Wednesday, May 22, 2013

What MOOCS Can Teach Us About Online Education


An interesting piece in the Chronicle of Higher Education regarding what hard-core online learners can teach faculty about "what works".  MOOCs ( massive open online course) have attracted some learners who have engrossed themselves in the courses.  What can they tell us about what works and what doesn't?

The first observation is one that I have seen from my online and hybrid courses.  Organization is king!  Six students were interviewed for the piece, they were "hardline" online learners.  They said that ...clarity and organization were key.  ".. a sure way to botch a MOOC comes down to one word: "ambiguity." When assignments, expectations, or the mechanics of the course are unclear, forum discussions erupt with frustration and misinformation."  Don't try to "wing it".

Another observation was that "Professors are the stars. When the students talked about the MOOCs they've taken, they usually mentioned the professor first. They sometimes couldn't remember the name of the university offering the course."  I think that part of this might be the personal connection that the teacher is able to make with their students.  The last point that is made in this article is that passion matters.  Professors need to show their enthusiasm and excitement about the course.

Another observation from these students was that video doesn't do it alone.  Text still matters.  "When the only materials are lecture videos, it can be hard to go back and study for quizzes or exams, several of the students say. Since the videos aren't searchable in most MOOCs, students aren't sure where in the video to look for a given concept they are reviewing."

Thanks to the Chronicle for publishing this article.


1 comment:

Ryan Corcoran said...

Nice summary, Nancy! I particularly paid attention to the observation about video can't be everything. I just recently attempted a MOOC that was 99% videos. I didn't feel that I was getting as much out of it as I thought I would, but couldn't put my finger on why; the instructor's videos were outstanding, but there was little or no supplemental materials.

I definitely agree that organization is king!