Coming Clean: What I Wonder About MOOCs

I’m enjoying reading blog posts about people’s open classrooms, how they’re using technologies in their classes, how the technologies are supporting all kinds of new connections.

I like seeing the kinds of things people are learning and questioning about teaching in higher ed.

I’m enjoying seeing the enthusiasm for Connected Courses on Twitter.

clique - IF by Maandag

clique – IF by Maandag

But, I wonder sometimes, about things like how the excited reunions on Twitter of people who’ve done MOOCs together affect those who come in not knowing anyone. Sometimes social media platforms feel a little like high school, with some people being in and others, not so much. Is this a factor in the amount and kind of lurking in MOOCS?

I wonder if having a connected, open course is really an epistemological or pedagogical step forward from what already exists. How can it be if the teacher develops the syllabus, determines the objectives of the course, grades the work of the students, sets the pace? The first iterations of technologies in classrooms tend to be using them to do the same old thing in a different way. How often is that true of MOOCs, and does that matter?

In terms of secondary schooling, I wonder how MOOC principles or structures might be incorporated into an unschooling situation for kids who are Done with school as we have known it.

I need to learn more about MOOCs and I don’t know where to start. It seems like there is a lot of information about them out there and I’m not sure how to separate the wheat from the chaff. So, does anyone have any suggestions of where I might start? Any comments?

Thanks for reading and responding.



clique – IF: by Maandag, via Creative Commons License /by-nc-nd/2.0/


3 responses to “Coming Clean: What I Wonder About MOOCs”

  1. […] I’m enjoying reading blog posts about people’s open classrooms, how they’re using technologies in their classes, how the technologies are supporting all kinds of new connections.  […]

  2. Laura Gibbs says:

    Hello in this new space, Karen! I happened to notice your post and wanted to reply… but I did not know whose post it was, and so of course I had to smile when I clicked on the About and recognized your name, even if we have only met briefly in the Twitterverse! Anyway, the reason I wanted to comment was that I am about as anti-MOOC a person as you will find… and I just don’t even do MOOCs anymore. But of the several MOOCs that I did, the one abiding thing from each one was the friends I made DESPITE how bad the class was! That’s why I am such an enthusiast for Connected Courses. I really believe in people connecting, on that small scale of one to one. That can take place in a massive context (although MOOCs are often so careless, in the worst sense of that word, about fostering connections)… or it can take place in an unstructured context, like chance acquaintances in a space like Twitter or Google+ … anyway, I am very much an optimistic about making connections whenever and however.
    And…. I was excited when I read your About page here. We clearly have lots in common and I hope we will find lots of occasions to connect and share ideas in #ccourses or whenever/wherever. I teach writing-based courses in Mythology & Folklore and in Indian Epics. I am so pessimistic sometimes about the ed scene in general (I suspect you share the same concerns), but I am waving the banner of hope also.
    In fact, one of my personal mottoes is SPES ULTIMA DEA, Hope (is) the last goddess. When all else fails us, there is still always HOPE.
    Looking forward to more connections!!! 🙂

    • admin says:

      OK, then, so I don’t have to drink any Kool Aid? I appreciate hearing that, as well as hearing that it’s not the structure that matters as much as it is what happens inside it– or, what you make happen inside it. I especially appreciate that one can make something very small. Connections with kindred spirits (Did you ever read Anne of Green Gables? ) are not small, though. Just a little less visible than research projects or other stuff. It will be good to share this course with you.

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