Friday, July 12, 2013

On xMOOCs, autodidactism, design and the banking model

So I am back from vacation, and onto the MOOC path again. I am not sure if vacationing has made me a little less interested in MOOCs (and more interested in things like sitting on my deck, drinking coffee and reading a good book), or if the glut of xMOOCs, the commercial rush for people to make LMSs for them, and the elitism of certain providers as to which institutions can join their club. All of this seems to have eroded away the openness of the concept of MOOC. Luckily we have original MOOCs (cMOOC) still around, and edupunks interested in continuing with them, but the news seems to only consider xMOOCs.

In any case, I was reflecting a bit on my own xMOOC experience, reflecting on the Banking Model of education, and thinking of the spirit of autodidactism that seemed to go hand-in-hand with the original MOOCs (cMOOCs now). In thinking about the design of the MOOCs that have I have attended (or completed) on EdX and Coursera it seems to me that the current course design is heavily based on the idea that students read something (and/or view something) and there is some sort of basic test to test acquisition of facts.

Critical thinking (or just extrapolated thinking) evaluations seem to not be part of the xMOOC and since there is a clearly defined path through the course (with future models hidden until you reach that week) it seems that the freedom of autodidactism is thwarted somewhat through this design. Now, granted, most of the MOOCs I've attended (well, most xMOOCs anyway) seem to be introductory courses of some sort, maybe geared toward the undergraduate student, but even at those level I would say that there are ways of making the course more autodidact-friendly, and less rigid in its implementation. More life long learning and less just remember this.  What do you think?
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