won over by the lure of 'free'."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60485

  1109. MOOCs @ Edinburgh 2013 – Report
    University of Edinburgh, May 17, 2013
  1110. Icon

    Ignatia reports: "Last week the University of Edinburgh released their first report on their experiences gained after having organized 6 MOOC courses via Coursera. In this 34 page report they provide insights on organizing a Coursera MOOC, the success rates, their lessons learned, and how they went about in setting up the courses." The report is practical, covering governance process, project structure, the designing and building of the MOOCs, participant demographics, activity data, and measurements of success. Interestingly, the report authors observe, "if the number of MOOCs available rises significantly, as new platform providers appear and bring with them even more MOOCs to add to those already in planning, then we would expect our overall enrolments to fall unless we are very active to compensate."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60487

  1111. What Professors Can Learn From 'Hard Core' MOOC Students
    By Jeffrey R. Young, The Chronicle of Higher Education, May 21, 2013
  1112. Icon

    This should be subtitiled 'The Chronicle Surveys the Outliers'. As one commenter says, "It is like asking college professors what they liked about college." And the people answering questions in this article are more typical of the professor demographic than the student: Jonathan Haber, for example, "a 51-year-old who has taken a year off from his job in publishing to try to get an entire four years' worth of college from MOOCs."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60509

  1113. MOOC on Human-Computer Interaction: videos have 7 fails in HCI
    By Donald Clark, Donald Clark Plan B, May 21, 2013
  1114. Icon

    On the one hand, I agree with all of Donald Clark's criticisms of the recent crop of educational videos, especially those in MOOCs. He's quite right when he says there's too much talking head, too much cognitive dissonance, a dull presentation style and poor editing. He has this research and that to show that elements of video design impact retention. And yet... on the other hand, I have to ask whether improving video quality would produce enough of an improvement to justify the time and expense. Yeah, sure, if I'm consuming video like it was TV, then maybe. But if I'm in the middle of a project and I just need a clip to show me, say, how to fogment my doodad, then all that matters is that I can see what's happening. It's the act of fogmenting the doodad, not watching the video, that leads to retention.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60510

  1115. The Web Is Your MOOC, and Portfolios To The Rescue
    By Bill Fitzgerald, Funny Monkey, May 21, 2013
  1116. From Bill Fitzgerald: "I've long held the notion that open source communities have been engaging in effective peer-supported learning, even while many for-profit companies and academic communities have been struggling to distill the process of peer-supported learning into something resembling a replicable product." And, he says, "In the platform-style MOOCs, the open web is missing. From a learner perspective, the portfolio is MIA. For a learner, throwing the evidence of your learning into a space that someone else controls isn't a viable long term strategy." I couldn't agree more.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60512

  1117. Is a MOOC a Textbook or a Course?
    By Justin Reich, Education Week, May 21, 2013
  1118. I have in the past listed the courses offered by ALISON (I hate ugly all-acronym company names) on and just received a request to do so again (actually, they're asking for the listing on "your MOOCs list on the Gilfus Education Group website," which of course is not mine at all, except in the sense that Gilfus copied my list and put it there). Now I'm reconsidering my original decision, not in the least because ALISON (IHUAACN) is now positioning itslef as 'the first MOOC provider' (see this item, for example). What ALISON (IHUAACN) actually provides are free self-paced online course packages. And, of course, people have been doing that since the Middle Ages. And it brings to mind the sense in which a course is an event in which a course package is not.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60513

  1119. Innovation Confusion
    By Cole Campese, May 21, 2013
  1120. Cole Campese asks, "why do those who used to push forward now push back? ... the same people who built rallying calls for more open access to learning are now rejecting this movement. Why? ... Because it isn’t really open?" Well... yeah. That would be it, Cole. David Wiley is more generous than me with his response. "Yes, MOOCs have overrun the popular imagination. Yes, they are founded upon a severely impoverished definition of ‘open.’ So what are you going to do about it? Complain? Really? How about spending your time figuring out how to leverage MOOCs to move the ‘open’ agenda forward, rather than spending your time whining about how MOOCs have derailed it?" Of course, one can do both - it's not an either-or. Many's a time I've made a hill work for me by doggedly cycling up it for the betterment of my health and constitution all the while cursing the very existence of hills, gravity and opposing winds. And sometimes what the world needs is a little more salt, bitter and sour, and a little less sweetness. I'm happy to provide that.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60514

