Reclaiming The Original Vision Of MOOCs

Career College Central summary:

  • In a New York Times feature article headlined "Two Cheers for Web U," A. J. Jacobs wrote about his experience taking part in some massive open online courses (MOOCs). Along with much criticism of MOOCS in general, Jacobs explained how the lack of teacher-to-student and student-to-student interaction in such online courses was probably the most disappointing aspect of his experience. He said he was disappointed to find that professors and students were out of reach and conversations were one-sided, faculty-only affairs.
  • MOOCs, though, were never meant to be dull and lonely.
  • A MOOC is participatory, Professor David Cormier, manager of Web communication and innovations at the University of Prince Edward Island explains in a 2010 YouTube video titled "What is a MOOC?" "It is a way to connect and collaborate while developing digital skills. MOOCs are, maybe most importantly, an event around which people who care about a topic can get together and work and talk about it in a structured way." In a MOOC, part of the goal is to "become part of the course by engaging with other people's work," Cormier said.
  • The challenge is that there really is not a synchronous application available today to online educators that can easily and intuitively bring together all the students in a MOOC — or any online course for that matter — in a truly interactive, highly social, and basically more human manner. This notion, however, is starting to be challenged by the newest video chat application to enter the online education space — Shindig, where the potential for creating live, well-attended face-to-face interactions in the student-to-student and student-to-faculty virtual world looks very possible.

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