Tuesday, July 09, 2013

MOOC leaders leap, wonder if maybe they should have looked


In "Beyond MOOC Hype" at IHE, Ry Rivard reports that some MOOC cheerleaders are starting just now to ask the questions that the rest of us have been asking since 2011. 
After showering MOOC enthusiasts with money, Dan Greenstein has an insight:
"It seems to me, at least with respect to MOOCs, that we have skipped an important step,” he wrote in an Inside Higher Ed op-ed last week. “We’ve jumped right into the ‘chase’ without much of a discussion about what problems they could help us to solve. We have skipped the big picture of where higher ed is going and where we want to be in 10 or 20 years.”
Yup.   And Carol Geary Schneider:

Carol Geary Schneider, the head of the Association of American Colleges and Universities, worries that MOOCs can amplify the “least productive pedagogy” in American higher education, which she calls lectures followed by multiple-choice tests. But she does see potential for MOOCs to help flip classrooms so professors can spend less time lecturing in class and more time engaging students. 
“It would be a tragedy if you substituted MOOCs in their current form for regular courses,” she said in an interview. “But it would be a creative breakthrough if you take advantage of MOOCs and other forms of online coverage to make more space and more time for students to apply concepts and methods appropriate to their field to real problems.”

So Schneider does see the lecture/multiple-choice question format as less than ideal, although she does not question the "flipped classroom" model.  I'm also a little worried about "coverage," which suggests a simple transmission model of pedagogy.

But it's a start. Now if we can make them go back and read all the bloggers' posts about this, they'll maybe have some answers for our questions.

6 comments:

Contingent Cassandra said...

This is, of course, especially frustrating given how much time many of us spend specifying course goals, student learning outcomes, etc., etc. and how class activities connect to them. This is, of course, a useful exercise, but it's not clear that experienced teachers need to perform it for every class, or that students -- pace the edutheorists -- pay any attention, much less actually benefit from being told why they're doing things. The one time I'd argue it's a *very* good idea is when one is thinking of making major changes to the curriculum, including methods of instruction -- which should, of course, be the sort of thing that is initiated by the faculty, in response to issues they perceive, but sadly that doesn't seem to be the way things are done anymore. And administrators seem unwilling to abide by their own rules/procedures.

Historiann said...

I thought you'd enjoy that schadenfreudelicious article at IHE, Undine! I sure did.

Fire. Aim. Are we ready now?

undine said...

Contingent Cassandra--I'm not sure that our efforts to articulate our pedagogy in a coherent way is being paid attention to by the MOOCists, for sure.

Historiann--what a great word, schadenfreudelicious! Exactly--fire, aim, ready. Why have bloggers been the only ones to see this?

profacero said...

“But it would be a creative breakthrough if you take advantage of MOOCs and other forms of online coverage to make more space and more time for students to apply concepts and methods appropriate to their field to real problems.”

It would NOT. One has always had people do reading outside class and discuss it in class. There is NOTHING new about this, no creative breakthrough.

sophylou said...

Profacero, agree. Also, you don't "make time" with a MOOC. Havng students watch videos doesn't magically extend the boundaries of time.

sophylou said...

Profacero, agree. Also, you don't "make time" with a MOOC. Havng students watch videos doesn't magically extend the boundaries of time.