  1121. Forget the learners, how do I measure a MOOC quality experience for ME!
    By Dave Cormier, MOOC Quality Project, May 23, 2013
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    Dave Cormier follows my post last week to the MOOC Quality Project with a discussion "on the motives of different vested interests and their relationship to MOOCs." It's a good examination of the many perceptions of 'quality' and 'success' related to MOOCs. "I think it is critical that we understand the ways in which different interest groups will judge the ‘quality’ of that experience for the convenor (and their sponsors)," he writes. "What are we all in it for? What is the difference between a pat on the back and a failure for each of the different groups convening MOOCs?"

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60527

  1123. If education were free, what would MOOCs be?
    By Martin Weller, The Ed Techie, May 23, 2013
  1124. Interesting thought experiment. "If there were no students fees and higher education were free, what would that do to MOOCs? I mean, obviously it'll never happen... oh, wait, Germany just abolished student fees. Yeah, but what do they know about running an economy, right?" If I were in Germany, would my priorities be changed? I'm not sure, partially because MOOCs are as much about alternative pedagogy as they are about access (but, crucially, they are about access, and that thought is never far from my mind). But in a world of free? Most likely, as Holden comments, "possibly, MOOCs as support and community around traditional classes?" Because access isn't just about opening doors, it's also about makiing sure people are successful once they enter.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60528

  1125. More on MOOCs and Being Awesome Instead
    By David Wiley, iterating toward openness, May 24, 2013
  1126. David Wiley clarifies, and his points are worth lingering on.

    • "Some readers may have gotten the impression that I was saying it was ok to 'Be Awesome Instead' of being open. That was absolutely not the point I was making. Being open – truly open – is absolutely critical..." Quite so.
    • And I am really really of the same mind as Wiley when he writes this: "For a number of years I have felt that the overwhelming majority of educational researchers are focused on the 'high quality' problem, to the virtual exclusion of the 'universal' and 'free' problem from the discourse." From my perspective, talk of 'quality' has become a useful red herring for those really wanting resources to be not open and not free. That's not to say I oppose quality (and neither does Wiley). But if it must be perfect before it is free, then it will never be free.
    • "The only way to accomplish the amount of personalization necessary to achieve high quality at scale is to enable decentralized personalization to be performed locally by peers, teachers, parents, and others." Once again, I'm completely agreed. This is what I was trying to urge at OECD (not that they listened).

    My only quibble is with his insistence on "free 4Rs permissions" - which includes allowing commercialization of free resources. Given what he has just said about opoen access, and about there being "no rights and royalties regime under which this personalization could possibly happen" I just can't see requiring allowing commercial use. Somewhere someone is going to have to say, "if you throw up a paywall, it's not open access, and you've broken the agreement."

    Do you doubt me? If I blocked access to this website and started charging a subscription fee for OLDaily, would you consider it consisten with my long-time committment to free and open access? No? Then why would it be consistent with free and open access if someone else did it to my stuff?

