Thursday, December 06, 2012

13 Useful Questions re MOOCs frame Marcus’ Notes from Stanford “Unconference,” HELPFUL PREP FOR FRLV 12/7 2pmET #TLTGfrlv

Pls join "MOOCs Reconsidered" in TLT Group's weekly online FridayLive! session 2pm ET, Dec 7, 2012.   Free ONLINE reg:   
3rd open discussion with sMOOChers about our shared experience in the MOOC Current/Future State of Higher Educationand our recommendations, insights, concerns based on work with other MOOCs.

Jane Marcus’ notes from Stanford IT community's  second annual Unconference, a day-long event geared toward building community among Stanford’s IT professionals. Notes are in the form of comments in response to 13 helpful questions when considering the future of MOOCs.  The event is sponsored by schools, departments, and administrative units across the University. 

The day began with a panel discussion about new developments in educational technology. Moderated by Bill Clebsch, Stanford’s Associate Vice President for IT Services, the panel included:

  • John Mitchell, Vice Provost for Online Learning, Professor of Computer Science
  • Rob Reich, Director of the Program on Ethics in Society, Associate Professor of Political Science and, by courtesy, of Education and of Philosophy
  • Garth Saloner, Philip H. Knight Professor and Dean at Stanford Graduate School of Business
  • Yoav Shoham, Professor of Computer Science
The panelists, all involved in various Stanford learning experiments, offered their takes on many of the issues and concepts addressed in the Tanner series. A summary of their remarks follows as comments in response to 13 good questions:

1.  How revolutionary will online learning be?
- feels like we are at the tipping point
- potential to democratize education

2.  What shouldn’t change?
- in person experience needed on campus
- default expectation of what “school” is will mean that in person teaching will not be totally replaced
- increased attention to the value-added aspect of residential education
- on campus learning is an attractive market for hybrid options combining digital and “live” modes

3.  What should we learn?
- new business models need to be developed
- how to use data to influence pedagogy

4.  How to improve productivity?
- could have the best faculty serving hundreds of thousands of students
- second and third tier schools need to reengineer locally to lower costs
- at large publics, improve completion rates by offering oversubscribed required courses online
- use online courses for more efficient experimentation/“shopping” to find the right major

5.  How might middle tier schools, which teach the most students, be affected?
- potential for bigger bifurcation with elites
- all emulating the elites is not sustainable
- community colleges could use technology/online education to leverage resources

6.  How are teaching needs different for different disciplines?
- science is scaffolding of knowledge while humanities is less so
- need humanists to experiment with platform development

7.  What about crowd sourcing?
- new opportunity to include the crowd’s input in the learning experience
- need to determine what works and what doesn’t
- crowd-based peer review is less useful on campus

8.  How to connect to changes in K-12 education?
- work on identifying common core standards
- align work on the progression of learning, curricular pathways

9.  What is the potential to contribute to life-long learning?
- experimentation is easier without risk of failure
- possible for small online communities to study niche areas

10.  What is the new syllabus?
- analogy to the textbook market where out of 200-300 books, only 2-3 win in a field
- the evolution of the classroom is linked to evolution of the textbooks
- there is a danger of narrowing views if only a few “courses” rise to the top
- there is more stuff in packaged online courses than in textbooks
- entering the age of the “academic re-mix”, a course reader gone wild

11.  How to address questions of intellectual property?
- it’s complicated!
- need to negotiate joint ownership between the professor and the institutions

12.  Can we estimate the pace of change?
- we need time to experiment
- MOOC 1.0 will look different a few years from now (e.g. who will teach, who will learn, what is taught)
- we must exercise PATIENCE
- in the evolution of the academy, all will look to the elite institutions for direction

13.  What advice do you have for IT professionals?
- faculty are the content experts who need to partner with IT
- encourage use of open source initiatives
- be alert to the danger of academics coming under the control of technologists/MOOC providers
- educators must not cede the central value of the educational experience

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