Wednesday, September 12, 2012

MOOCs Moving to Mainstream?

From the Chronicle of Higher Education:

Gates Foundation Offers Grants for MOOC’s in Introductory Classes

September 11, 2012, 5:00 am
Hundreds of thousands of students worldwide are flocking to free online courses in topics like artificial intelligence and data analysis. But what about the student who’s struggling with basic algebra or English composition?
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation wants to find out whether the massive open online courses that have proved so popular in advanced and often highly technical fields offer the same promise for remedial and introductory courses.
Full article...

2 comments:

Kelley Meeusen said...

I see this as an interesting research project, but worry that many colleges will not approach it as a research project; but rather, will create a MOOC for say English 99, dump 500 under-prepared students in it and leave them to sink or swim. This is an unfortunate reality of too many existing online courses, because there are still some instructors who see all online courses as self-paced and self-directed. I seen this much too often – the absentee instructor, an online classroom that does not support engagement, and an abysmal retention rate. I would hate to see MOOCs used as a fiscally enticing dumping ground for our less prepared students.

The questions raised by Josh Jarrett (and, I am guessing, the Gates Foundation grant) are good questions, and I am glad money is being made available to answer those question and a good many others besides. I think the potential of MOOCs used in this way is awesome, and it could prove to be a valuable and cost effective tool for managing these types of courses! However, I worry about the implementation realities. These would need to be high quality, engaging, and expertly facilitated courses to serve the educational needs of the targeted populations. I think Mr. Jarrett said it very well, “It’s important to collectively ask and answer these questions, before we barrel too far ahead.”

Kelley

Kelley Meeusen said...

I see this as an interesting research project, but worry that many colleges will not approach it as a research project; but rather, will create a MOOC for say English 99, dump 500 under-prepared students in it and leave them to sink or swim. This is an unfortunate reality of too many existing online courses, because there are still some instructors who see all online courses as self-paced and self-directed. I see it much too often – the absentee instructor, an online classroom that does not support engagement, and an abysmal retention rate.

The questions raised by Josh Jarrett are good questions, and I am glad money is being made available to answer those question and a good many others besides. I think the potential is awesome, and MOOCs used in this manner could provide an effective and fiscally efficient tool to meet the educational needs of the students who need these types of course! However, I worry about the implementation realities. I think Mr. Jarrett said it very well, “It’s important to collectively ask and answer these questions, before we barrel too far ahead.”

Kelley