Sunday, December 20, 2015

MOOCs and the Art Studio

Back for another review of a chapter in the book titled Macro-Level Learning through Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs): Strategies and Predictions for the Future (an IGI global title).  This time I am reviewing (a little) chapter 4 and jumping off from there.  The chapter title is "PMOOCs and the Art Studio: A Catalyst for Innovation and Change in eLearning Development and Studio Pedagogies", and based on the title this chapter had me intrigued.  I am not very familiar with Studio-Based education, so was looking forward to learning a little more about that as well.  This might be a good chapter for fellow Athabascan (or Athabascian?) from Cohort 6.

Anyway the abstract for this chapter is as follows:

The challenges of MOOCs are currently a significant issue for universities. New contexts of openness, massiveness and collaboration on the Web are challenging traditional forms of university education delivery. These challenges are catalysts for change both generally and in studio pedagogies in particular. This chapter focus on how disruption caused to traditional art studio teaching models occur through intersection with MOOC activity. The provision of studio arts subjects by MOOC providers is also shown to be innovative for MOOC design and delivery. The authors show these challenges by drawing on their participation in two arts based MOOCs, The Art of Photography and Practice Based Research in the Arts. The MOOC pedagogies of openness, massiveness and collaboration, provide opportunities inherent in studio-based arts delivery which contemporary MOOC platforms rarely achieve. The authors draw into question potential frameworks for evaluating choosing and designing contemporary MOOC activity. This chapter falls within the ‘policy issues in MOOCs design' with specific relevance for the topic of ‘technology and change management for the MOOCs environment'.

This article was fairly decent in my view. The article took an autoethnographic approach to research where the two faculty members decided to experiment first-hand with MOOCs (xMOOCs) from a learner's perspective to learn more about them and how specific instantiations of MOOCs worked, what strengths and weaknesses these MOOC approaches had, and how they might be used in studio education.  It's not the first time that I've read of faculty members taking MOOCs as learners in order to see how they work, but I think that this might be one of the few times that fellow faculty come in with an analytic and inquisitive eye, and they put themselves into the learner frame of reference. Other times it seems like faculty have an axe to grind and what they write is total garbage based on a non-analysis, colored by their own perception of what learning should look like.

In any case.  Another benefit here, in this chapter, for me what that the two MOOCs pursued were actually from lesser known providers: Open2Study in Australia and NovoEd (apparently a Stanford University experiment).  I've taken courses in Open2Study, and I have taken one course on NovoEd, so it was interesting to compare their experiences with my own.  The funny thing is that I had taken the Open2Study course they described in this article and I found myself reflecting back to the mechanics of O2S courses, and that course in specific.  I think that is someone has not taken an Open2Study course, or a course on NovoEd, this article give you a little taste of the mechanics of those two platforms, the strengths, and some of the frustrations.

From the description of what studio education is, it sounded to me that the cMOOC (or something like that) might actually make much more sense if you are thinking about a MOOC that has the same (or similar) frame of mind as studio based education (Hmmm.. wonder what Lisa thinks about this).

The one thing that was brought up was the meaning of the world Massive.  O2S courses are basically 4 weeks long, regardless of the course topic. Once the course is over, you can actually take it again in the subsequent month, so I think there are 12 opportunities in a year to take a course.  While this cuts down on the 'massiveness' of one section's registration, I do wonder if it enables learners to take the MOOC when they feel they have the time, as opposed to signing up and either lurking or not participating at all because they don't have time.  If they don't have time, you might ask why do they sign up?  Well, fear of missing out  (FOMO) might be one reason, but there is also the ability to just download the videos (or access them later in the case of Edx), so you sign up when the registration period is open. I wonder if the FOMO is lessened by this, if fewer people sign up for different sections, but the engagement/registrant ratio is higher.

Anyway, interesting chapter.  Worth a read if you are new to MOOCs, and especially these platforms.

Your thoughts?

Errey, H., & McPherson, M. J. (2015). MOOCs and the Art Studio: A Catalyst for Innovation and Change in eLearning Development and Studio Pedagogies. In E. McKay, & J. Lenarcic (Eds.) Macro-Level Learning through Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs): Strategies and Predictions for the Future (pp. 61-73). Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference. doi:10.4018/978-1-4666-8324-2.ch004
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