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David Jennings

The real economics of massive online courses (essay) | Inside Higher Ed - 1 views

  • We also know that there are plenty of low- to no-cost learning options available to people on a daily basis, from books on nearly every academic topic at the local library and on-the-job experience, to the television programming on the National Geographic, History and Discovery channels. If learning can and does take place everywhere, there has to be a specific reason that people would be willing to spend tens of thousands of dollars and several years of their life to get it from one particular source like a college.
  • We also know that there are plenty of low- to no-cost learning options available to people on a daily basis, from books on nearly every academic topic at the local library and on-the-job experience, to the television programming on the National Geographic, History and Discovery channels. If learning can and does take place everywhere, there has to be a specific reason that people would be willing to spend tens of thousands of dollars and several years of their life to get it from one particular source like a college. There is, of course, and again it’s the credential, because no matter how many years I spend diligently tuned to the History Channel, I’m simply not going to get a job as a high-school history teacher with “television watching” as the core of my resume, even if I both learned and retained far more information than I ever could have in a series of college history classes.
  • The fact that no school uses a lottery system to determine who gets in means that determining who gets in matters a great deal to these schools, because it helps them control quality and head off the adverse effects of unqualified students either dropping out or performing poorly in career positions. For individual institutions, obtaining high quality inputs works to optimize the school’s objective function, which is maximizing prestige.
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  • The fatal flaw that I referred to earlier is pretty apparent:  the very notions of "mass, open" and selectivity just don’t lend themselves to a workable model that benefits both institutions and students. Our higher education system needs MOOCs to provide credentials in order for students to find it worthwhile to invest the effort, yet colleges can’t afford to provide MOOC credentials without sacrificing prestige, giving up control of the quality of the students who take their courses and running the risk of eventually diluting the value of their education brand in the eyes of the labor market.
David Jennings

MOOC Reflections « OUseful.Info, the blog… - 0 views

  • course without boundaries approach of Jim Groom’s ds106, as recently aided and abetted by Alan Levine, also softens the edges of a traditionally offered course with its problem based syllabus and open assignment bank (particpants are encouraged to submit their own assignment ideas) and turns learning into something of a lifestyle choice
  • the role that “content” may or not play a role in this open course thing. Certainly, where participants are encouraged to discover and share resources, or where instructors seek to construct courses around “found resources”, an approach espoused by the OU’s new postgraduate strategy, it seems to me that there is an opportunity to contribute to the wider open learning idea by producing resources that can be “found”. For resources to be available as found resources, we need the following: Somebody needs to have already created them… They need to be discoverable by whoever is doing the finding They need to be appropriately licensed (if we have to go through a painful rights clearnance and rights payment model, the cost benefits of drawing on and freely reusing those resources are severely curtailed).
  • Whilst the running of a one shot MOOC may attract however many participants, the production of finer grained (and branded) resources that can be used within those courses means that a provider can repeatedly, and effortlessly, contribute to other peoples courses through course participants pulling the resources into those coure contexts. (It also strikes me that educators in one institution could sign up for a course offered by another, and then drop in links to their own applied marketing learning materials.)
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  • If we think of the web in it’s dynamic and static modes (static being the background links that are part of the long term fabric of the web, dynamic as the conversation and link sharing that goes on in social networks, as well as the publication of “alerts” about new fabric (for example, the publication of a new blog post into the static fabric of the web is announced through RSS feeds and social sharing as part of the dynamic conversation)), then the MOOCs appear to be trying to run in a dynamic, broadcast mode. Whereas what interests me is how we can contribute to the static structure of the web, and how we can make better use of it in a learning context?
  • Rather than the ‘on-demand’ offering of OpenLearn, it seems that the broadcast model, and linear course schedule, along with the cachet of the instructors, were what appealed to a large population of demonstrably self-directed learners
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    Tony Hirst attempts to see beyond/beneath/behind/whatever the hoopla about MOOCs to understand what elements of them might persist, what the relationship to OERs is, and to marketing for institutions and OER producers
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