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60537

  1127. Harvard Faculty Request Faculty Oversight of HarvardX (Their Usage of edX)
    By Phil Hill, e-Literate, May 24, 2013
  1128. According to the letter signed by 58 faculty members from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard, "It is our responsibility to ensure that HarvardX is consistent with our commitment to our students on campus, and with our academic mission." They then ask that a committee of tenure and tenure track faculty draft "a set of ethical and educational principles" that will govern their involvement. The Harvard faculty letter, writes Phil Hill, takes the approach of "viewing MOOCs as experiments in 'teaching methods that can be validated, refuted, or refined through the collective efforts of a scholarly community'." And, pointedly, not adjuncts and support staff, students, providers, funders, or anyone else.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60538

  1129. Welcome to Moodle MOOC on WizIQ
    By Nellie Deutsch, WizIQ Blog, May 27, 2013
  1130. Icon

    For those waiting for the worlds of Moodle and MOOC to be combined, "Teaching with Moodle is a self-paced 4-week Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) for teachers and anyone interested in teaching online using Moodle, WizIQ, and other web technologies." The opening session starts May 31.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60557

  1131. What you would do with $1 million to inspire change in the world
    By Morton Bast, TED, May 31, 2013
  1132. Not that I would ever fit into the TED mindset, nor am I nominating myself, but it's still an interesting exercise. Were TED to give me a million dollars, I would put it in the bank and live on the interest. This would enable me to leave my job and do what I'm doing now, without the overhead, writing, thinking and speaking on issues related to learning and access to education, and working on projects like PLEs and MOOCs and open learning generally (anyone else with a million dollars is free to contribute should TED not recognize the wisdom of my plan). (As an aside, because people ask: yes, I would speak at TED if asked, but I would speak on how projects like TED do more harm than good, about how rich people with cute ideas are the problem, not the solution, to world problems, and how community-sourcing supported by equitable income distribution is the most sustainable way forward. As Chris Anderson would say: not TED material.)

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60577

  1133. Refactoring Coursera
    By Mike Caulfield, May 31, 2013
  1134. Now that we've had a year or so of 'disruptive technology' from the likes of Coursera, writes Mike Caulfield, it's time to take stock. The original premise of Coursera was massive enrollment, elite professors, streamlined technology, and open admission. And now? "Massive doesn’t matter, the elite lure will fade under remix and collaboration, publishers have better content and more mature production processes, LMS’s do platforms better, and Open Educational Resources provide the more useful kind of open." So what is Coursera? Just another educational publisher. And "the fake discussion we’ve been having about Coursera’s blue-sky “disruptive” business model and its fit with education can now move to a real discussion about the impact of Coursera’s actual business model." More on Coursera's business model from Michael Feldstein. And more from Micke Caulfield on Coursera as provider of courseware. Also, Martin Weller on MOOC vendors adopting such forward-looking modwls as 'hybrid innovation', on-campus MOOCs, etc. Maybe now they can give us back the term 'MOOC' and let us get on with our work.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60582

  1135. College for all
    By André Dua, McKinsey & Company, June 1, 2013
  1136. Writing for McKinsey, André Dua argues that it's "important that education not be seen as a free good, because it will always take big investments to attract and retain the talent needed to develop world-class courses and materials." This made me think. What if he's right? He probably is, indeed, he's probably more right than he thinks. Building an educational infrastructure is a huge expense, even if we significantly reduce the cost using such means as online learning. Industry is very reluctant to invest in education, because the returns are far from guaranteed. Most people cannot afford the actual cost of their education. So as I comment here (and post here) the bulk of investment in education will continue to be supported by government, and the question here is - given that they merely increase costs and reduce access - what is the argument for corporate investment in education at all? Via Sui Fai John Mak.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60586

  1137. The MOOC bubble and the attack on public education
    By Aaron Bady , Academic Matters, June 1, 2013
  1138. Icon

    "MOOCs are a speculative bubble," writes Aaron Bady, "a product being pumped up and overvalued by pro-business government support and a lot of hot air in the media." It's tempting to describe MMOCs as a bubble, but not all things are bubbles. What we're seeing recently is that the term and concept of 'MOOC' has functioned as a market strategy that will leverage longer term investments in educational publishing. But I do agree, MOOCs (as conceived by Silicon Valley investors) are an attack on public education - but that just makes them the caboose in a long train of similar attacks (comprehensing everything from vouchers to charter schoolss to Universitas 21). View more (much more) from the current issue of Academic Matters.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60587

  1139. Les cours gratuits en ligne transforment les universités
    By Julien Brault, Les Affairs, June 4, 2013
  1140. Article in Les Affairs (en français) in which I am interviewed. Note that I point to a likely future for the MOOC outside the traditional campus, as a result of corporate sponsorship. «Ce sera difficile pour les grandes entreprises de ne pas commanditer de MOOC. Elles auront intérêt à le faire ; pas seulement pour la publicité, mais pour avoir une influence sur les programmes et former leurs futurs employés.»

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60599

  1141. 2013 Internet Trends
    By Mary Meeker, Liang Wu, KPCB, June 4, 2013
  1142. Icon

    I'm a few days late but I don't want to pass by without mentioning Mary Meeker's 2013 internet trends report. What I really like about these reports is that they're not just people expressing opinions, they're chock full of data. There's 117 slides in this presentation, so get a coffee and set aside some time. Big stories, to me:

    • the U.S. has taken over smartphones (but Blackberry still increased market share)(slide 7)
    • SnapChat (Android/iOS 'content that disappears') has emerged from nowhere since last year to challenge Facebook for photo uploads (Flickr: not a significant player)(slides 14,15)
    • DropCam - (live/DVR video camera) more video uploaded per minute than YouTube (slide 18)
    • Fitness data on mobile (that's a big one for me) (slides 24,25)
    • Tablet growth more rapid than smartphones, iPad (I wonder whether my Yoga counts as one)
    • Wearables (slide 52) and flyables (slide 60)
    • Alibaba (China) (24% owned by Yahoo) more sales volume than Amazon and eBay combined (slide 69)
    • Sina Weibo (China) 530MM users push for social change (slide 72)
    • $1.1 Trillion spent on education in US, students loans up 8x over 10 years, student load debt 914B (slide 98)
    • MOOCs (slide 101)
    • Why, exactly, are the (medical) bills so high? (slide 103)
    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60601

  1143. Massive Open Online PhDs
    By Jon Dron, Athabasca Landing, June 5, 2013
  1144. In this discussion paper Jon Dron offers a good idea that suffers from one fatal flaw. The good idea is the PhD MOOC, or the Massive Open Online PhD. Sounds great, especially for someone like me. "A MOOPhD would, of necessity, be highly modular, offering student-controlled support for all parts of the research process, from research process teaching, through initial proposals, through project management, through community support, through paper writing etc." OK, so the fatal flaw? It's this: "The main idea behind this is to prepare students for a PhD by publication, not to award doctorates." Which sounds great, except that there are no PhDs by publication. Believe me, I've looked. Sure, some institutions may offer them for their own staff, but for the rest of us plebes, they're just an urban myth. That, to me, is a pretty big problem.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60605

  1145. FutureLearn
    By Lorna Campbell, Lorna’s JISC CETIS blog, June 5, 2013
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    "Many colleagues have commented previously that the relationship between MOOCs and OERs is problematic, now it seems to have hit the skids altogether." So writes Lorna Campbell, of the new FuitureLearn website, which went live today. My eyes are still hurting after looking at it - an orange and pink colour scheme will do that (thank Wolff Olins (see also, and also) for the design). There are no courses yet available on this UK-MOOC site, but there is nonetheless plenty to talk about. In particular, Lorna Campbell highlights the terms and conditions posted on the site, criticizing the conditions. She writes,  "If content can not be reproduced, modified or transferred then clearly it can not be reused, therefore it is not open." David Kernohan, on Twitter, opines, "least open license possible, no under 16s, purchasing clauses, gathers data from (& sells to) external sources. Open. 2013." I don't care about the "attribution non-commercial" aspect of the license, but do wonder why FutureLearn applies a "no derivatives" claise, and also why it stipulates that content is accessed strictly "through a student account," which does seem to preclude sharing. Also, I couldn't help laughing at a tweet proving pretty much conclusively that FutureLearn's terms and conditions are copied and adapted from Udacity's (or, less likely, that both are copied and adapted from some third source) - I've saved the comparison here.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60609

