“We’re in a Tight Spot”

moocI once went to a presentation, delivered by a education consultant, on the history of MOOCs (Massively Open Online Courses) and how a university such as my own might utilize this technology.

The irony was that the whole presentation, which didn’t so much argue as assert that “traditional” lectures are pedagogically uninspiring and unengaging for students, was a 90 minute lecture (I kid you not — I timed it) accompanied by routine PowerPoint bar graphs and Venn diagrams. That’s it. No interaction, no use of technology to try to enhance our “learning experience” or to model the technology under discussion, and, as I recall, the lecturer didn’t once move out from behind the podium. Continue reading

What’s the Future for Online Learning?

Picture 4So what do you think of massively open online courses (MOOCs)?

Well, they’re not “massively open” like they were at the start (back in 2008), since now they’re tied to venture capital, the profit motive, tuition fees, and corporate/university branding. There were those who thought they were the future of higher ed, and not just for distance ed students either, but there are now those who are not so confident. Continue reading

Info, Info Everywhere, But Which of it to Drink?

About a week ago, a friend at Ursinus College, in Pennsylvania, brought to my attention an online article written by his colleague in their Department of Politics and International Relations, about enrolling in a MOOC (massive open online course) to see what all the fuss was about. You may have heard about these courses–hosted by companies, such as Coursera, that have entered into agreements with schools, they provide the content for courses at some of the country’s leading universities–for free. (Fearing that they were behind this curve was among the apparent reasons why the University’s of Virginia’s Board of Visitors ousted–temporarily–their President this past summer.) Continue reading