Are Mooc’s Ready For Mainstream?

Hello everyone, I recently read an article in the Washington Post on the possibility of Mooc’s really going mainstream that I wanted to share with you.  As incredible as it is that Mooc’s are really relatively new the industry if you will has grown a great deal in just about two years of it really being available.  With the research that I have done on the subject so far it amazes me that so much progress has been made in such a short period of time.  Now the impetus for getting the Mooc’s more into what this article calls the “Mainstream” is Google. This article points out that Google’s mission has always been to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible.”
Last month Google announced a partnership a long with Harvard and M.I.T. to further expand the edX educational initiative with the purpose to spread a a large educational base for free online courses. One of the quotes that is used in this article to put google’s role in this into perspective is when they say “If its possible to create open source software, then it must be possible to create an open source education. The goal for this is to have top notch education available all over the world. Now I mentioned edX, for those that do not know edX is the MOOC system that Harvard and M.I.T. initially came together for before google got involved.
Google is also supporting the launch of which is slated to open in 2014 which will make online classes available from Universities, government, businesses and not for profit providers, all for free this article says. The benefit of this would be to allow a person to not have to be tied down to one university and their selection of courses but to have a wide ranging selection of courses to take all over the world. The article says a god way to understand this is by thinking of courses like apps and your education as an operating system. But one constant still remains and that is the challenge of equating how MOOC’s relate to actual university class settings and how to grade a student for an actual grade towards obtaining a degree. This I would say is still the BIGGEST issue facing the world of Massive Open Online Courses. And that is if a person spends their time in a course how will they be able to earn a grade towards a degree? Or how can one obtain a degree by just taking MOOC courses.

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FutureLearn Mooc’s in the UK

Hello all I recently read a new article that talked about a multi-intuition Mooc provider recently launched in the UK with much success.  The provider is called FutureLearn and it is owned by Brittan’s Open University.FutureLearn recently announced the details of 20 courses including eight that will be in session between October and December of this year with most classes lasting six to ten weeks.
FutureLearn says that in the first 24 hours that they made their MOOC classes available online about 20,000 students throughout 158 countries had registered for courses.  Some of the courses that have been included are:  “Fairness and Nature: When Worlds Collide” from the University of Leeds , “The Secret Power Of Brands” from the University of East Anglia, and another notable course is “England in the time of King Richard III” by the University of Leicester.
The company also announced that students will be able to register and participate in these MOOC’s through mobile apps which should be completed within the year. FutureLearn is a company that is less than a year old as it was set up in December of 2012. It also includes 23 University partners along with the British Library, British Museum, and British Council.
Helena Gillespie the associate dean for learning, teaching and quality in the University’s Faculty of Social sciences says these open online courses are “a key part of the 21st century higher education experience.”
In concluding Universities and science minister David Willets says “The moment will come when someone is applying for a job…and [is] able to say I’ve participated in the following online programme and here is a certificate of completion, and that will be taken seriously by the employer. I enjoyed this read and I feel like this is another great step in the progression of Mooc’s!

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My Opinion On The Mooc Debate

Mass Open Online Courses (MooC’s) are a very interesting concept worth looking into for everybody.  As we all continue to live through this technological age where things change so rapidly it is important to keep track with everything changing in our learning environment and we must become receptive to all the new innovative ways of learning.

                There is a big debate taking place in the academic world about whether or not MOOC’s have a place in academia.  On one hand the internet has become very much of a way of life and the ways that we can engage with others on the internet that allows us to communicate and learn are only going to keep expanding as the years go by.  There is no question that by using MOOC’s can allow for mass communication and for people all over the world to learn from the resources of some of the top universities across the globe when normally that would not be possible.  Having participated in this course and exploring some of the concepts of Mooc’s I have experienced firsthand the power of connecting with people through the internet in this kind of forum.  I personally do not see how Mooc’s cannot help the learning process and the way people can connect so I am mostly for the use of Mooc’s and like what it is about so far in its short life span.

                On the other hand however Mooc’s have never been a part of higher learning in the University so this is a concept that more difficult to rationalize to a lot of University professors who have taught a certain way for so long and do not believe in the Mooc movement.  Some professors believe that it is not possible to teach a college class full of individuals from all over the world who are participating in a class.  Most professors only know and believe in the traditional classroom setting and look at the Mooc setting as a mockery of the values of teaching as well as learning.  Obviously when a class is being taught over the internet it is difficult for the professor and the student to have that same intimate student-teacher relationship as you have in a classroom setting.  Another serious concern for professors in this whole Mooc debate which I can completely appreciate is the fact that they believe that with Mooc’s a lot of them may be out of jobs because it will cut out some of the traditional courses that they teach in the classroom.  With Mooc’s more students are able to participate seemingly than in a normal classroom setting which would make the demand for Professors less significant because the argument is that professors will lose jobs because more students can be fit into a Mooc course as opposed to a course taught in a classroom. 

                I am still learning and experiencing the Mooc experience and learning what it is all about.  I will have another blog post before I finish the course giving my final thoughts on the Mooc movement.  As of right now however I am very encouraged by it and curious to learn more.  The entire Mooc process is exciting and I am still excited to see how I can implement everything that I am learning in this experience with what I do in my everyday life and career.

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Top TEN Univeristies in U.S. Embracing MOOC’s

I recently read an article about the top universities in the United States  now embracing the Mass Open Online Course philosophy.  This article was written this month in USA Today which automatically struck me.  The MOOC debate is a serious one and the fact that it is in such a big National publication like USA Today gives us an idea of the impact it is beginning to have in our society.  As everyone in our group is probably already aware of Mass Open Online Courses have only been around for about three to four years.  The article says that every college atop U.S. News and World Report’s National rankings have now begun to embrace them.  The article also points out that the top two public university systems in the country the California State University and the State University of New York are both on the cusp of implementing MOOC’s into its learning curriculum.  According to USA Today Of the top TEN universities in the country the University of Chicago was the final one to announce that it will be offering some form of MOOC’S.

