I have taken this off the ALT-Members list, who have been debating the pros and cons of MOOCs and other assorted open course types for a while, so that I can spread it more widely; seems to me to be an eminently sensible set of propositions from Diana Laurillard:
Here are some propositions related to MOOCs, which I’ve tried to express clearly but starkly in response to the recent discussions. If you accept these, then I think it follows that we are not progressing the MOOC phenomenon in the most valuable way:
- Formal education is not a mass delivery consumer industry but a client industry – we do not deliver knowledge to students, we try to nurture each individual’s intellectual knowledge and skills to their highest potential level.
- Formal education is not an emergent property of group discussion but a contract with a student to take them to a criterion or normative level of capability, which it is objectively agreed and therefore not up to them to define.
- A university degree requires personal guidance, feedback and accreditation in terms of this agreed standard – and this is labour intensive and therefore expensive.
- Higher education for some proportion of the population should not be free because it would have to be funded out of taxation, and yet it confers a financial advantage on the beneficiary, which lower-paid unqualified taxpayers should not be required to fund (so a graduate tax would be a better way to fund HE).
- Experimentation with online pedagogies of the kind found in MOOCs has been available to us for over a decade. We should not have needed the MOOC phenomenon to start experimenting with technology-based pedagogies for the benefit of our existing students.
- MOOC pedagogies fit the ‘professional development’ pedagogic format of ‘presentation + peer discussion’, with no expectation of feedback, assessment or accreditation, as in the cMOOC, with an optional certificate of ‘attendance’.
Universities could offer a more or less cost-free spin-off from campus-based pedagogical innovations using learning technologies – such as the master-class format alluded to in Ian Chowchat’s interesting review. This was the open courseware approach. Going beyond that to orchestrating online peer discussions need not be very labour intensive if tutors do not give feedback – the Edinburgh report indicated that few students engage in the forums in any case. Computer-marked tests once designed are not labour intensive to mark, and are exactly what campus students welcome. But offering a ‘course’ creates expectations, and academics are clearly responding to those expectations from a very demanding group of ‘students’.
So I think our most interesting challenge is to work out the new forms of pedagogy that support valuable learning experiences by using technology to provide much higher gearing ratios for academic teaching labour.
And these new and better pedagogies should begin with our campus students – they are the ones paying for the academic time that creates all these free-at-the-point-of-use courses for rich professionals. They are the ones who deserve better pedagogies along with the labour-intensive guidance, feedback and accreditation. Universities may then use these outputs to create spin-off cMOOCs. Wouldn’t that be a fairer way forward?
Olga talked about two projects including her PhD at Macquarie. See work on her web page in the right hand column.
Andrew Prosser talking about the use of digital stories in teacher education in Korea at the recent WorldCALL Conference in Glasgow.
I am currently at:
with a number of our current and former students: Isil Boy, Olga Kosar, Tal Levy, Wu Ligao, Eleni Nikiforou, Andrew Prosser, Ellen Rana, Ana Victoria Perez Real, Lijing Shi and Anna Varna.
The talk Isil Boy and I gave at the conference, based on her MA dissertation research, is about teachers views of mobile learning.
I made some notes during sessions on a Google Doc.
You can read abstracts and short articles of all the presentations at the conference on the WorldCALL website.
Just returned from a great IATEFL conference where some of the IATEFL stewards were current Manchester MA students:
Stewards at the Liverpool IATEFL Conference 2013, includes current Manchester MAs
Also, met a large number of current distance and former students many of whom were giving talks. If you search with the hashtag #techtesol you’ll find quite a lot of useful links. If you want to find out more and see video recordings check out IATEFL Online 2013.
I have been invited to be a plenary at this conference in Cyprus: http://lcweb.ucy.ac.cy/flit/.
I see that Greg Kessler is also a plenary and that there is a call for papers out. Cyprus is a short hop for many of you, why not put in a paper and have a good Manchester showing.
The international symposium on Digital Methodologies in Educational Research will be held on 10th May 2013.
The event is funded by Digital Social Research (University of Oxford), a new phase of the ESRC e-Social Science program, and organised by the University of Central Lancashire in association with the UCLan Centre for Research-Informed Teaching.
Venue: Brockholes Conference Centre in Preston, UK: http://www.brockholes.org
Invited Speakers: Professor Paul Seedhouse, Professor Stephen Bax and Stephen Downes
The purpose of this one-day symposium is to develop and support digitally-enabled research across the field of education. By providing a forum for the discussion of digital approaches, the event will enable the exchange of methodologies, ideas, expertise and knowledge and present educational researchers, practitioners and doctoral students with opportunities to develop new networks and share good practice. The use of new digital research methodologies in education is rapidly developing in quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods approaches. Across education digital methods are being used to address new practices related to the changing landscape of research collaboration, observation, analysis and dissemination. As a result of Web 2.0 technologies, educational researchers are also increasingly turning to new approaches to research computer-mediated communication, involving social media, social networks and virtual immersive environments. The symposium will address the key issues related to the Digital Social Research Strategy, particularly in relation to the challenges posed by data collection and analysis in the digital age, including trust and quality, interoperability and data preservation in an educational context. The event is aimed at established as well as early career researchers and postgraduate students.
Registration is free and lunch and refreshments are provided. All attendees must register in advance with Dr Michael Thomas (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Answering some questions about technology and language learning after my plenary.
British Council Interviews Dr. Gary Motteram from British Council Turkey on Vimeo.
I am doing a webinar 28th November for the British Council in Turkey: A conversation about social media in language learning and then following this I am attending an ELT conference at Ylidiz University organised by our own Isil Boy. I’m speaking on the Saturday: 30th November.
One of our former students discussing the pros and cons of doing a Diploma or an Master’s; see what you think: