Friday, October 11, 2013

#mooc fatigue

#mooc fatigue

Ok, so I confess. I have it. #mooc fatigue (I'm using the hash tag in the title so it makes the right Twitter stream, and in the body of the blog because I can, lol). MOOCs have been the new poster child of education and we've all run to it because it's opened a Pandora's box (in both positive and negative senses) of education. I've been like the proverbial child in the proverbial candy (lolly for us Australians) store. There have been heaps of courses I've enrolled in and heaps I've then had to unenroll in because I knew I didn't have time. Then there are the MOOCs I am behind in, and the things I typically don't bother with like forums.

Life get's busy!

There are many ways to pull this apart. When I was at uni or studying my ugrad theology degree, I worked tirelessly. I didn't have a wife, child, career and side projects so it was easy. I had face to face time (mots important), marks that mattered and a course I was paying for (which came out in tax). MOOCs are an icing on the cake in a busy life. Even when there are courses I am doing at work for professional development, I'm not 100% committed.

Unengaging pedagogy

I really do think much of it comes from either too little human contact (videoed lectures) or too much (forums that make real dialogue very hard). I've found Twitter and Facebook more useful since they are scaled down, but then mostly only for one MOOC. When I'm already familiar with the material and just trying to pick up new bits and pieces I don't even bother with the assessment tasks. That said, I think the peer review model has worked quite well, and I've received very thoughtful feedback, and tried to give the same.

For me then, apart from time pressures and mixed motivation, it is the genuine lack of pedagogical innovation largely present in these courses (with a couple of exceptions - Creativity, Innovation and Change and E-learning and Digital Cultures) and the M - Massive that makes it hard to commit to everyone I want to learn about. In all honesty, some of it would simply be better as a book. It's information overload in a same but different way.

That said, being spoken to by an expert I enjoy, and if I could get over my Social Media driven ADHD then I would take more in. Doing a MOOC can be an opportunity to learn to learn again through new media, slowing things down to a pace slower than the next 100 tweets that come through my feed. But it takes effort.


I suspect this whole issue is behind the new movement to run smaller, selective MOOCs that are more engaging. Massive is great insofar as many people can get access, but if there could be a move to form smaller communities - with or without a tutor - then elearning would shift back from being just about access to really being about learning in community. Until then many of us will have to be more selective, more intentional and work hard at making personal as well as intellectual connections.

No comments: