Thoughts on Conducting Research in MOOCs

David Wiley, iterating toward openness, Mar 06, 2012
Commentary by Stephen Downes

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.
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