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alexis alexander

What's the "problem" with MOOCs? « EdTechDev - 18 views

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    "What's the "problem" with MOOCs? In case the quotes didn't clue you in, this post doesn't argue against massive open online courses (MOOCs) such as the ones offered by Udacity, MOOCs, and edX. I think they are very worthy ventures and will serve to progress our system of higher education. I do however agree with some criticisms of these courses, and that there is room for much more progress. I propose an alternative model for such massive open online learning experiences, or MOOLEs, that focuses on solving "problems," but first, here's a sampling of some of the criticisms of MOOCs."
Maureen Greenbaum

The Future of College? - The Atlantic - 29 views

  • proprietary online platform developed to apply pedagogical practices that have been studied and vetted by one of the world’s foremost psychologists, a former Harvard dean named Stephen M. Kosslyn, who joined Minerva in 2012.
  • inductive reasoning
  • Minerva class extended no refuge for the timid, nor privilege for the garrulous. Within seconds, every student had to provide an answer, and Bonabeau displayed our choices so that we could be called upon to defend them.
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  • subjecting us to pop quizzes, cold calls, and pedagogical tactics that during an in-the-flesh seminar would have taken precious minutes of class time to arrange.
  • felt decidedly unlike a normal classroom. For one thing, it was exhausting: a continuous period of forced engagement, with no relief in the form of time when my attention could flag
  • One educational psychologist, Ludy Benjamin, likens lectures to Velveeta cheese—something lots of people consume but no one considers either delicious or nourishing.)
  • because I had to answer a quiz question or articulate a position. I was forced, in effect, to learn
  • adically remake one of the most sclerotic sectors of the U.S. economy, one so shielded from the need for improvement that its biggest innovation in the past 30 years has been to double its costs and hire more administrators at higher salaries.
  • past half millennium, the technology of learning has hardly budge
  • fellow edu-nauts
  • Lectures are banned
  • attending class on Apple laptops
  • Lectures, Kosslyn says, are cost-effective but pedagogically unsound. “A great way to teach, but a terrible way to learn.”
  • Minerva boast is that it will strip the university experience down to the aspects that are shown to contribute directly to student learning. Lectures, gone. Tenure, gone. Gothic architecture, football, ivy crawling up the walls—gone, gone, gone.
  • “Your cash cow is the lecture, and the lecture is over,” he told a gathering of deans. “The lecture model ... will be obliterated.”
  • One imagines tumbleweeds rolling through abandoned quads and wrecking balls smashing through the windows of classrooms left empty by students who have plugged into new online platforms.
  • when you have a noncurated academic experience, you effectively don’t get educated.
  • Liberal-arts education is about developing the intellectual capacity of the individual, and learning to be a productive member of society. And you cannot do that without a curriculum.”
  • “The freshman year [as taught at traditional schools] should not exist,” Nelson says, suggesting that MOOCs can teach the basics. “Do your freshman year at home.”) Instead, Minerva’s first-year classes are designed to inculcate what Nelson calls “habits of mind” and “foundational concepts,” which are the basis for all sound systematic thought. In a science class, for example, students should develop a deep understanding of the need for controlled experiments. In a humanities class, they need to learn the classical techniques of rhetoric and develop basic persuasive skills. The curriculum then builds from that foundation.
  • What, he asks, does it mean to be educated?
  • methods will be tested against scientifically determined best practices
  • Subsidies, Nelson says, encourage universities to enroll even students who aren’t likely to thrive, and to raise tuition, since federal money is pegged to costs.
  • We have numerous sound, reproducible experiments that tell us how people learn, and what teachers can do to improve learning.” Some of the studies are ancient, by the standards of scientific research—and yet their lessons are almost wholly ignored.
  • memory of material is enhanced by “deep” cognitive tasks
  • he found the man’s view of education, in a word, faith-based
  • ask a student to explain a concept she has been studying, the very act of articulating it seems to lodge it in her memory. Forcing students to guess the answer to a problem, and to discuss their answers in small groups, seems to make them understand the problem better—even if they guess wrong.
  • e traditional concept of “cognitive styles”—visual versus aural learners, those who learn by doing versus those who learn by studying—is muddled and wrong.
  • pedagogical best practices Kosslyn has identified have been programmed into the Minerva platform so that they are easy for professors to apply. They are not only easy, in fact, but also compulsory, and professors will be trained intensively in how to use the platform.
  • Professors are able to sort students instantly, and by many metrics, for small-group work—
  • a pop quiz at the beginning of a class and (if the students are warned in advance) another one at a random moment later in the class greatly increases the durability of what is learned.
  • he could have alerted colleagues to best practices, but they most likely would have ignored them. “The classroom time is theirs, and it is sacrosanct,
  • Lectures, Kosslyn says, are pedagogically unsound,
  • I couldn’t wait for Minerva’s wrecking ball to demolish the ivory tower.
  • The MOOCs will eventually make lectures obsolete.”
  • Minerva’s model, Nelson says, will flourish in part because it will exploit free online content, rather than trying to compete with it, as traditional universities do.
  • The MOOCs will eventually make lectures obsolete.”
  • certain functions of universities have simply become less relevant as information has become more ubiquitous
  • Minerva challenges the field to return to first principles.
  • MOOCs will continue to get better, until eventually no one will pay Duke or Johns Hopkins for the possibility of a good lecture, when MOOCs offers a reliably great one, with hundreds of thousands of five-star ratings, for free.
  • It took deep concentration,” he said. “It’s not some lecture class where you can just click ‘record’ on your tape.”
  • part of the process of education happens not just through good pedagogy but by having students in places where they see the scholars working and plying their trades.”
  • “hydraulic metaphor” of education—the idea that the main task of education is to increase the flow of knowledge into the student—an “old fallacy.”
  • I remembered what I was like as a teenager headed off to college, so ignorant of what college was and what it could be, and so reliant on the college itself to provide what I’d need in order to get a good education.
  • it is designed to convey not just information, as most MOOCs seem to, but whole mental tool kits that help students become morethoughtful citizens.
  • for all the high-minded talk of liberal education— of lighting fires and raising thoughtful citizens—is really just a credential, or an entry point to an old-boys network that gets you your first job and your first lunch with the machers at your alumni club.
  • Its seminar platform will challenge professors to stop thinking they’re using technology just because they lecture with PowerPoint.
  • professors and students increasingly separated geographically, mediated through technology that alters the nature of the student-teacher relationship
  • The idea that college will in two decades look exactly as it does today increasingly sounds like the forlorn, fingers-crossed hope of a higher-education dinosaur that retirement comes before extinction.
Peter Beens

