Monday, 21 December 2015

MOOCs - before talking about categorisation

Having happily submitted my first assignment I can start to move forward with the course again (I say happily both in the sense of being happy whilst submitting it, and as a result of so-doing!)

MOOCs and Open Educational Resources are two areas I'll be reading more about over the festive season, including different types of MOOC, and for entirely different reasons I'm mildly cynical about both.

I've never been hugely inspired by MOOCs as much of the promise and hyperbole is all too reminiscent of the hype and nonsense that surrounded local authority and regional (and national)  VLEs for schools. I worked hard in that area a few years ago and met many clever people who sincerely believed in the rhetoric, and others who were glad to sell them the necessary tools, and seeing the result was very depressing.

Channeling a huge government investment in online learning into something that will engage individual teachers and departments is not easy... or maybe it should have been if we'd started from a less procurement-led view and instead used a more organic and teacher and student-led model.

The experience of many of these, which became exercises in project management and justifying funding rather than pedagogy and school improvement left me with a deep distrust of grandiose visions based on "build it and they will come" (and that is perhaps why emotionally I'm much more relaxed and enthusiastic about Personal Learning Networks or rather a version of them that meets the needs of education for schools.

I hear good things about GLOW in Scotland (and less good ones) and similarly for Hwb (maybe more negative there) but frankly would not be enthusiastic to work with either as they currently stand.

So to properly view MOOCs and read about them with an open mind I need to leave significant amounts of  baggage at the door.

Thank heavens then for this deconstruction by Audrey Watters which pours far more healthy cynicism and awareness on the whole subject of the MOOC industry and visions for disrupting education by.... industrialising it. Having read it (and in particular enjoyed the comment about the History Channel which makes reading it worthwhile on its own) I feel ready to begin.

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