Monday, April 22, 2013

MOOC certification, and a little more on Self-Paced MOOCs...

Last week I got an email from the MOOC guys running the VLC MOOC, and one of the topics was in the email was all about the certification process. In going through this MOOC (really a self-paced eLearning course, but more on that down below), I would like some sort of proof that I went through it (just in case someone asks), but by and large I really don't care for certification for individual courses. What I care about is the knowledge.

Here is what I got from the VLC:

Class Certification and Class End
The class finishes on 31 May. Participants who have shown activity will be sent a certificate. We distinguish the following activities:
- ActivityClass 0: no activity --> no certificate 
- Activity Class 1: worksheet average < 60% --> confirmation of participation 
- Activity Class 2: worksheet average >= 60% --> qualified certificate
The certificates will be sent as E-Mail attachments in electronic form ready for printout.
By the way, for the future (not for this class) we are thinking about a " Activity Class 3” certificate: All those participants who have reached “Activity Class 2” conditions (i.e. 60 or more percent) will be given the option to gain class credits by means of writing an electronic exam. This, however, involves two pre-requisites:
a) Our university which awards the credits has to agree
b) We will have to charge fees (for this MOOC, which involves 4 ECTS/credits approx. 120,- Euros)
As I said, we are thinking about it. What do you think? Again we are looking forward to receiving your opinion in the class-related forum.
If I were a student, with the potential to transfer the credit into my home institution, or some other institution that I was attending, I think 120 euros is actually not a bad price to pay for a graduate level course! It's going to be interesting to see what the plan is for these xMOOCs going forward. If the courses are the same as their "regular" courses, what's going to be the difference between a $1400 course and a $150-200 fee for a MOOC that shows that you've done all your own work, and you've been assessed by subject experts and getting a university to back that up.


As an aside, there seem to be a lot of self-paced (or mostly self-paced) courses these days that seem to be going after the title of MOOC.  It seems as though MOOCness for them is focusing on the wrong aspect of a MOOC, the massive part.  We've already had self-paced eLearning for quite some time in the form of Web-Based Training. I am sure that these were "massive" in the past, given that these types of self-paced eLearning were used for professional or other educational purposes, thus they now only seem to be capitalizing on the MOOC craze in order to shine a spotlight on their programs.  This seems a bit wrong to me.  What do you think?
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