MOOC’s interests me. Well, I’m not alone there. I’m not quite sure how to think about them, but I neither want to dismiss nor embrace them. I’m a child of teachers. Consequently, I’ve vicariously observed fashions about how technology will free teaching in interesting ways that were never as much of a panacea as expected, and did not replace good teaching.
I have actually participated in a couple – sort of. My first was Scott Page’s Model Thinking, which I just found out is going to be given again this spring. If I enroll, it will be the third time. Now, I don’t need credit, of course, with my long ago now obtained PhD, but I’m very interested in the topic. The lectures are online and available, so I spent some of my christmas vacation going through them. He is very good. Short, clear, concise lectures on a particular topic. Tied in bundles. Leading ahead. This is the way you should do it.
I also signed up for one on game theory (all of these things are topics that I have use for in my work). I watched one. It was much more of a filmed lecture than something designed to be delivered through the web. Filmed lectures have their place, but are just not as engaging.
I’m also very pleased that I can find nice tutorials about statistical techniques on the web. Just went through a few on multiple regression using SPSS. Very effective.
But, what will happen? Is it Disruptive technology (I got Clay Christensen’s distrupting class for christmas, which I’m going through). Will I be out of a job unless I jump into the MOOC stream?
I’m not sure. Here is some info from Cato Unbound discussing it. And, another, clearly not impressed. Clay Shirky (in case you haven’t already read and digested) is, however, sure it will replace universities. There has been some pushing back (and those links I lost in one of my Fire Fox crashes). Occasionally they read as apologias for keeping the university as it is, with kind of pat reasoning for why it is useful (like the importance of liberal education, or building networks, or what have you. They frequently seem like justifications after the fact to me).
SciCurious had some interesting ideas, also having been less than impressed with some of the offerings.
Measuring learning is a problem. Drop outs are a problem. Quality is a problem. But, it should not be dismissed, I think, so I will continue checking on it.