  1147. MOOCs, Robots, and the Secret of Life
    By Kevin Carey, New America Foundation, June 7, 2013
  1148. Icon

    Good article documenting some experiences with MOOCs and making observations about their role generally. Kevin Carey (with whom I normally disagree) spends some serious time examining MIT 7.00x, an introductory biology course taught throuigh edX, and is favorably impressed. "How good can a free online course be? The answer, based on my 7.00x experience, is very good -- better, in fact, that almost anyone wants to admit." And this fact allows him to walk through some of the traditional objections to MOOCs. "How much of the vast expanse of what currently comprises higher education can be taught using a technological foundation, at a higher level of quality than what students currently experience, for less money. Not all of it, certainly. But a lot more than people realize or want to admit."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60621

  1149. Announcing: MOOC Research Initiative
    By George Siemens, Athabasca University, June 9, 2013
  1150. Icon

    Athabasca University has launched something called the 'MOOC Research Hub' in collaboration with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Part of this is a call for research proposals on MOOCs - you can find the details here - funding research projects for between $10K-$25K. There is also a research evidence hub. Note that submission must agree to publish a paper under CC-by (I wonder why CC-NC wasn't allowed) and present the results at a conference in Texas (why Texas?). Also, recommended by Alastair Creelman, a good article on MOOC research by George Veletsianos, The research that MOOCs need.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60635

  1151. Union Unveils Its Own MOOC Consortium… OpenUpEd
    June 9, 2013
  1152. Icon

    The MOOC momentum continues. "the European Union wants to get in to the MOOC game and is doing so now with a dozen partners at colleges throughout Europe in its new OpenUpEd MOOC platform." Image: Ville Miettinen via Compfight.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60636

  1153. Online Education Will Be the Next 'Bubble' To Pop, Not Traditional University Learning
    By John Tamny, Forbes, June 10, 2013
  1154. Icon

    Forbes doesn't often get it right, but in this case they do: "With university education jaw-droppingly expensive, it’s often asked what in terms of instruction kids are getting in return for the huge cost. Of course that’s a false question. Parents and kids once again aren’t buying education despite their protests to the contrary. Going to college is a status thing, not a learning thing. Kids go to college for the experience, not for what’s taught. And that’s why there’s no ‘bubble’ forming in the university world. There isn’t one not because Yale and Stanford students learn anything of real world value, but because each school is a door opener." If you understand this, you understand why MOOCs have to be about connecting people, rather than merely about transmitting content.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60642

  1155. Education-industry joint venture rolls out online courses
    By Ishan Srivastava, The Times of India, June 10, 2013
  1156. Icon

    Amid all the discussion around Athabasca's Mooc Research Initiative was the really good comment that ". This research project appears to have made a deep identification of MOOC with large, centralised providers. Any effort that does not involve large, centralized  providers is already deemed an 'alternative'." Venkataraman Balaji added, in an email, "It would be interesting to speculate what if a similar approach  had gained ground in the earlier stages of OER movement; for example, if OER was identified deeply with celebrity projects like the OCW or CNX, would new, large scale contributors have come on the scene? ...viewing OER as a more generic paradigm with a few initial, shining examples like OCW gave confidence to workers in developing countries that they could meaningfully participate in the global OER paradigm." He refers us to this course as an example of what we might call 'generic MOOC' (as opposed to the heavily publicized 'brand name MOOC' initiatives). I know Coursera and EdX are signing up a lot of partners, but I'm seeing a lot - a lot - of activity outside their corporate firewalls. Which is good, and necessary.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60643

  1157. MOOCs, Hype, and the Precarious State of Higher Ed: Futurist Bryan Alexander
    By Howard Rheingold, DML Central, June 11, 2013
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    Howard Rheingoild interviews Bryan Alexander in this wide-ranging 24-minute video (with text-intro, if you're rushed) on the fuiture of MOOCs. Writes Rheingold, "the ballyhooed arrival of free MOOCs into this frightening intersection of economic, intellectual, and social forces has ignited debate about the future of universities. The Reedie in me asks: What is the place of liberal arts ideals in an atmosphere like this?"

