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MOOCs: Massive Open Online Courses or Massive and Often Obtuse Courses?

By Lisa Chamberlin, Tracy Parish / August 2011

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  • Tue, 23 Aug 2011
    Post by Apostolos K.

    I agree with Rebecca that you get out of a MOOC what you put into it; however at the same time the facilitator can improve the course flow (or better facilitate your access if you will - no pun intended) so that it is easier for everyone to participate and get something out of the MOOC. WIthout proper guidance, a course that is poorly designed, no matter if it's online, face-to-face or a MOOC, it will fail.

  • Thu, 18 Aug 2011
    Post by Tracy Parish

    You make a great point at the end Fran that this from of "course" may just not yet be ready for the masses (no pun intended).

    What is good is that several of these courses are being changed year after year. The feedback from participants is being listen to by instructors/facilitators and they are taking it to heart so as to improve each year. Many of us that have been participating in MOOCs for the last few years can feel good knowing that we are improving the experience for those that come after us.

  • Sun, 14 Aug 2011
    Post by Fran Lo

    I agree that you get what you put into it, but in a recent MOOC I tried to participate in, I found:

    1. baffling discussions spread in many different places, with little guidance about who was involved where, or why the discussions were all over the place (I think it was because learners set them up themselves).

    2. "live" synchronous presentations were audio panel discussions with a few experts droning but no visuals - at all - and no apparent interactivity. No idea why these were "live."

    3. hard to find materials, again spread across random web tools with no road map and links that didn't work.

    There was a lot of enthusiasm around, but interactivity was limited to the hundreds of learners, in random places.

    I've taken a lot of online courses and never had to struggle so hard.

    I don't think it's ready for prime time just yet.

  • Sat, 06 Aug 2011
    Post by Rebecca

    I think it can be said of all online course, and even face-to-face - you get what you put in to it. If you make an effort in MOOCs, you will make connections and learn, but if you don't you are apt to find the experience frustrating or at least not particularly rewarding. The same is true for any formalized course - if you don't put effort into it, you get little out of it.