What MOOC’s are and what do they mean for us

What MOOC’s are and what do they mean for us

Massive Open Online Course – can be on any subject offered via different universities globally and could involve videos, reading material followed by formal or informal assessment.

Different avatars of MOOC’s – akin to eating options – you could imagine them to be blended E-learning Models

a)            Everything is served – Come inside – sit down and learn

b)            Choose what you want – Tell us what you want

c)            Buffet – choose – Food always available – u have a good time

d)            Subway model – choose ingredients – make it this way for me – we will cook it for you

Accreditation is a weak link currently but some universities are in the process of providing credits to MOOC graduates. State University of California, Univ of Washington accept credits of Coursera. Helsinki University ran a Programming 101 which is a pre cursor for entry to the University.

Some issues that need to be taken into context while implementing MOOC’s

  • Lack of control and sometimes even lack of collaboration for Peer to Peer Interaction
  • Low percentage of Course Completion – Drop Outs in the midst of the course
  • Copyright issues – Cut, copy and paste quite common while submitting assignments
  • Ambiguity of Accreditation and Credentials – Solution with Digital Badges?
  • How do you authenticate students – are they genuine? During Assessments process of curbing cheating given the lack of broadband and say biometrics in rural India

What does it mean for us?

13 Million Entrants for Vocational Education in India – 5.5 Million is existing capacity – we can leverage MOOC’s to reach out to the rest

IMHO MOOC’s can address challenges in Education pertaining to relevance, Quality, costs and of speed. It can address the growing number of learners – possibly using synchronous and asynchronous faculty learner exchanges.   Given youth are now days with perpetual internet access, MOOCs provides easy access to this audience. In a large city even if have 1% completion – could have 100K students. Cost associated only if Learners opt for formal assessment and credentials

To make MOOC’s successful (or as we say in India breaking down walls) need to ensure the following

  • 3C’s – Connectivity/Content (preferably multimedia)/Capacity Building
  • Policy –
    • Leverage NMEICT Funds – USD 630 Million in 12th Plan – can some be used for specific pilots of MOOC’s – as NMEICT objectives are similar to reach out to hinterland using ICT
    • Making it mandatory for every University to publish atleast 1 MOOC course – content repository made available pan India
    • Meta University propagated – so that multi disciplinary courses encourage MOOC’s
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One thought on “What MOOC’s are and what do they mean for us

  1. Lokesh, thanks for the great post!

    Your subway model and choose what you want models are interesting. M Pai thought of them as self-service as well – you go and compose what you like to learn. Both require a high degree of control and clarity over what you need. But overall I like the idea of learner “informed” choice (or uninformed choice with recovery options).

    These however predicate that content be managed very neatly and systematically so that it can be assembled/disassembled on call. It predicates a shared understanding on what a “competency” is, and what is the commonly acceptable measure of assessment. They predicate a responsibility for systemically ensuring/gearing up for outcomes like retention, engagement, peer support & assessment and shared vocabularies. I think the imperative to design such systems is upon us now.

    The essence is that MOOCs offer an additional choice of learning and it must be supported. I agree on the VET piece, but we must tread with care there because of the access and initial competency issues. We must keep systems very accessible, simple, contextual and multilingual, and definitely leverage simulations (for example) & shared physical LABs. We must invest in community building so that learning online becomes a way of life, an implicit skill. Countries like India and China offer unique opportunities for communities because of the needs, the scale and the diversity.

    I also agree on the NMEICT bit – that is the one source of funds that is ideally suited for building the systems and the initial content, as well as for increasing capability of teachers, administrators and learners.

    But more than traditional content, I think we must make the network and the conversation within the networks to become accessible. A lot of learning will happen once we simply connect, share, react and collaborate. As Stephen Downes says, the role of the teacher is to model and demonstrate, while the role of the learner is to practice and reflect. When these activities become public and the ecosystem starts encouraging stakeholders to participate, learning will occur. Content is not king, the conversation is.

    Let us focus on attacking the challenges you mentioned and let us add to them the following: employability, access, multi-language resources & interactions, network/community building mechanisms, learning systems, content management systems, assessments research, among others.

    BTW, do you have any resources around the meta-University concept that you could share?

    Thanks again for a thought provoking post!

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