My reflections on “MOOCs of Hazard” – a well-thought out, balanced article by Andrew Delbanco


From DSC: Below are my reflections on MOOCs of Hazard — from newrepublic.com by Andrew Delbanco — who asks:  Will online education dampen the college experience? Yes. Will it be worth it? Well…


.
While I’m not sure that I agree with the idea that online education will dampen the college experience — and while I could point to some amazing capabilities that online education brings to the table in terms of true global exchanges — I’ll instead focus my comments on the following items:

 

1) Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are recent experiments — ones that will continue to change/morph into something else.
They are half-baked at best, but they should not be taken lightly. Christensen, Horn, Johnson are spot on with their theories of disruption here, especially as they relate to innovations occurring within the virtual/digital realm.  For example, the technologies behind IBM’s Watson could be mixed into the list of ingredients that will be used to develop MOOCs in the future.  It would be a very powerful, effective MOOC indeed if you could get the following parties/functionalities to the table:

  • IBM — to provide Watson like auto-curation/filtering capabilities, artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities, as well as data mining/learning analytics expertise, joined by
  • Several highly-creative firms from the film/media/novel/storytelling industry, who would be further joined by
  • Experts from Human Computer Interaction (HCI)/user interface/user experience design teams, who would be further joined by
  • Programmers and interaction specialists from educational gaming endeavors (and from those who can design simulations), joined by
  • Instructional designers, joined by
  • The appropriate Subject Matter Experts who can be reached by the students as necessary, joined by
  • Those skilled in research and library services, joined by
  • Legal experts to assist with copyright issues, joined by
  • Other specialists in mobile learning,  3D, web development, database administration, animation, graphic design, musicians, etc.

It won’t be long before this type of powerful team gets pulled together — from some organizations(s) with deep pockets — and the content is interacted with and presented to us within our living rooms via connected/Smart TVs and via second screen devices/applications.

2) The benefits of MOOCs
  • For colleges/universities:
    • MOOCs offer some serious marketing horsepower (rather than sound pedagogical tools, at this point in time at least)
    • They are forcing higher ed to become much more innovative
    • They provide great opportunities to build one’s personalized learning networks, as they bring forth those colleagues who are interested in topic A, B, or C
    • They move us closer to team-based content creation and delivery
      .
  • For students:
    • They offer a much less expensive option to go exploring disciplines for themselves…to see if they enjoy (and/or are gifted in) topic A, B or C
    • They provide great opportunities to build one’s personalized learning networks, as they bring forth those colleagues who are interested in topic A, B, or C
    • They provide a chance to see what it’s like to learn about something in a digital/virtual manner

3)  The drawbacks of MOOCs:
  • MOOCs are not nearly the same thing as what has come to be known as “online learning” — at least in the higher ed industry. MOOCs do not yet offer what more “traditional” (can I say that?) online learning provides: Far more support and pedagogical/instructional design, instructor presence and dialog, student academic support services, advising, more student-to-student and student-to-faculty interaction, etc.
    .
  • MOOCs are like drinking from a firehose — there are too many blogs/RSS feeds, twitter feeds, websites, and other resources to review.

4) It would be wise for all of us to be involved with such experiments and have at least a subset of one’s college or university become much more nimble/responsive.

 

Also see:

From DSC:
Some very frustrated reflections after reading:

Excerpt:

Right now, boys are falling out of the kindergarten through 12th grade educational pipeline in ways that we can hardly imagine.

 

This situation continues to remind me of the oil spill in the Gulf (2010), where valuable resources spilled into the water untapped — later causing some serious issues:
.

From DSC:
What are we doing?!!! We’ve watched the dropout rates grow — it doesn’t seem we’ve changed our strategies nearly enough! But the point that gets lost in this is that we will all pay for these broken strategies — and for generations to come!  It’s time to seriously move towards identifying and implementing some new goals.

What should the new goals look like? Here’s my take on at least a portion of a new vision for K-12 — and collegiate — education:

  • Help students identify their God-given gifts and then help them build up their own learning ecosystems to support the development of those gifts. Hook them up with resources that will develop students’ abilities and passions.
    .
  • Part of their learning ecosystems could be to help them enter into — and build up — communities of practice around subjects that they enjoy learning about. Those communities could be local, national, or international. (Also consider the creation of personalized learning agents, as these become more prevalent/powerful.)
    .
  • Do everything we can to make learning enjoyable and foster a love of learning — as we need lifelong learners these days.
    (It doesn’t help society much if students are dropping out of K-12 or if people struggle to make it through graduation — only to then harbor ill feelings towards learning/education in general for years to come.  Let’s greatly reduce the presence/usage of standardized tests — they’re killing us!  They don’t seem to be producing long-term positive results. I congratulate the recent group of teachers who refused to give their students such tests; and I greatly admire them for getting rid of a losing strategy.)

    .
  • Give students more choice, more control over what their learning looks like; let them take their own paths as much as possible (provide different ways to meet the same learning objective is one approach…but perhaps we need to think beyond/bigger than that. The concern/fear arises…but how will we manage this? That’s where a good share of our thinking should be focused; generating creative answers to that question.)
    .
  • Foster curiosity and wonder
    .
  • Provide cross-disciplinary assignments/opportunities
    .
  • Let students work on/try to resolve real issues in their communities
    .
  • Build up students’ appreciation of faith, hope, love, empathy, and a desire to make the world a better place. Provide ways that they can contribute.
    .
  • Let students experiment more — encourage failure.
    .

 

College branding: The tipping point — from forbes.com by Roger Dooley

Excerpt:

Change is coming to this market. While there are multiple issues of increasing importance to schools, two stand out as major game-changers.

 


From DSC:
Important notes for the boards throughout higher education to consider:


Your institution can’t increase tuition by one dime next year. If you do, you will become more and more vulnerable to being disrupted. Instead, work very hard to go in the exact opposite direction. Find ways to discount tuition by 50% or more — that is, if you want to stay in business.

Sounds like the scene in Apollo 13, doesn’t it? It is. (i.e. as Tom Hanks character is trying to get back to Earth and has very little to do it with. The engineers back in the United States are called upon to “do the impossible.”)

Some possibilities:

  • Pick your business partners and begin pooling resources and forming stronger consortia. Aim to reduce operating expenses, share the production of high-quality/interactive online courses, and create new streams of income. Experimentation will be key.
  • Work with IBM, Apple, Knewton and the like to create/integrate artificial intelligence into your LMS/CMS in order to handle 80% of the questions/learning issues. (Most likely, the future of MOOCs involves this very sort of thing.)
  • Find ways to create shorter courses/modules and offer them via online-based exchanges/marketplaces.  But something’s bothering me with this one..perhaps we won’t have the time to develop high-quality, interactive, multimedia-based courses…are things moving too fast?
  • Find ways to develop and offer subscription-based streams of content


 

From DSC:

In real estate, one hear’s the mantra:
Location. Location. Location.

In higher education, I have it that we’ll be hearing this for a while:
Experimentation. Experimentation. Experimentation.

Consider the following reflections on Steve’ Kolowich’s solid article, The new intelligence (from InsideHigherEd.com)

Excerpt:

And for the largest public university in the country, it is hardly fiction. Arizona State University has become ground zero for data-driven teaching in higher education. The university has rolled out an ambitious effort to turn its classrooms into laboratories for technology-abetted “adaptive learning” — a method that purports to give instructors real-time intelligence on how well each of their students is getting each concept.
.

 

From DSC:
Besides being used in blended learning environments…some predictions:

  • These technologies will become integrated into what MOOCs eventually morph into and provide a significant piece of the assessment/guidance puzzle
  • Such tools will be a part of one’s future learning ecosystem
  • Such tools will be part of interactive, massively open online educationally-related games
  • Such tools will be integrated into personalized learning agents — spiders/recommendation engines that scan the web for relevant items that one needs to complete one’s cognitive gaps in a subject/topic
  • They will be accessible from your living room as well as from your mobile devices
  • They will integrate into web-based learner profiles

It’s the sort of thing I was trying to get at with this graphic from 3 years ago:
.

Like a mechanic...

 

Please don’t misunderstand me, the human mind is far beyond the complexity of an engine. But I still think that there will be more tools & technologies developed that will help the teachers/professors in their efforts to guide students into the knowledge of a discipline.

I beseech the corporate world to get involved more here — and not with the end goal of earning profits — but rather, with the aim of making the world a better place and giving a huge gift to the generations yet born. 

I urge the corporate world to reach into their deep pockets (1.X trillion in cash at this point in time) and team up with our youth/teachers/professors/instructional designers/programmers/etc. to develop sophisticated, educationally-related, engaging games that are relevant to the world that our youth will be growing up in; and/or create interactive simulations that provide more choice/more control to the learners. 

