17 Comments

  1. Sara Frank Bristow
    Thank you for sharing publicly this insight into the decision-making process... so many have wondered what, aside from positive press and certification income, universities find appealing about offering a MOOC. This helps.
    Reply
  2. Anna Mathews
    Thanks for this blog posting. I would echo Sarah Frank Bristow's comment above: It's useful to see the how idea developed within your institution, and how you went about meeting the challenges.
    I've just signed up for Edinburgh's E-learning and Digital Cultures MOOC course which begins in January and I am looking forward to it enormously.
    Reply
  3. Sian Bayne
    Anna - we'll look forward to seeing you on the 'E-learning and Digital Cultures' MOOC next January - thanks for signing up.
    Readers of Jeff's post might also be interested in our complementary article in the ALT newsletter which sets out our reasons for wanting to teach a MOOC, from the academic course team perspective.
    http://newsletter.alt.ac.uk/2012/08/mooc-pedagogy-the-challenges-of-developing-for-coursera/
    Reply
  4. Lewis Thomas
    What an amazing tool the Internet is. I have also just signed up for Edinburgh’s E-learning and Digital Cultures MOOC course and look forward to learing from and working with Sian and Anna.
    I decided to do this tonight to discover what a MOOC course would offer me and how it interfaces with traditional education after reading this post. http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2012/07/30/essay-whether-online-education-will-make-professors-obsolete
    I think this subject is going to be getting very hot.
    I look forward to the start of the course.
    Reply
  5. Dominik Lukes
    Sorry, I missed this post when it first came out and have since written about how to MOOCify a course: http://researchity.net/2012/08/17/how-to-moocify-your-course/. This would have been relevant.

    I wonder about the choice of Coursera. Was it mostly marketing and money collection platform? Otherwise, it has relatively little to recommend it.

    Also, I'm not sure that shorter videos are necessarily better than longer videos in a MOOC. It's not the length that's the problem, it's the contraint of 50 minutes or so of the timetabled slot. I wouldn't mind watching/listening to a 104-minute lecture if that's how long it would take to cover the subject. Or a 13-minute one.
    Reply
  6. Luana
    I've been very intrigued by the concpet for a while, probably because I'm too cheap to pay for anything and was attracted by the notion of free I did sign-up for one of Dave and George's first MOOC about three years ago, after hearing about it on EdTechTalk. I was impressed with the organization of the course and quickly learned (and now apply daily) that it's because even the slightest room for misinterpretation about any detail will quickly lead to a multitude of emails asking for clarification. I didn't stay in the course very long, due to other pressures on my time, which leads to my only other observation from a student's perspective: when you pay for something, you (obviously) have a higher investment into that experience and are more likely to take it seriously. For me, since it was free and so massive that no one would notice me just silently ignoring the course, I lacked some of the motivation those other pressures may have given me to stay in the course. I suspect the drop-out rate of a MOOC is much higher than a more traditional course.
    Reply
  7. Micaele
    Nice post. You raise some interesting pontis. With regard the benefits for HEIs of early adoption; I note that most MOOCS seem to be run by individuals remarkably free of institutional involvement apart from the small number of course members registering for accreditation. It seems to be very much a grass roots initiative. I do agree that visionary HEIs could seek some competitive advantage in being an early MOOC adopter but a) how many such organisations are there? and b) would that change the nature of the MOOC by the very nature of being institutionalised?Of course the real reason I commented was to contribute to you getting ten responses so that you'll run your own MOOC. Of course it would have to be in teacher education unless you have other, hidden, talents that I'm not aware of from a brief perusal of your interesting blog.Mark@marksmithers
    Reply
  8. Martin
    hey Jenny thanks for the input. i'm still miullng my way through the implications of Deleuze's commentary for Connectivism and social media, but as i read it, there's a distinction being made in that devolution of control. One is a disciplinary society founded on institutions. The other is a control society (thus using the word differently from Martin when he talks about the control involved in traditional institutional research) wherein the institutions break down and a more digital model of constant modulation which involves buying into practices so, not the same people, or the same epistemology/ontology. but, i'm still working my way to some vague grasp of it. looking forward to further conversations.
    Reply
  9. Thomas
    Very interesting points raised.. MORE research to be done!
    Reply
  10. Bill Welham
    My concerns with moocs stem from the sustainability aspect. While MIT's OCW program brought in great numbers it fell short in terms of it's access limitations. By that I mean that in the MIT model you were not privy to all content and resources but rather an overview version. I believe that in that model it was an instructor driven prospect where the professor in question doled out what was available at his or her discretion. On the question of moocs, where does that leave teachers who have spent years developing their courses and strategies? Are they being payed extra by their parent institutions for this (it is their course design)? Where is that money coming from? In fact, where is any of this money that will be required to make this happen over the long haul coming from? What promises were made to investors? Advertising revenue? This is all opaque at the moment and the danger lies in the touting of societal goodwill for the generation of capital regardless of how it comes about.
    I do believe this to be a genuinely philanthropic innovation but at the end of the day everything costs something and I have a hard time believing that established HE will be able to undercut themselves for long.
    Reply
  11. Dr Abba Wakil
    Interesting comments on MOOCS, especially for the developing world.
    I am interested in academic psychiatry, and looking for an online course, and a mentor in this subspecialty of psychiatry.
    Wakil
    Reply
  12. John Hibbs
    This is very sound advice and should be considered closely. At first I was hugely encouraged by Coursera. But having taken their a few of their classes and see how badly they are "run", and having been deeply involved in online learning for almost 20 years, I am now disgusted by what Coursera is doing to the brand image of those they represent; and the impact that is sure to come by their pace. Here's the text of my remarks at the Global Education Conference a couple days ago.


