Hi all,

I recently wrote a paper for 611 on MOOCs, or Massively Open Online Courses. It was the “Experience and Other Evidence” Paper, if any of you are familiar. At first I thought I’d just post the whole thing, since it isn’t very long, but then I remembered that no one wants to write their own 101 assignment, let alone read someone else’s (until we’re teaching 101, of course!).

I did some really interesting research, though, because the debates surrounding MOOCs are so fresh and ongoing. A couple of weeks ago, NITLE hosted a “MOOC MOOC,” a MOOC about MOOCs, which academics and scholars participated in via online platforms like (you guessed it) Twitter, Google docs for group note-taking, and so on (check out this Storify, also cited in my bibliography, for a detailed account of the #moocmooc). American Council on Education recently approved five Coursera MOOCs for course credit, which is one step towards higher education further legitimizing online education in place of traditional classroom courses. Sites like Inside Higher Ed, The Chronicle, and the NYT have thus been flooded with posts pro and more often against the rise of the MOOCs.

Those in favor of MOOCs (Jesse Stommel and Sean Michael Morris stood out to me) seem to be avid proponents of “MOOC methodology,” if not MOOCs specifically. The main premise of many of their posts is that in a MOOC structure, the instructor of a course must give up some authority (as he/she is less in touch with students and vastly outnumbered) and thus, the onus is on the students to structure the course as it meets their needs, to build connections with one another, and  to facilitate their own “dynamic interactive experience” (Peter K. Powers, via Storify). Stommel and Morris argue that we can learn about learning if we consider MOOC methodology.

I do think we can learn a lot about teaching on-ground and blended courses from the MOOC debates. That being said, I’m still not a proponent of MOOCs taking over or supplanting traditional higher education in any “total” capacity. Johann Neem discusses the “institutional culture” of college at length in his article about the “individualist fallacy,” and I think he really pinpoints how being in a college/university campus atmosphere affects your attitude towards learning and knowledge in general. My thoughts are, if you can “log out” of your computer, you are most likely going to “check out” of learning.

Anyway, I don’t want to get too far into the debate here, because it’s kind of a messy one (no two MOOCs are created equal, so it makes it hard to generalize arguments about them) but wanted to provide my bibliography to you guys in case anyone is interested. To the teachers out there, I highly recommended checking out the Hybrid Pedagogy articles. Hybrid Pedagogy is a very interesting online journal and there are tons of great ideas about that MOOC “methodology.” Also, please sound off in the comments if you guys have any experience with online courses (teaching or taking) or thoughts on the debate. I’d also love any additional sources you’ve come across! I’ve got that “Final Position Paper” coming up…

Bibliography is after the jump! Didn’t want to totally clog the blog’s main page. I have diligently reinserted links into article titles for your viewing ease and pleasure.

Works Cited and Consulted

A MOOC by Any Other Name.” Hybrid Pedagogy: A Digital Journal of Teaching & TechnologyA MOOC by Any Other Name. 13 Aug. 2012. Web.

Brooks, David. “The Campus Tsunami.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 04 May 2012. Web.

Friend, Chris. “Learning as Performance: MOOC Pedagogy and On-ground Courses.” Hybrid Pedagogy: A Digital Journal of Teaching & Technology. 24 Aug. 2012. Web.

—. “Where Does Learning Happen?” Vimeo. <> 14 Aug. 2012. Web.

Fullock, Melonie. “Following the Herd, or Joining the Merry MOOCscapades of Higher-ed Bloggers.” UA/AU. University Affairs, 31 July 2012.

Lederman, Doug. “ACE Deems 5 Massive Open Courses Worthy of Credit.” Inside Higher Ed. Inside Higher Ed, 7 Feb. 2013. Web.

Morrison, Debbie. “The MOOC Honeymoon is Over: Three Takeaways from the Coursera Calamity.” Online Learning Insights. WordPress, 5 Feb. 2013.

Neem, Johann. “Online Higher Education’s Individualist Fallacy.” Inside Higher Ed. Inside Higher Ed, 6 Oct. 2011. Web.

Pappano, Laura. “The Year of the MOOC.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 04 Nov. 2012. Web.

Stommel, Jesse, and Sean Michael Morris. “A MOOC Is Not a Thing: Emergence, Disruption, and Higher Education.” Hybrid Pedagogy: A Digital Journal of Teaching & Technology. 19 Nov. 2012. Web.

Stommel, Jesse. “Digital Pedagogy and MOOCification.” 28 Feb. 2013. Web.

—. “The March of the MOOCs: Monstrous Open Online Courses.” Hybrid Pedagogy: A Digital Journal of Teaching & Technology. 23 July 2012. Web.

Vaidhyanathan, Siva. “What’s the Matter With MOOCs?“ The Chronicle of Higher Education. The Chronicle of Higher Education, 6 July 2012. Web.


10 thoughts on “MOOCs

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