I urge more of the corporate world to join Knewton and Pearson and allocate some significant resources to help develop the next gen learning tools.  I’ll bet that we’ll be amazed at what can be produced! Your daughters, sons, granddaughters, and grandsons will really appreciate the work that you did for them!!!

 

 

 Also see:

 

.

From DSC:
What caught my eye here was the use of scenarios and using those scenarios to help define/create/plan for our future.

 

 

From DSC:
I understand that Mr. George Lucas is going to express his generosity in donating the $4.05 billion from the sale of Lucasfilm to education.

Here’s a question/idea that I’d like to put forth to Mr. Lucas (or to the United States Department of Education, or to another interested/committed party):

Would you consider using the $4+ billion gift to build an “Online Learning Dream Team?”

.

Daniel Christian -- The Online Learning Dream Team - as of November 2012

.

 Original image credit (before purchased/edited by DSC)
yobro10 / 123RF Stock Photo

 

 

From DSC:
What do you think? What other “players” — technologies, vendors, skillsets, etc. — should be on this team?

  • Perhaps videography?
  • Online tutoring?
  • Student academic services?
  • Animation?
  • Digital photography?

 

IBM’s Watson expands commercial applications, aims to go mobile  — from singularityhub.com by Jason Dorrier

.

From DSC:
This relates to what I was trying to get at with the posting on mobile learning.  I would add the word “Education” to the list of industries that the technologies encapsulated in Watson will impact in the future. Combine this with the convergence that’s enabling/building the Learning from the Living [Class] Room environment, and you have one heck of an individualized, data-driven, learning ecosystem that’s available 24 x 7 x 365 — throughout your lifetime!!!

.

 

IBM Watson-Introduction and Future Applications

 

 


Also relevant here are some visions/graphics I created from 2012 and from 2008:


 

.

The Living [Class] Room -- by Daniel Christian -- July 2012 -- a second device used in conjunction with a Smart/Connected TV

 

 

.

 

.

Why couldn't these channels represent online-based courses/MOOCs? Daniel Christian - 10-17-12

 

 

.

 

 

 

 

Embedded ubiquitous learning — from the Upside Learning blog by Abhijit Kadle

Excerpt:

What would ubiquitous learning look like? Well, there isn’t an easy answer to that. It is hard to foresee what will come about personal computing technologies in the next decade. In my eyes, from a learning perspective, there are a few key themes (emphasis DSC):

  1. Discovery and delivery – the ability to use agents that comprehend context, are able to make ‘coherent’ sense of varied data streams to search for information, discover, and provide content – just in time, in the correct context and in the appropriate format.
  2. Machine to Machine communication – While there is no doubt that this will happen, and that the ‘internet of things’ isn’t very far away in the future. One thing I found fascinating is the idea that you could create a ‘learning profile’, an identity that is essentially a digital package of your learning preferences and the contents of your past learning, that can be accessed by machines. This would let the ‘machine’ actually tailor its user interfaces, learning content and the experience itself, and present information in a way that suits the preferences of the human.
  3. Embedded learning – networked learning that is built into every device, every tool, every physical resource humans use; there is no need for specific training; the latest information is available just in time, from authentic sources, judged valuable by network analysis, provided with the right context and assists humans to complete tasks

Some items on this:

From DSC: Expectations, today, are getting hard to beat

Since Apple’s event yesterday, I’ve heard some conversations on the radio and reviewed several blog postings and articles about Apple’s announcements…many with a sense of let down (and some with the usual critical viewpoints by the backseat drivers out there who have never tried to invent anything, but who sure like to find fault with everyone else’s inventions and innovations).

It made me reflect on how high our expectations are becoming these days!  It wasn’t enough that iCloud is coming on 10/12 (and who knows the directions that will take society in). It wasn’t enough to introduce some serious software-based innovations such as Siri (which bring some significant advancements in the world of artificial intelligence) or AirPlay for the iPhone.  It wasn’t enough to enter into the multi-billion dollar card industry with their new Cards app for the iPhone.  Wow…tough crowd.

What might these announcements — and expectations — mean for education? 
Well…I can see intelligent tutoring, intelligent agents, machine-to-machine communications, the continued growth of mobile learning, learning from the living room, the initiation of programs/events caused by changes in one’s location, continued convergence of the television/computer/telephone, continued use of videoconferencing on handheld devices, cloud-based textbooks/apps, and more.


 

Siri on the iPhone 4S -- October 4, 2011

 

 

 

Looking for something?

Use the form below to search the site:

Still not finding what you're looking for? Drop a comment on a post or contact us so we can take care of it!

© 2019 | Daniel Christian