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60646

  1159. Report of the E-Learning Work Group
    By Christopher Boddy, University of Ottawa, June 11, 2013
  1160. A major study on new learning technologies at the University of Ottawa recommends the adoption of blended learning. "Blended learning combines the best of online and face-to-face instruction to enhance the learning experience, improve outcomes and increase access in a cost-effective way... In particular, it recommends the development of 1,000 new blended courses (representing 20% of the total course current offering) equivalent to having 500 professors using blended learning by 2020." Additionally, it "does not recommend developing MOOCs in the short term without first doing a detailed market analysis and a feasibility study" but does recommend  "strategically developing 'flag-ship'MOOCs in French in the medium term after undertaking a feasibility analysis that assesses the costs and benefits." Via Tony Bates.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60650

  1161. MOOCs and the Humanities
    By Jon Beasley-Murray, Posthegemony, June 13, 2013
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    "I am not against MOOCs," writes Jon Beasley-Murray. "In fact, I’m so not against MOOCs that I have spent much of this past year helping to start something that may turn out to be something of a DIY, home-grown MOOC. We’re calling it Arts One Digital." So what is he against? "It is not technology that is at issue or at fault here. It is the shallow, decontextualized, and unthinking way in which it is presented and equally thoughtlessly lapped up by an institution that has apparently lost its way." I think we can all agree with that.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60668

  1163. A critical path: Securing the future of higher education in England
    Institute for Public Policy Research, June 14, 2013
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    The IPPR Commission on the Future of Higher Education sets out a challenge for Britain's Open University: "English higher education institutions should embrace the potential of new technologies by recognising credit from low-­cost online courses so that these may count, in part, towards degree programmes. To make a start down this road we recommend that the Open University should accredit MOOCs provided via the FutureLearn platform so that they can count towards degree programmes offered by the OU itself and its partner institutions." This and 22 other recommendations may be found in its report on Securing the Future of Higher Education in England (156 page PDF). Here's a summary.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60677

  1165. Data from edX’s first course offer preliminary insights into online learning
    By Jennifer Chu, MIT News Office, June 17, 2013
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    Interesting results from a survey of the first EdX courses. "Educational success in a MOOC, but also in a face-to-face class, is not a wholly individual activity," says Mintz, who was not involved in this study. "It has a social dimension. To put this another way, persistence and success are not simply products of cognitive factors. Noncognitive factors — in this case, social connection — are equally important." The full report is here.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60683

  1167. Evaluating a cMOOC using Downes’ four “process conditions”
    By Christina Hendricks, You're the Teacher, June 17, 2013
  1168. 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.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60685

  1169. MOOCs and the Future of the Humanities: A Roundtable
    By Ian Bogost, Cathy N. Davidson, Al Filreis, Ray Schroeder, Los Angeles Review of Books, June 17, 2013
  1170. Four newly minted (by the media) 'experts' on MOOCs discuss and debate the format. "To date, few discussions of what Aaron Bady has called “the MOOC moment” have focused specifically on how new models of online learning may impact the humanities. The Los Angeles Review of Books invited four distinguished professors, some of whom have experience teaching online, to reflect on the risks and opportunities MOOCs present for the humanities." One good quote from Davidson: "Higher education is becoming the province of the high achieving and the wealthy global 1%. I don’t want a society that massively excludes so many students, nor one where you have to be better than perfect to gain admission to your state university."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60686

  1171. MOOC-Ed: Massive Open Online Courses for Educators
    By Glenn Kleiman, June 17, 2013
  1172. Glenn Kleiman writes, by email, "We have launched a program of MOOCs for Educators (MOOC-Eds) and have opened registration for our second MOOC-Ed, with more coming soon.  Information is available at and I've attached the press release about the math one which starts July 1."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60688

