So much MOOC news, so little time

Dang, it’s been a crazy beginning of the semester around here lately. No posts in all of September (what??) and I’ve been trying to write this post for literally a couple of weeks!

Besides all of the usual school things, there’s the upcoming WIDE-EMU 13 (more on that soon, though come on down on October 12 if you can). I’m also still working on editing a late but soon to be great edited collection of essays about MOOCs– some great contributions from people who have thought about MOOCs, taught MOOCs, and taken MOOCs. Stay tuned. We’re getting close to done.

Along with Judy Arzt, Liz Losh, Alex Reid, Jane Lasarenko, and Drew Lowe, I’m on the program for the CCCCs in Indianapolis on a roundtable called “MOOCing Back to School: A Roundtable of Professors as Students in Massive Online Open Courses” and I’m also participating in Wednesday workshop where I’m talking about MOOCs.

But wait– that’s not all the MOOC-iness. I’m also planning/hoping on putting together a proposal for a sabbatical or a research release for next year about– you know it– MOOCs, specifically something that would contextualize the quick rise and constantly moving future of MOOCs with the first generation of online classes and previous teaching technologies like television, radio, the postal system, etc. Again, stay tuned. In the meantime, here’s a whole bunch of MOOC links that are potentially interesting to me for some of these current and upcoming projects (and others might find some of them interesting too).

So in no particular order (and some of this is kind of old, too), some of the things I’m thinking of/linking to with MOOCs right now (besides the stuff I’m thinking of/doing that I already mentioned):

Community colleges have generally cast a wary eye toward massive open online courses, or MOOCs. But a relatively new model, which “flips” homework and classwork by incorporating outsourced lectures, could help struggling students and make colleges more efficient, Bill Gates, the Microsoft co-founder and co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, told a packed gathering of community-college leaders here on Wednesday.

Mr. Gates urged them to provide resources to instructors who wanted to experiment with flipped classrooms and other techniques for integrating technology into their teaching.

“I’d be the first to say this is a period of experimentation, but we’ll learn much faster if people jump in and engage,” he told attendees at the Association of Community College Trustees’ leadership meeting, which drew nearly 2,000 trustees, presidents, and administrators here this week.

As I’ve said many many times before, what I think Gates is describing is a textbook– one that is more sophisticated and with more features than a print book to be sure, but still a way of providing expert-written/developed content and materials for teachers who don’t have the expertise, experience, time and/or permission (because of program standardization or what-have-you) to put it together themselves. In that sense, I don’t think MOOCs are much of a threat to college teachers/faculty; of course, I also don’t think they’re much in the way of a solution to the problem of college expenses, either.

There’s probably more I could include here but jeez, it took me this long to get this posted so I better just hit publish and plan on coming back to this later.


One thought on “So much MOOC news, so little time”

  1. >As far as I can tell, these are more of a “self-paced” approach, which >a) has proven to be problematic for more traditional online classes, >and b) is even more like a textbook.
    CTY has run “traditional online classes” in self-paced math, science, and computer science since the mid 90’s. Our students are gifted and tend to be highly motivated, which makes self-pacing appropriate for them. They tend to complete Algebra I in a little under half a school year. They buy time and can take all the math they can stand in that time. While it isn’t very social, it is effective.

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