Published on March 5, 2014
The Evolution & Impact of the Massive Open Online Course Final Oral Presentation Doctorate in Education Rolin Moe
Where We Left Off • A research proposal to determine not only the outlook of the education landscape due to MOOCs, but see how the phenomenon affects political, social and cultural attitudes re: education • A history of the MOOC told from two perspectives: the dominant story from the Stanford/AI perspective and the oppositional story weaving in negotiated and counter-culture histories • Delphi Study designed to engage experts around a dozen issues embedded in the MOOC phenomenon
Meet Our Panel • • • • • • • • • • Dennis Yang Maria Andersen Peter Norvig George Siemens Kurt Squire Kevin Werbach Fatimah Wirth John Owens Terry Anderson Tony Bates • • • • • • • • • • Amy Collier Valerie Irvine Stacey Clawson Todd Edebohls Steve Filling Cathy Sandeen Anya Kamenetz Sean Michael Morris Audrey Watters Clay Shirky
Logistics • Round 1: October 14-28. Response rate = 20 of 20. • Round 2: October 29 - November 9. Response rate = 17 of 20. One dropout cited time commitment; two did not give reason • Round 3: November 10 - December 1. Response rate = 13 of 17. Three dropouts cited time commitment, one did not give reason. Deadline 3 weeks rather than 2 due to end of semester, holiday season
Prompts Discussion was built around 12 quotations, pulled from existing MOOC literature and paraphrased. #videolecture, #personalization, #data, #autodi dact, #publicgood, #democratization, #expertis e, #professors, #disruptive, #imperialism, #tierb ased, #labor
Round 1 • Consensus on 1 of 12 prompts (#data); experts agree learning analytics borne of MOOC system will help solve edu problems • Experts could not find consensus on definitions for basic education terms: student, data, MOOC, etc. • Discussion veered toward: – role (& power) of technology in education – the MOOC as already better than the status quo – learning theory behind MOOC movement
Quotes from Round 1 The analytics provided by MOOCs…can provide a window into actual student performance – missing in most F2F and online learning today. I have yet to see statistics or data generated by an online course that had [at] their center the learner’s interest…these sorts of assessments don’t measure learning, they measure instruction. Sebastian [Thrun] and Daphne [Koller] and Andrew [Ng] know more than almost anyone, but my impression is that their knowledge is more experiential than data-driven. In truth, it is anecdotes, stories, and ideas we must equip ourselves with if we hope to succeed in any learning environment.
Round 2 • Consensus on 3 of remaining 11 prompts (#democratization, #expertise, #tierbased) – disagreed on MOOC’s potential to democratize education – disagreed on assertion that there are no online education experts – agreed that MOOCs offered a pathway to a tier-based model for edu economics • While #disruptive did not gain a consensus, prompt went from majority disagree to majority agree • Technology & business jargon introduced by experts was agreed-upon in definition and use, unlike edu definitions which continued to lack agreement • Discussion further moved to defining educational theory in cognitive or social/communal terms. Other discussion threads included – role of economics in the MOOC phenomenon – whether technology alone can be educational salvo – MOOC in terms of perpetual crisis of education
Quotes from Round 2 The people who need the most support will end up with the most debt because they had to pay for services to overcome the crappy instructional design in that elite MOOC. [Elite schools] are trafficking on reputations they already had. Now we’ll find out how much of that reputation withstands public scrutiny. Disruptive…what a terrible word – it needs to be taken out back and shot and never used by educators again. What is a MOOC an alternative to? From my experience, these are students who would not consider paying university tuition. One of the realities of education is that for most consumers it is analogous to medical treatment: consumers [and the public] don't have capacity or knowledge to accurately assess the effectiveness of treatment - they can only assess the impact on symptoms, which is a very different thing from efficacy of treatment. Likewise, "public" evaluation of education is largely doomed to failure.
Round 3 • None of the remaining eight prompts gained consensus • Panelists challenged the notion that MOOC is interchangeable with online learning, while others freely substituted the terms. Difficulty in researching vocabulary consensus continued • Discussions fully merged across prompts – economics wove into elitism – pedagogy/theory was discussed with labor – purpose of education crossed into model-based design
Quotes from Round 3 If the push is driven by pedagogy explain to me why Daphne, Sebastian, inter alia are so damn concerned with monetization? MOOCs on their own are a public good. It's when people argue that they are an alternative to a wellfunded education system that I worry. It is true that teaching presence is associated with higher completion rates and performance, but this is not a great thing. We should be helping students to be come selfmotivated and confident lifelong learners, able to learn with or without teachers – and not continuing to place ourselves at the center of students’ learning. The water gets murkier as we continue to debate the issue of monetization. …the push for efficiency in 20th Century education tended to be about financial decisions, not pedagogical ones. History repeats itself.
Surprises • #data received a consensus in Round 1 despite field criticism of Learning Analytics scope, methods & potential – Perhaps MOOC expertise is heavily weighted towards individuals with penchant for technological solutions • #expertise not receiving a consensus in Round 1 despite expert panel consisting largely of online education experts • Panel’s difficulty in clearly defining and utilizing agreed-upon educational terms and definitions
Overall • The rise (rebirth?) of cognitive learning theory • A discord in the application of educational terms and vocabulary • Difficulty for educators to clearly define the purpose of higher education, differentiate between it and job-based training • MOOC = Online Learning (in the mainstream) • Economics are at forefront of MOOC debate • Strong belief that MOOCs can solve economic crisis of education, already solving learning crisis
Education Implications • Higher Ed solutions to have economic implications at forefront. • Continued and stronger focus on the Learning Analytics/Data Mining movement. • Growing discord between MOOC developers, education scholars, and practitioners in regards to theory and pedagogy.
Education Implications • Continued debate of the purpose of higher education; increased focus on skills and competencies due to lack of voices advocating for the system. • MOOCs and future iterations of EdTech Solutionism will dress within historical education in crisis rhetoric, seeing improvement immediately. • Many “Future of Education” debates driven by non-edu voices, where terms and vocabulary are not negotiable (business, computer science).
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