In this post, I outline my observations about the experience and a plan for the future for this blog, for though we do not know the future of the MOOC (and previous posts make my skepticism clear) we do know that online learning is here to stay.
In one of my early posts, I suggested that MOOCs might be best suited for people who want to learn about something, whether they're in school or not. For me, the MOOC serves the lifelong learner best. Earlier this year, Duke University released its findings about its initial MOOC on bioelectricity. Of the more than 12,000 students who enrolled in the course, one-third had a bachelor's degree, and one-third held an advanced degree.
The EDCMOOC was not targeted toward people with advanced degrees in education, yet many of the people I interacted with through the class were educators, possessing degrees. I enrolled to discover what it was like to learn online and to consider technologies role in shaping learning. I achieved my goal.
Reflections and Recommendations
- I would not be comfortable using a MOOC as a replacement for knowledge I felt would be necessary for a job.
- I would be comfortable enrolling in a MOOC that served to further my own learning experiences. (I admit, I am a curious person).
- Just as smaller, closed online courses do not always work for younger students, I would not encourage the MOOC environment for younger students who want to use these course for credit-bearing purposes. Some students would be able to handle the responsibility, the nearly constant information overload, and the sometimes seemingly unfocused discussions. Many, would not.
- I would encourage older learners considering changing careers, returning to school, or looking to be the ubiquitous life-long learners to use MOOCs to their advantage, using the online environment's flexibility, the numerous starting dates, and the wide variety of courses available as a useful starting point before investing considerable money and/or time in a course at a university that may not meet their needs.
I will use this blog to reflect on my own online teaching experiences. This semester, for instance, I am teaching a theory-oriented course on Race, Gender, and Professional Writing as part of my university's graduate-level Professional Writing Certificate. I hope to discuss how to engage a diverse student population in both theoretical readings and practical writing projects.
*Above image from Blogging About the Web 2.0 Connected Classroom a fantastic blog about using technology in elementary and secondary education.