    All thoughts welcome by return email. skipper@bfranklin.edu
    portfolio web site oregonhibbs.com
    Reply
  13. John Hibbs
    The drop out rates from Coursera MOOCs are very, very high. Did anyone ever consider what damage could accrue from the comments made by those dropping out do the brand image of the originating University? Take a Coursera class from the University and have a bad experience...Suppose 20,000 enroll and 80% (easily) drop out. That means 16,000 highly motivated, globally networked individuals have something that the MIGHT say bad about the University. In a world where "going viral" is common, what damage occurs the the campus students and the alumni as their diploma is not reduced in value. More? See
    http://oregonhibbs.com/2012/11/14/global-conference-hibbs-prepared-remarks/
    Reply
  14. John Hibbs
    I believe there are affordable ways to provide Help Desks - I call them life boats - open at least 80 hours per week and manned by real human beings. Most of the help they would be asked to provide are routine - even pointing them to the precise FAQ would be pretty simple. I think the "helpers" could be drawn from the University, perhaps given some credits as interns, or some cash, or a combination. Or I think there might be sufficient demand from the students to pay a modes fee to have live help on demand -- a few dollars for modest help would go a long way to improve retention rates...the more TLC the better the outcome, we all know that. One has to be as imaginative in the human help that is provided as is done with alll the technology wizardry. See more here
    http://oregonhibbs.com/2012/11/14/global-conference-hibbs-prepared-remarks/
    Reply
  15. John Hibbs
    Platforms, like Coursera, that have as their prime motive should be covered by license agreements as strict with compliance standards as getting a license from Rolex or Rolls Royce; have you ever seen how thick those agreements are? And the penalties for shoddy "performance". My observations of Coursera make me guess that they have a solid plan to turn the number of enrollments and the brand images and the elite nature of the Universities and the "Priceless Value" into a "package" that will bring tons of profit to Coursera's ventur capital firm - their $20 million wager with a 100 to one shot seems a likely good bet. For them. But how about what an inferior class does to the image of the providing institution? What about student outcomes? Where are the metrics to support providing your brand to them? As to revenue sharing agreements, these are as mystic as a witch's broom. Where is the revenue is the classes are free? Having said all this I do think there is a relatively good advertising model not far from Google, youtube, etc. At $10 per class net, net cost per student, shouldn't be hard to find advertisers to cover that cost. But in the end the product must be of very high level, or if I were the Provost at Stanford, Yale, Princeton and Columbia I would be extremely concerned that my alumni might be all over me -- in court? -- for debasing their diploma...as of course is the case by having courses delivered with lower levels than that demanded from the "regular" campus student.
    http://oregonhibbs.com/2012/11/14/global-conference-hibbs-prepared-remarks/
    Reply
  16. Shale Bing
    John

    You say you are disgusted... the text of your remarks isnt here... and when I go to your website it seems to be saying how wonderful Coursera is!

    Confused of Scotland
    Reply
  17. sivi
    another big question is what is the cost that the student are paying?
    If time is money and the market becomes harder I will like that set to be researched as well.
    Reply
Leave your comment
By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.