                I learned that Coursera, eDX, and Udacity are the three primary MOOC startup providers.  As the article also points out MOOC’s enroll up to tens of thousands of students across the globe mostly for free.  This brings up another interesting thought because as we all know college courses cost a lot of money so the idea that someone could take a college course for free through MOOC’s is very interesting.   Roy Weiss who is the University of Chicago deputy provost says that two critical aspects of importance for why the University has delved into the world of MOOC’s is because it is important for the students to be up to date on all the new ways of learning in the rapidly developing technological world and he says it is also just as important for students all over the world to be able to have access to the tremendous learning resources that the University of Chicago has to offer.

                The article says that SUNY will soon be working Coursera to launch its online courses across all of its campuses which will give SUNY students the opportunity to complete one third of their degree online with professors outside of their home campus.    Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology came together to create edX in 2012 which has enrolled 900,000 students into its MOOC’s from 192 countries.  Professors from Stanford have created the other two MOOC providers which are Coursera and Udacity.   

 The rest of the article goes on to talk about the opponents of using MOOC’s which in large part come from critics within the same University’s that have created and participated in MOOC’s.  There are large debates being waged right now amongst the faculty at Harvard, the California State University, Princeton, Columbia and others about the positives and negatives of MOOC’s.  Among many of the points that the detractors make about MOOC’s and its untraditional learning methods is the fact that MOOC’s could make professors not needed which could lead to cut in pay or even a loss of jobs in some situations and that is a very serious serious concern.

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Innovative Thinking and MOOC Racket

Hello everyone, it is good to communicate with everyone again.  I have taken the time to read some of the posts that a few of you have made in our facebook group.  Part of the objective of MOOC’s is to find information and then present it to the group for others to learn from.  From reading many of the facebook posts that have been presented by you all I am learning a lot.  Two pieces that really caught my attention was the article titled “The MOOC Racket” presented by Millie Valazquez.  In the past I have read a few articles detailing the positives of MOOC’s.  This article here “The MOOC Racket” is an article that is critical about MOOC’s.  It appears as if the piece is written by a professor who is trying to reason with the fact that believers in Mass Open Online Courses believe that a mass group of people ranging from tens of thousands of people could be taught without face to face interaction which takes place in the classroom.  The writer suggests that if he told his tenured committee that this was a tool that he used to educate students that he would have found himself in a different line of work right now. 

                The second article that was posted by Vanessa Valle dealt with creativity in education and asked the question “Is creativity a goal to strive for in higher education?  If so, how do we measure it?  The answer by the author is an obvious yes.  The author maintains that creativity is always a goal when it comes to education.  The author says that a creative learning environment allows freedom of thinking and it stimulates different elements of learning in new and unexpected, useful, and helpful ways.  The article also states that there is talk of a creativity crisis in education which is do in some part to many students being conformists rather than be an innovate thinker and go outside of the usual realm of learning to discover more.  Interesting stuff to take note of.  Alright now give me a day or two and I will present my own discoveries to the group and try and introduce a new thought not yet introduced here.

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TwiiterChat, Sharepoint, and Top 99 MOOC’s

I see that the group had twitter chat last night and there was a twitter chat as well one evening last week but I was not able to attend unfortunately because I was at work. I was able to participate in a twitter chat a few months back though and it was a very interesting experience because it was a continuation of this type of new age learning that we are being introduced to here in CMC11. While searching through the two previous twitter chats I discovered some informative stuff.. But of course that would be the case with so many interesting people among our group and so many interesting topics in the world of Mass Online open courses. I also found an interesting article in our facebook group as well on how to use twitter properly. I recommend this article to anyone who is new to twitter and still trying to get acclimated to it and how to use it.
While reading some of the dialogue from previous twitter chats I learned about the product “Share point” for the first time and it seems like another great way to communicate, present and, distribute information. I was also really intrigued by an article posted in the twitter chat from a week ago in which the top 99 colleges MOOCS’s and online learning was given. Something I noticed form the list of 99 was that most of the MOOC’s in the top 99 were not associated with traditional Universities like Harvard and Stanford which were listed. But it was interesting to see that universities like Harvard and Stanford were participating in the new world of MOOC’s which should be encouraging because they are two of the top two schools in the country. In fact I am going to look through the list of top 99 MOOC’s again and I will probably write another blog entry soon just on that article and the breakdown of the top 99 MOOC’s.

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Great Google Chat With The Group


The last Google chat that we had was a very interesting one and I continue to be intrigued by this new form of communication.  I met two or three new people including a fellow from Israel who found our chat and joined the conversation.  The guy was very curious as to what we were doing and he was interested in learning.  English was not his first language but he said he had been to the United States before mostly in California so his English was pretty good.    I am looking forward to continuing this learning process here in CMC11 this summer.  One thing I would like to do is organize my own google chat either with members from our group or maybe  I can start one on google and see if I can attract people to my google chat based on what the conversation is about.

I did a voicethread project a couple months ago and I am going to do some more during the summer in my quest of learning and also helping to teach others about MOOC’s.  Because after all discovery, learning, and teaching seems to be a big part of how the MOOC process works.  I see that we have a twitter chat scheduled for this Saturday between 7:00 and 8:00 at night.  Unfortunately I will not be able to participate in that because I will be at work.  I was a part of the last twitter chat and it was very helpful and easy to understand.

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