Introduction to MOOC:
Massive open online courses or MOOC, have been around for more than two years and have really made an impact in the education system. It has not only opened the doors of the walled universities (virtually) to practically everyone with access to the required technology but has also been able to carry out the philosophy of “education for everyone”. It has been one of the best results of internet/web technology. The courses from various universities are available online either during a specified time period or as self-paced. In most of the courses, any one with intent to learn can enroll themselves for the course.
Certification: In the EDX courses taken by me, the qualifying marks for getting the certificate have been 60%. There are many MOOC providers but a few of them have managed to distinguish themselves such as EDX, Coursera, Novoed, Udacity among others. (1)
Among all of them I have personally found the EDX courses to be more research and commitment oriented in terms of time and expectations. Coursera has been able to have one of the largest numbers of courses listed under them, which are being offered online, but in few courses I have experienced that they do not keep the preciousness of delivery intact. I understand that individuals and universities offer the courses but since it is offered on Coursera platform thus it also contributes to the content image of Coursera. I really wish they could also streamline the content part in a more cohesive and effective manner.
Personal journey and learning:
My personal journey of successfully carrying out a MOOC course started with “Creativity, Innovation and Change” offered on Coursera platform with Pennsylvania State University. Although I completed the course but somewhere I felt that it felt a tad bit short of real delivery in terms of content and that left me wanting to do more courses to understand the delivery model of various platform. I found out that self-paced course do not work for me, I enjoy courses, which have deadlines and requisite tasks. But I have also taken a course on Novoed, which is “Practice based Research in Arts” and I had given up by enrolment in the course as I was not able to complete the assignment but I found myself recalling the lectures more than often and got myself enrolled again so that I can access the lectures. Thus the motivation has not only been to earn a certificate but also to learn. In terms of my experience, learning was equivalent to the class room learning, sometimes, if I may say so was better because there was a degree of anonymity attached and thus the chance to redeem myself for that course. In a typical college scenario, there is a tendency to have opinions about individual student based on their behavior and results and these opinions are quite tough to break in both good and not so good scenarios. I was very happy that I had to face no such biases and thus really appreciated the ‘fairness’ aspect of the learning system.
My experience has also been positive because I have been able to engage myself with the courses, which I would not have got the opportunity to learn in a campus based learning system where there is emphasis on one specialization. With MOOC, I find myself able to learn diverse things, which otherwise would have never been available to me.
The only negative which I found in the beginning is not being able to read the entire lesson like a text book but at the same time, the attention demanded is so high while listening to lectures that the learning in those 10 -15 minutes have been tremendous without any distractions. With these lectures being in front of me, I have also been able to organize my own lectures better.
I see the future of MOOC being one where they would be able to float modules across various networked platforms leading a student to get credible degrees against the successful completion of courses carried out by an individual. This will be truly democratization of learning as expressed by Andrew Ho, an Associate Professor in Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, “This is about the democratization of learning: learners are in control. We are the beginning of an exciting effort to understand how people learn and how to educate well and effectively at scale.” (2) MOOC has made available the best courses with credible contents and lectures, it has been made available for free in most of the cases and access to verified certification at a nominal fees, the ideal situation would be to keep it in the same format of being openly accessible to everyone.
(1) http://www.skilledup.com/blog/mooc-differentiation-in-the-marketplace/ accessed on 1st August 2014 and personal experience.
(2) https://www.edx.org/blog/harvard-mit-release-working-papers-open#.U9uFbVZS_ld accessed on 1st August 2014