Tuesday, July 09, 2013

MOOC Fatigue

Of the various quotes in this piece, I found this one the most frightening:

“For as long as it’s Daphne and me running the company, I’m confident we’ll do what’s best for students,” Ng said.

Career academics probably can be good CEOs for a start up, but running a company on an ongoing basis?  And when the novelty has worn off for them, what then?  

There is a very poor analogy near the end of the piece of the form:

MOOCs are to face to face instruction like watching football on TV is to going to the game at the stadium. 

One really should work through the entire process of how knowledge gets into the student's head in a way that it can be used in a context other than how it was initially presented.  Going to class is part of that but it is the student who is the active learner (or not).  The instructor delivers the message and perhaps supplies some motivation for the student.  That is far from sufficient, however.  The student must play with the content, must give voice to early ideas that emerge from the presentation and the reading, and must negotiate through the difficult parts of trying to transfer the knowledge into settings that are not already familiar.  That other students who are doing likewise can be helpful is fine, but again it is not sufficient.  If we asked what would be sufficient, we'd be much further along than we are.  As long as we continue to focus on the delivery of the lecture, we are nowhere. 

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