|Power Searching with Google MOOC|
I feel a tad self-conscious about putting my head above the parapit on this one, as I am talking against what many of my peers are 'bigging up', but what follows are some of my thoughts about MOOCs and why they are not the panacea their excitement might suggest....
Any 'free' and/or 'open' education offering is a great thing. Self-learners can engage with MOOCs to develop themselves, and even without accreditation, a lot of people just love to learn. I'm one of them. However, when it comes to the crunch, many people want to know their investment reaps tangible rewards. Now I know a lot of people will say the reward is in the fuller and broader understanding of the topic areas under consideration, which might then influence practice and ultimately see career progression. To which I fully agree, however a lot of people want to see a piece of paper at the end so they can prove they have successfully completed the course of study. And with many of the MOOC business models in existence, that often means a cost (although there are examples of accreditation - see MITx).
I am fully committed to furthering my own knowledge, skills, etc, and always look to engage in opportunities to do so. To this end, I've tried to engage in MOOCs in the past, starting with the Siemens/Downes 'original' a few years ago. I found it difficult to dedicate so much time to it (even more so as employers are unlikely to allow teams of staff dedicated time to 'study' MOOCS). I found it difficult to maintain motivation for something I felt would have little impact. The same can be said for many of the other MOOCs around. I also quickly lost interest in the Udacity (CS101) 'Building a Search Engine' course. [Perhaps this says more about me than it does the MOOCs in question ;-) ] In fact the only one I have enjoyed and importantly, stuck with, is the 'Power Searching with Google' course recently.
I don't think I'm much different to many. Whilst in one hand, we hear of the Massive (capital M) participation figures, we hear less of the massive drop out figures - this Bostinno article suggests in one course, of 200,000 participants, 160,000 dropped out.). I wonder if this will prove a critical challenge for the MOOC going forward.
"I think that they are great for informal learning and maybe as a bit of a marketing tool for Universities. Not sure if I would want someone who has completed a MOOC in brain surgery to perform an operation on me though!!"So what's your point of view on MOOCs? Great for personal development or the future of (online) education? I personally don't think they will be the death of education, but what do you think?
This work by Peter Reed is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.