Why do we want innovation in education? What do we want to transform? Which changes do we want to achieve? What visionary practices can innovators bring for the future of education?
“This world today is a MOOC”. Today’s entry isn’t a tribute to Donna Hightower’s hit, but a reflection on what we say about MOOCs these days.
Some MOOC oracles already declare the end of the wave. John Daniel for instance, who endlessly tours the world to speak about higher education and MOOCs (30 conferences this year so far!) has positioned himself as a “disillusioned” MOOC believer. He predicts that “the media interest in MOOCs has passed its peak and MOOCs have a past rather than a future”. Hard to believe, isn’t it?
What is the relationship between a marathon mountain bike ride and a classroom experience?
Last weekend, I spent the whole day mountain biking in the country side near Barcelona. For 120 km, our group of 14 bikers rode through small trails, many of them hard to find, and we came back at night using headlamps to find our way through the woods. Another rider and I had brought a GPS. We started following our tracks, sharing indications that appeared on our screens, looking for consensus each time we had doubts or different interpretations. Following GPS indications is not as simple as it may seem, especially in a group. It requires technology understanding, interpretation skills and consensus. Working with technology in the classroom requires the same ingredients, and consensus is hard to reach. Students using tablets in the classroom may be tempted to “follow their own track”, i.e. make individual use of technology. The teacher in the classroom is, like any GPS holder, challenged by another GPS holder to find the right trail.
Why do MOOC students disengage?
A first striking piece of evidence about MOOCs – and related experts – is that we can all talk about them but very few know exactly what they are, even fewer have registered for a MOOC, and almost none of us have completed one. Let’s have a look then at the terrible completion rate of MOOCs .
Only 1% of enrolled students completed the first-year college MOOC on physics at Georgia Tech. In an interesting blog post published last September, Karen Head from the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Institute of Technology asked herself: is retention an accurate measure of success?
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