Beyond the MOOC Hype: Getting Serious about Online Learning

Phil and I will be giving a webinar with the same title as this blog post for EDUCAUSE ELI on Monday, February 11th at 1 PM ET. It’s aimed at folks on campuses, especially Presidents, Provosts, and other academic decision-makers, who weren’t necessarily focused on online learning in the way that they are now that MOOCs have gotten their attention. We’re going to try to position MOOCs in the larger landscape of online learning and talk a little bit about how campuses can think about the various options in the context of their institutions’ respective missions and strategic goals. It’s a lot to try to accomplish in an hour, but I think we can give people a basic framework and a few important questions to ask themselves.

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About Michael Feldstein

Michael Feldstein is co-Publisher of e-Literate, co-Producer of e-Literate TV, and Partner in MindWires Consulting. For more information, see his profile page.
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4 Responses to Beyond the MOOC Hype: Getting Serious about Online Learning

  1. tom abeles says:

    On line learning has been a symptom of an underlying etiology within the academic body. Clayton Christensen’s “disruptive” model, serves us well, here. MOOC’s are the equivalent of the 2-by-4, or the same as the bumps which appear after one has chicken pox, the variance offered by Satir’s change model.

    Yes, understanding MOOC’s is important. The options for their use is more than obvious. The money and time devoted to this by Gates Foundation. ACE and others are treating the obvious.

    What is important to realize is that treating symptoms and not the underlying etiology is avoiding the significant, and potentially deadly consequences for academics and academia. The potential for an epidemic is that it will affect the most vulnerable.

    Chicken pox will run its course, so a good “itch” cream to treat the bumps is fine. In the past, the academy has been able to duck until the latest equivalent has safely passed. Unfortunately, the symptoms, of which MOOC’s are only one, intersect and the underlying problem will be terminal for some.

  2. The purpose of the webinar isn’t to delve into disruption and the larger question of the future of the university, although that’s an important topic to discuss. We want to talk about goals and mission. One reason that higher education is vulnerable to disruption in the first place is that there hasn’t been a successful alignment of actual educational practices with the institutional goals and mission.

  3. tom abeles says:

    Interesting and critical point. What, indeed, are the institutional goals and mission? Is it emblazoned on the frieze around “Old Main”, the mission statement in the course catalogue, the mandates provided by the funding source, be it a religious or secular entity? Is there a grand vision or a mission of the moment, depending on the whimsy of the current pressure groups? On the other hand, in an institution fragmented by disciplinary boundaries, each in their silos, and each bending their current thinking to the perceived requirements of outside sources, who determines the internal alignment with past and current thinking of boards, administrations and external funding sources.

    Most of the stress and pain caused by the MOOC’s blow to the side of the head of The Academy seems not to address goals and mission except, as with brakemen on trains or flight engineers on planes, in the past, to invoke these mission/goals, as David Nobel did with “Digital Diploma Mills”, to maintain the status quo.

    If one looks at the history of the modern university, basically the German model, while institutions propounded goals and missions, as long as they could convince those funders that what was happening within the walls of the Ivory Tower met needs, they were OK. Mission creep and shifting pressures made institution look like Polonius’ exchange with Hamlet about the shape of a cloud.

    The other issue has to do with the plethora of institutions and whether this concern makes a difference. The elite or medallion universities such as those delivering MOOC’s seem immune to this current problem.

  4. Pingback: Beyond the MOOC Hype: Getting Serious about Online Learning | MOOC Feeds from around the WorldMOOC Feeds from around the World

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