Their facts were correct, but their interpretations of the facts were dead wrong. I now suspect that few, if any of the reporters had ever participated in a MOOC, more specifically in a "connectivist" MOOC, also called a cMOOC, because of the persistent networks of connections that student/participants in cMOOCs are encouraged to make with each other, with the course organizers/facilitators, and with other sources of relevant information.
I assembled the four videos embedded on this page as part of today's assignments in the MOOC MOOC to learn how to use a tool called "Storify." But when I watched them again, I realized that they provided clearer introductions to MOOCs than any of the articles and reports in the higher ed media that I had read. Indeed, they provided better descriptions than the printed references recommended by the organizers of the MOOC MOOC itself -- including the papers written by the experts who are the stars of the videos. Their videos are less dogmatic, more personable, hence more persuasive ... :-)
As I noted in a previous post on this blog, I am participating in the MOOC MOOC in order to gain insight about the potential uses of MOOCs for transferring some of the TLC that HBCUs provide to their on-campus traditional students to non-traditional students who are pursuing their degrees via online courses. So I am posting this "Hello MOOC!!!" assignment on the HBCU-Levers blog by way of encouraging wider awareness and interest in cMOOCs within the HBCU community.
Finally, a caveat. When you watch the videos you will quickly discover that the MOOCs you have been reading about in the higher education media are not cMOOCs ... Correction: they are not designed to be cMOOCs. However, I suspect that many of the student/participants in these non-cMOOCs spontaneously endeavor to transform them into cMOOCs in order to learn more and to have more fun ... Note: On the morning of 8/17/12 the Chronicle of Higher Education published an article in its "Wired" section, "Students in Free Online Courses Form Groups to Study and Socialize" ... :-)
Please click the links in each of the following bullets to watch the YouTube videos:
- Here's Dave Cormier's video that defines/describes a MOOC, more precisely a connectivist MOOC ==> cMOOC
- George Siemens is an energetic, articulate, persuasive proponent of
MOOCs. This video is an interview in which he provides answers to
questions about the origins of MOOCS ... starting in 2007
- Here's another Cormier video that further clarified my understanding.
Each participant in a MOOC may emerge with different understandings, but
their interactions will involve sharing the knowledge so that the group
itself may end up with far greater knowledge at the end of the MOOC
process. Clearly the "course" is a misnomer if we use that term in its
traditional sense. And the course being "over" is also a misnomer. There
may be a dramatic drop in participation, but presumably the members
will be able to contact others in their subnet long after the MOOC
- Steven Downs' video provides his take on MOOCs ... very permissive ... a MOOC is "whatever you want it to be" ... meaning that you can participate as actively or as passively as you want to