My thoughts on this subject:
While cMOOCs are desirable and should be the ultimate goal, xMOOC is surely an important step in that direction. xMOOC has helped us graduate from traditional Video based monologues on TV/other mediums to a more engaging learning experience. Following are the key aspects of xMOOCs over traditional video based programs (that have not worked in past):
- It is a Live – schedule driven program –Starts on a specific day and end on a specific day. Lectures and Live webinars happen as per schedule.
- Keeps faculty’s teaching style intact– Faculty can teach as per their preferred teaching style using online whiteboard (even mistakes/speech slurs are not edited). Gives a feeling of attending a live class by best faculty in the subject.
- All benefits of online learning applies –flexibility to access content at any time, any location and at one’s own pace.
- Has teacher touch points –Live webinars/ hangouts – Live webinars are built in most of the programs and it provides the real-life teacher connect.
- Peer Grading and Assessments – The weekly assignments are graded by atleast five peers – this brings in the community connect / learning.
- Certifications – One can get certified on the program and I guess over a period of time it will get due industry recognition as well.
- Learning Analytics enabled deeper understanding of learners – The vast amount of backend analytics can be analyzed to understand country wise/area wise types of learners, learning behaviors etc. This understanding can be fed back to produce more targeted programs.
Even if we achieve this much in any online program it will be a significant next step. In my opinion following are my observations regarding a cMOOC based program:
- From non-existent online models to cMOOCs will be a vast jump, xMOOC is a good intermediate step.
- Given its loose structure, it assumes far greater level of control by the learner. Keeping learner focused and motivated has always been a challenge, not sure if it will serve the majority audience.
- For fast / intelligent learners cMOOCs will be more attractive.
- Certification linked program will be difficult – students have to go elsewhere to get certified
From stakeholders perspective (my top of the mind views):
- Learners: Create enough incentives for the learners to reduce drop-out rates. Gamifications (Points, badges and Leaderboards), certifications, peer based grading, Regular sharing of personalized analytics are some of the useful techniques/ approaches.
- Faculty: Familiarize them with examples, awareness workshops, demystify MOOC for them. Understand how to use learning analytics to make the program more targeted and better for learner categories.
- University/ Colleges (Public & Private): Launch a pilot MOOC program in the subject that has faculty of international/ national repute.
- Content Creators/ Facilitators/ Service providers: Take care of all the technicalities (Shooting Video, Creation of interactive practice questions, MOOC platform etc.) focusing university/college/faculty only on how to teach and engage students effectively.
- Certification bodies: Tieup with Physical universities for accreditation and engage with Industry associations such as FICCI, CII, PHD chamber, NASSCOM etc.
- Industry: Work with industry associations, certification bodies and universities to provide some weightage to the MOOC certificates.
- Industry associations: Continue spreading awareness through online and conference medium. Engage with Govt. and industry to roll out policy level interventions.
- Govt. : Come out with a MOOC policy – setting aside funds for MOOC based programs across Govt. and private universities/ colleges, push broadband internet penetration across length and breadth of India etc.