Friday, 2 August 2013

mOOC-ing - I'm so off track but loving it!!!! (Sounding Board/Reflection)

Well, here I am working through the mOOc and SP4Ed sessions and tweeting and blogging and e-learning and 'meeting' amazing people from all over the world and 'networking' with so many brilliant and worthy educators - I feel privileged!

Why privileged? Because there is no other way to describe this course so far. EDEM630 and SP4Ed has so far, taken me on a journey of many new experiences in just 4 short weeks. I am now following more educators on Twitter who have provided an array of diverse insights into business/education/culture/future opportunities etc and it really has opened my eyes. I have been checking Twitter regularly over the past week and note some of the Tweets have provided such invaluable links to really interesting articles/videos/blogs etc and I have been off on my own reading track for days - and loving it! 

I am supposed to be reading the article "Why Scenario-Building Exercises Fail Us (Especially Now)" which was to be read in session 2 but ended up on a tangent reading about mOOC - not one but several interesting articles which I had come across in an afternoon and thought I would share snippets of 3 of the articles.

Report Course Topic Biggest Motivator for MOOC Participation – 1 August 2013

Course topic is the biggest motivating factor for participants in massive open online courses (MOOCs) and quality of the learning experience is the main reason they complete the courses or quit early, according to a new survey performed by Qualtrics.
Thirty-five percent of respondents told researchers that course topic was their main motivator in taking a MOOC, with personal or professional development and the fact that the courses are free rounding out the top three at 24 and 16 percent, respectively.
Other key findings of the survey include:
  • Sixty percent of respondents said they expected to participate in course discussions at the beginning of a MOOC, compared to 72 percent reporting that they actually did so;
  • Among respondents who completed a MOOC, 24 percent said they were highly engaged in course discussions, compared to only three percent among those who did not complete;
  • Seventy-seven percent of those surveyed held a bachelor's degree or higher and 42 percent said they were educators;
  • Approximately two-thirds of respondents reported an annual income of $50,000 or less and 75 percent said that the free nature of MOOCs was a primary reason they enrolled;
  • About a third of those surveyed had taken MOOCs on more than one platform; and
  • Among those who had taken more than one MOOC, 75 percent told researchers that they considered their MOOC experience successful.
"This study confirms that for MOOCs to be a relevant part of education's future, they must offer a more compelling experience than the traditional college course," said Misty Frost, chief marketing officer at Instructure, in a prepared statement. "The popularity of MOOCs shows an appetite for learning in the open online format, but these courses are competing for attention in an age of digital entertainment and social media. Simply replicating the lecture model of instruction in a MOOC doesn't facilitate the educational experience needed to sustain engagement."

mOOC sign-ups: The secret to attracting new students – 1 August 2013
Dive Summary:
  • Students in MOOCs enroll mostly because of interest in the topic, and when they don't finish, it's often because they get too busy or lose interest, a new survey says.
  • Of those surveyed, 72% of the students said they were educators themselves.
  • The study found that offering credentials or college credit would motivate students to complete MOOCs.
From the article:
... "Until now, research on MOOCs has been limited to asking faculty and administrators what they think about open online learning, but little has been done to explore what students are thinking. ... This study was an effort to move beyond anecdotes and speculation to get some real insights about what attracts students to MOOCs and what it takes to keep them engaged." ...

Did access problems kill San Jose State's Udacity MOOCs?  - 30 July 2013
Dive Summary:
  • Anya Kamenetz looks at why San Jose State's online learning collaboration with Udacity was paused after disappointing results and finds some likely explanations for the low pass rates in the courses.
  • Kamenetz says many of the students lacked computers or Internet access at home; at one site, the 45 high-schoolers taking the Udacity course had to compete with hundreds of other students for time on the school's lab computers.
  • The courses weren't quite finished when they began; professors were still writing curricula when the courses started and two of the courses were posted without any deadlines or assignments.
From the article:
... “We communicated our expectations poorly,” conceded [Sebastian] Thrun in an interview with the education newsletter Edsurge. “We had two deadline-free courses. Especially in these classes, students fell behind. That was a mistake.”...


The first article indicates: 

 Popularity of mOOC's show an appetite for learning - I agree.

But these courses are competing for attention in an age of digital entertainment and social media - interesting but who (what age) are the 'students' taking mOOC courses - not sure if I really agree with this statement.

Of those surveyed, 72% of students said they were educators themselves - I was surprised by the high percentage. How can mOOC attract more than 'just educators'.

In the third article San Jose's experience of mOOC was certainly not without problems but could they have been avoided by being ready first before actually implementing these courses? And having the appropriate technology was obviously a factor as well.

Could scenario planning have assisted San Jose. Would planning for maybe 5 years (or 10 years) have assisted them in future thinking and planning? Remember Scenarios are not predictions about the future but rather similar to simulations of some possible futures (Joint Research Center 2005). Whereas, Strategic planning is the process by which an organization envisions its future and develops the necessary procedures and operations to achieve that future. The basic steps of the strategic planning process include information gathering and analysis, identification of critical issues facing the organization, etc (Martinelli: 2001).

Many questions arising from readings this week and instead of thought provoking in my head I am blogging it (when I remember)! I have enjoyed this so far.....

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