By Mira Vogel, on 20 September 2013
Cross-posted on ALT Mooc SIG.
Today the Department for Business Innovation & Skills published a literature review on on ‘The Maturing of the MOOC’. It was written by Stephen Haggard (independent learning consultant at time of writing, now working at Desire2Learn) with the University of London’s Centre for Distance Learning and the Observatory on Borderless Higher Education.
Most people are sensibly keeping shtum while they read it, so there’s not much considered response to link to at this stage. I haven’t read it yet, but there are some things I hope it will tell me. I’m hoping to find out more about educational approaches including connectivism, a theory or set of principles around learning with a massive dispersed cohort. Connectivism has a relatively low profile in the formal literature because its proponents and observers favour publishing in social media (exceptions include the International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning – IRRODL). Another group which self-publishes is students – I am hoping to find out more about student experiences of Moocs. Under what circumstances might Moocs open doors for non-traditional students? What are the differences for paying and non-paying students? What do pedgagogies of equal opportunity look like?
Continuity with and departures from of the existing literature on distance learning would be very helpful, as would insights into perceptions that Moocs threaten higher education – fears of a two tier higher education system, of liberalisation and the running down of state education, and of the deprofessionalisation of university teachers. Credit-bearing assessment and its role in attracting students is bound to get plenty of consideration – what news of the startling prospect of natural language analysis for automatic marking of essays? In skimming I’ve just seen that there is a section on infographics which I’m looking forward to, as well as some sentiment analysis of Mooc reporting.
And on today’s other big event, the launch of Futurelearn beta, Doug Clow has an interesting technical functional account of its platform and congratulates Futurelearn on its agility. There’s plenty of mainstream media business talk of chasing, racing and standing out from the crowd, and not not much (yet?) about approaches to learning and teaching. Inge asks early participants to consider whether Futurelearn is accessible, seamless and social.
Some recent publications. For predictions about future directions in learning see the Open University’s Innovating Pedagogy report 2013, coordinated by Futurelearn’s Mike Sharples. And here’s MOOCs Forum 1(1), a new open access periodical whose editor Nish Sonwalkar writes “MOOCs started with a grand promise to democratize education across the world, but the realities of the academic world have presented many issues for their future. It is important for MOOCs Forum to promote the promise that is inherent in the MOOCs movement”.