A different view of MOOCs

This morning Richard Grusin posted a series of twenty tweets presenting a highly critical and thought provoking view of MOOCs. These are valuable so I’ve presented them here in this post.

What do you think of Grusin’s ideas?


5 Comments On “A different view of MOOCs”

  1. Here are my responses to Gusin’s tweets.

    1. I am presuming Gusin means xMOOCs rather than cMOOCs which I do believe have genuine thoughtfulness and theoretical basis.
    2. Totally agree, but then I don’t see anything wrong with that.
    3. Yes, xMOOCs probably do.
    4. Yes, that’s true. I would say that there is no reason that non-profit HE ventures could do the same but don’t.
    5. Not sure about this one. I really don’t think they have an opinion.
    6. Yes, true. But is there something wrong with that?
    7. Yes. If you’re getting something for free then you are the product.
    8. Yes.
    9. Not so sure about that one. It seems to me that HE has largely put itself in that position already. I would say that a lot of students sign up to MOOCs purely for interest. If they were that job orientated they would seek out something with more formal accreditation.
    10. Not sure about that. I think they would like to develop understanding and capability.
    11. Maybe.
    12. In their current form maybe but it could be possible to engender learner intimacy in other ways within a MOOC.
    13. Not sure I understand that one.
    14. xMOOCS do at the moment.
    15. Yes, I would agree with that.
    16. Yes but higher education has already done that with course modularization.
    17. Well when I was a student this was how courses were organised but they don’t seem to do that anymore.
    18. Yes, totally.
    19. I don’t think this will happen. There are plenty of genuinely open alternatives.
    20. HE is highly resistant to change. It won’t do it voluntarily. I think it’s likely that somewhere in between will provide the best outcomes.

    In summary, I agree with a lot of what Gusin observes although it is clearly aimed squarely at xMOOCs. It’s a difficult one for me because I observe many problems with xMOOCs including a lack of genuine openness and poor learning design to name but two. At the same time there are so many problems with our current model of HE that I find it difficult to be overtly critical of, what are still, early MOOCs.

    I still think the fundamental idea of a MOOC is a good one. I prefer the cMOOC model to the xMOOC model although cMOOCs are not without issues of their own. I worry about openness and I do think that current xMOOCs are in danger of going down an overly commercial route. I am hopefully that the open and democratic nature of the web will keep that in check. That may be naive thinking.


  2. Tweet #9 is duplicated and #10 isn’t.
    Great post, and thanks for sharing.



  3. I guess all of these are valid possibilities and MOOCs could be all of these – I am sure that many Vice Chancellors are seeing this sort of potential, however a utopian view of opening up the knowledge sharing and creation to the users has a great potential.

    A MOOC might not be the ‘Facebook’ of education but the Napster or Pirate Bay that has opened up the access to music. There is a case for open sharing of knowledge being more profitable than the patenting and protection.

    I fear that irrespective of the MOOC there is a move to training rather than education – perhaps MOOCs could be the medium that changes that?


  4. Ooh! A MOOC troll. 😉


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