I’m in the process of taking my second online MOOC (Massively Open Online Course) with Coursera. I’ve been teaching online classes for UMass Boston over the last 6 years. These UMass courses have taken the traditional semester long courses and in many ways their structures and moved them into a online environment. These online courses have had the typical 10-25 students foll lowing along with material that would be somewhat similar to what is delivered in an face-to-face class.
The similarities of the MOOC with the UMass online offerings are the following:
- Instruction is by a university or institutionally validated inidivudal
- Classes have a defined start and end date
- Course materials are released in a sequential nature
- There are assignments and assessments
- Students may be very geographically dispersed
- Lectures via PowerPoint and instructor audio or video are present
Yet there are concrete differences between the two. In the MOOC,
- There are thousands of students.
- One on one Interactions with professor and teaching assistants are limited.
- The role of the study group and peer learning community becomes much more important for parsing out confusion
- The two courses I have taken were free
- Individual motivation and agency in learning becomes much more important
- External validation via a degree is not present, but I can get “certifications”
- Not sure how more subjective work such as essays would be assessed and validated — guess I should take a literature course
- How can you leverage peer support and learning present in the MOOC in an online university course?
- What sort of validation would learning done completely in MOOC have in replacement of a traditional college degree?
- How can you enliven intrinsic motivation and independent inquiry present in a MOOC for a university course?
- What would happen is an online University course could accommodate 1000 student each pay $10 or $15 rather than 10 paying $1500 each?
- What content is not very appropriate for a MOOC?