Next: Two types of MOOCs
See the full post at http://holdenlee.wordpress.com/2013/03/02/459/. The below is a summary.
Advantages of MOOCs
See Tabarrok’s article.
- Time: They save time, by preventing teachers from having to give the same or related lectures over and over again, each reaching only a limited audience. (Tabarrok’s graph provides a nice example of this.)
- Leverage: They give the best teachers access to more students (like, 1000 times more students), many who wouldn’t otherwise have the educational opportunity.
- Flexibility: Students learn at their own pace, and can jump from place to place.
- Feedback: On the first level, students can get immediate feedback on assignments. On another level, by mining data, teachers can find what works and implement improvements faster.
- Criticism: MOOCs cannot replace professor-student interactions, discussion and lab classes. Answer: Moving lectures and simple assessments online to MOOCs frees time for professor-student interaction and the rest of the (fuzzily-defined) “college experience.”
- Criticism: MOOCs are a threat to universities. A: Universities are not made obsolete, but they need to adapt their educational practices by focusing on doing in-class what cannot be done online. In fact, rather than having its professors waste time to develop a circuits course that has already been done (they could if they think they would do it better than EdX), they could use these online materials, and then just add labs, discussions, focus on special topics, and so forth not present in the MOOC. This brings a “remixing” spirit to curriculum design.
- A more serious issue with MOOCs is that they are geared towards students who already “know” how to learn, and do not motivate students who are struggling or disillusioned with learning in the first place.