  1173. IMF launching courses on online university
    By Sean Coughlan, BBC, June 20, 2013
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    I guess I can't really imagine the IMF adopting a crowdsourced community-based model of a MOOC, but I am pleased to observed that their course will at least be open, so we will be able to see what advice they are offering world financial leaders. We read, "These are going to be uncompromising in their content - 'based on the latest collective wisdom on macro-economics' - but are designed to give the public an insight into the issues facing their governments' finance ministers." Which I guess is a start. The IMF will be partnering with edX for the venture.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60694

  1175. Can We Move Beyond the MOOC and Reclaim Open Learning?
    By Anya Kamenetz, DIY U, June 24, 2013
  1176. I'll classify this post under the heading of "irony": "Reclaim Open Learning is a small innovation contest, sponsored by the MacArthur Foundation, the Digital Media and Learning Hub, and the MIT Media Lab with a humble mission. We want to find the five best examples of innovation happening right now in higher ed." Really? These - along with Any Kamanetz - are the people who want to reclaim open learning?

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60709

  1177. The Death and Rebirth of Sakai OAE
    By Michael Feldstein, e-Literate, June 24, 2013
  1178. If you are wondering whatever happened to Sakai OAE (Open Academic Environment), the open source (or, more accurately, community sourse) learning management system (LMS) created by a coalition of major universities, well, it basically died. "The vastly reduced project team, consisting mainly of Cambridge, Georgia Tech, and Marist College, went into quiet mode as they attempted to figure out what could be salvaged. Now, about nine months later, they have re-emerged with a late beta of a completely re-architected system, promising a 1.0 release in early July. They have also rebranded them project as Apereo OAE, named after the new organization that is the merger of the Sakai and Jasig Foundations." Feldstein suggests that there is a future for the project: "I could see, for example, how OAE could be a terrific hub for Connectionist MOOCs, particularly if it were to add RSS aggregation and sharing capabilities or even deeper WordPress integration." Yeah, just add that, it's easy.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60713

  1179. Moody’s Says MOOCs Could Raise a University’s Credit Rating
    By Sara Grossman, The Chronicle: Wired Campus Blog, June 26, 2013
  1180. I would have to say that this is the point where MOOC coverage jumped the shark (yes, I'm using the expression 'jumped the shark', because it fits exactly here).

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60716

  1181. The Commoditization of Higher Education in Australia
    By Ken Udas, The Evolllution, June 26, 2013
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    As quoted on OERU mailing list today: "Recently, the notion of Micro Open Online Courses (mOOCs) has evolved from participation in the OERu, which brings together a strong commitment to open educational practices, micro-credentialing and opening the opportunity for scalability through networks rather than large-scale (massive) course delivery. Read more." Of course - networks! If only there were MOOCs based on networks! Ken Udas should know better - he's not unfamiliar with our work. OERu in general has heard of our network-based approach. So it would be odd to see USQ claiming to be developing it.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60717

  1183. MOOCs, MIT and Magic
    By Tony Bates, online learning, and , online learning and distance education resources, June 27, 2013
  1184. Interesting coverage and commentary from Tony Bates of an MIT conference on MOOCs. Not surprisingly, the focus in on xMOOCs, with the key 'innovations' of MOOCs being described as follows:

    • active learning: short video lectures interspersed with student tests/activities
    • self-paced learning
    • instant feedback
    • simulations/online labs to teach design of experiments
    • peer-to-peer learning.

    Bates himself asserts that "MOOCs are the consequence of lecture capture technology. This technology makes it easy to move teaching online, but without changing the design of the teaching." And John Daniel demonstrates he knows less than nothing about MOOCs while asserting "open and virtual universities in both developed and developing countries have been providing open and distance learning on a massive scale for over 40 years."

