Well, I've done it. I've signed up for a MOOC. MOOC, of course, being Massively Open Online Courses, are all the rage in higher-ed-more-disruptingly-than-thou circles, what with their potential is greatly expand the reach of higher education beyond a campus-bound constituency. But not without criticism, of course. Coursera is a popular example of a company that's offering MOOCs but there are a bunch of them out there now.
Having read so much about them over the last year or so, I thought I'd give one a try.
And as a bonus, this one is about the changes happening in the higher education world.
In countries around the world, the transition to knowledge and service economies occurring rapidly. Competitive countries are no longer only those that have an abundance of natural resources, but also those with a highly educated populace. Higher education is increasingly recognized as a vehicle for economic development.
University leaders are struggling to make sense of how internationalization, the current economic conditions, and new technologies will impact their systems. Educators are uncertain of the impact of open educational resources, alternative accreditation models, de-professionalization of academic positions, and increased grant competitiveness. What is role of the academy in increasing national economic competitiveness while preserving the “vital combat for lucidity” that defines an open democratic society?
The six week course (which started this past Monday) covers the following topics:
- Change pressures: What is influencing higher education? (Oct 8-14)
- Net pedagogies: New models of teaching and learning (Oct 15-21)
- Entrepreneurship and commercial activity in education (Oct 22-28)
- Big data and Analytics (Oct 29-Nov 4)
- Leadership in Education (Nov 4-11)
- Distributed Research: new models of inquiry (Nov 12- 18)
- Each week will include readings, videos, and recommended activities. Live weekly presentations (2-3 each week) will be held with guest speakers.
- The content will include peer-reviewed articles that articulate the landscape of educational change. Interactive activities will be included each week to give participants an opportunity to evaluate their understanding of the weekly content.
Course participants will also engage in recommended weekly activities (artifact creation and sharing) to contribute to the knowledge base of the weekly topic
Here in this space I'll be sharing the week's readings and perhaps even reflecting on my progress through the course. I'm not sure I'll be interacting much in the forums or on twitter, but you never know.
The hashtag is #CFHE12.
This week's readings set the stage for the rest of the course, with a nice range of items all over the "omg higher ed the world is coming to an end spectrum" of commentary. I like the international perspective on the readings, that's for sure. I also like how they mix things up a bit on the techno-utopian side as well as strong criticisms of the techno-commercial approach. The "status quo is mostly alright" seems to be represented as well. I haven't gone through all of them in detail yet but it promises to be enlightening and entertaining.
I'm tempted to pull in a few suggestions of my own from all my Around the Web posts, but I think I'll just stick with what's on the official readings list for now.
- Trends in Global Higher Education (UNESCO)
- Africa must lead innovation in higher education internationalisation
- 3 Reasons why India will lead EdTech in the 21st Century
- How The American University was Killed, in Five Easy Steps
- The Siege of Academe
- Why the internet isn’t going to end college as we know it
- The Growing Role of Higher Education in Economic Development
- David Staley and Dennis Trinkle, “The Changing Landscape of Higher Education,” EDUCAUSE Review, Volume 46, Number 1, January/February 2011.
OK, I can't resist including a bunch of items from my York colleague Melonie Fullick:
- Lazy Higher Ed Journalism
- Failure, crisis, disruption: The (perpetual) end of higher ed
- “Innovation” and governance: Ontario’s proposed PSE system overhaul
- Following the herd, or joining the merry MOOCscapades of higher-ed bloggers
- See no evil: policy-based evidence in Canadian higher ed
- Terms of the debate: more on media & PSE
- The economics of learning
Note that there are two very different kinds of MOOCs, 'connectivist' c-MOOCs and 'instructional' x-MOOCs.
Most (all?) Coursera courses are x-MOOCs; they aim to teach a body of knowledge and/or set of skills that the instructor knows but the students initially don't. They typically have a clearly defined structure, with lectures, quizzes and assignments.
The CFHE12 course (which I've also signed up for) is a c-MOOC; it aims to bring together learners and instructors with different perspectives, who together will build a body of understanding of a topic. Their structure is much more fluid and egalitarian, with sets of recommended readings. Participants can use various forms of social media (including their own blogs) to contribute to discussions; these are aggregated and linked by the course organizers.