How Can MOOC Platforms Be More Dynamic?: A Comparison of Major MOOC Providers

Adam Heidebrink, PubMed Central | Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine, Apr 19, 2013
Commentary by Stephen Downes

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.

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