Insider / Outsider MOOC Divide

01 Oct

By Joshua Kim

There are two MOOC narratives. An insider MOOC narrative. And an outsider MOOC narrative.

MOOC insiders are people who have taught a MOOC, worked on a MOOC, done research about MOOCs, championed a MOOC, or worked for the platform providers that have enabled MOOCs.

MOOC outsiders may have invested time exploring an open online course, but they have not been directly involved in the creation, teaching, or enabling of a MOOC.

What I’m coming to understand, and what is causing me increasing levels of concern, is that there is a growing chasm between MOOC insiders and MOOC outsiders.

I’m starting to think that the biggest challenge that the open online learning community needs to face is how to authentically engage with MOOC outsiders.

It is with these thoughts in mind that I head off to the Learning With MOOCS II – 2015 workshop (10/2-10/3).  If there ever was a gathering of MOOC insiders, this is it.

Here is what the MOOC insider / outsider narrative looks like:

MOOC Insider: Open online learning provides an opportunity to create a space to experiment with new teaching methods and techniques that have the potential to inform how traditional teaching and learning is structured on campus.

MOOC Outsider: MOOCs are a fad, and the schools creating these open online courses are doing so out of fear of being left behind. Like all fads, MOOCs will fade away as sustainable business models fail to emerge and the promises of transformative educational practices fail to materialize.

MOOC Insider: Open online learning was never meant to replace traditional higher education, as there is strong evidence that authentic student learning occurs best when educators have the opportunity to intensively mentor and coach individual learners. Where MOOCs may be helpful is discovering where certain aspects of teaching, such as content delivery, can be moved to other (data validated) platforms, freeing up time and space for a relational model of teaching and learning.

MOOC Outsider: It is clear that the goal of people pushing MOOCs is to increase postsecondary productivity at the expense of both faculty autonomy and student learning. MOOCs are a thinly disguised corporatist attempt to de-skill faculty by moving the traditional teaching role from a creative enterprise to a commoditized (and low-cost) set of  operations.

[ Full article available at Inside Higher Ed: ]

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Posted by on October 1, 2015 in MOOCs in the News, Op-Ed



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