    Leaving aside the innovations MOOCs actually brought to educational technology (not the least of with is 'open' without tuition fees), I take issue with this: "It is as if researchers such as Piaget, Bruner, Vigotsky, Carl Rogers, Gagné, and many later researchers had never existed. Can you imagine anyone trying to develop a new form of transportation while deliberately ignoring  Newtonian mechanics?" If there actually were a Newton of education, he could complain, but the researchers he cites are more like the Becher, Gall or Ptolemy of education. And even if an educational Netwon existed, he or she would be overlooked these days in favour of TED stars and political favorites with fancy titles.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60721

  1185. Coursera under fire in MOOCs licensing row
    By Megan Clement, TheConversation, June 30, 2013
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    The Conversation makes a big deal out of John Daniel's criticisms of Coursera for not using Creative Commons licenses (because it was not news when all the thousands of other people made the same point in the weeks and months preceding this interview). Daniel, a former chancellor of Britain's Open University, said, "“While MOOCs have open enrolment, many of the MOOCs offered through commercial partners do not have open licences. Attempts to monetise internet activity usually degrade the user experience. Copyrighting MOOCs content rather than making it available as open education resource is a good example." Of course, until OpenLearn, which supports a CC-NC license, Open University materials were not open in any real sense. And OERu, the venture launched by the Commonwealth of Learning under his tenure, has a very clear monitization plan. That's why it's a bit hypocritical for him to say "the open education movement far pre-dated MOOCs" and that Coursera's approach is "neo-colonialist".

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60728

  1187. MOOC Leader EdX Turns One: What's Next?
    By Michael Fitzgerald, Information Week, June 30, 2013
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    Michael Fitzgerald comes out of his experience with EdX with some concerns:

    • "I wish MOOCs had fewer problems. They can be just as flat and unengaging as a real-world lecture..."
    • "I wish MOOCs were easier to build. I wrote about Eric Lander's biology MOOC, and came away daunted by the amount of work ..."
    • "I wish MOOCs would sharply cut the cost of higher education, including at the graduate level."

    But MOOCs - at least, those designed by EdX and similar initiatives - aren't designed to do any of those things. In fact, they are the opposite: they are designed to replicate traditional instruction, to depend on bespoke content, and to make someone a lot of money. See also: MOOCs: Interesting Legal Territory Ahead and read aboiut how MOOCs are designed to convert professor content into commodity content.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60729

  1189. High School Open On-line Courses (HOOC): A Case Study from Italy
    By Enrique Canessa, Armando Pisani, EURODL, July 1, 2013
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    People have asked me frequently whether I know of any examples of MOOCs in the K-12 sector. Here's one: a MOOC designed for high school "aiming to support the training and basic scientific knowledge of young students from the Liceo Ginnasio Dante Alighieri in Gorizia, Italy." Has it worked? "In only few months the use by students of the video archive for HOOC has growth from 30 % to 97 %. Feedback from students and Parents on the use and impact of making HOOC available on the web are encouraging."

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60734

  1191. Personal Learning Environments (PLEs) in a Distance Learning Course on Mathematics Applied to Business
    By José Bidarra, João Araújo, EURODL, July 1, 2013
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    This paper examines the use of a personal learning environment (PLE) in the context of a Moodle-supported business course. While PLEs confer advantages, there needs to be an implementation strategy at the campus level as well. Otherwise the result is as follows: "PLE’s allow many students to exercise a greater control over their learning activity, but it also show that Moodle is (still) the most important component of their learning environment at Universidade Aberta. It remains the key environment for contact with teachers, to access content, to allow for individual assessment, and to reach the institution." My own take is that the PLE is best suited to a MOOC-like learning environment, but the PLE-MOOC combination has yet to be implemented in any meaningful way.

    [Comment] [Direct Link] 60735

  1193. Effets Durables
    By Michel Denis, July 2, 2013
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    Our own MOOC en français will take place starting January. If you can't wait, there's this: "I would like to announce to you and to the world-wide MOOC