Stanford Unveils Free Platform To Run Your Own Online Courses - 69 views

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    "Google and Stanford are more than just neighbors in Silicon Valley. They're becoming the leaders in the online learning revolution. And it's all happening fast and starting right about … now. Stanford, like Google, has now announced a free and open source platform that lets you run your very own Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Stanford's platform, dubbed Class2Go, has big and slightly different aspirations from its competitors. Developed as a non-profit project by eight Stanford Computer Science engineers, Class2Go is meant to offer not only a course-like project but also tools for collaborative research. The latter functionality is a change from what Google, edX, MOOCs, and others are offering right now."
smilex3md

A MOOC Star Defects, at Least for Now - Technology - The Chronicle of Higher Education - 27 views

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    William E. Kirwan, Maryland's chancellor, told The Sun, in Baltimore, that "there are two things we're seeking: new strategies that will improve learning outcomes, and lower costs." "We can't have one without the other," he said.
smilex3md

Statistically Speaking - A Bangladeshi Teen Reviews His First Udacity MOOC - moocnewsandreviews.com - 0 views

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    "This was my chance to learn from a legend, something I never anticipated to happen in my whole life."
smilex3md

Massive MOOC Grading Problem - Stanford HCI Group Tackles Peer Assessment - moocnewsandreviews.com - 1 views

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    "Six weeks into Coursera's Passion Driven Statistics course from Wesleyan University, students received a notice that they would participate in a new kind of peer-based grading exercise for their final projects."
Sharin Tebo

VideoNot.es: The easiest way to take notes synchronized with videos! - 96 views

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    Synchronize notes with online videos and save to Google Drive. Compatible with YouTube, Coursera, edX, Udacity, and Khan Academy.
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    I've seen this. It looks like a great tool for second language classes: http://cegepl2.wordpress.com/2013/04/24/use-video-notes-to-reinforce-listening-and-critical-thinking-skills/
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    pretty nice notetaking tool for MOOCs - integrated with Google Drive (nice!)
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    Video Note--taking notes while viewing a video
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