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Teresa MacKinnon Post 1

5 June 2018, 11:53 AM

MOOCs and open learning

When MOOCs became "a thing" I was quick to want to explore the possibilities of connected learning and took the Change11 mooc - a connectivist mooc which aggregated posts using the hashtag and offered a way of finding people with whom to connect and collaborate. I found it a powerful and exciting experience. Since then I have also participated in Future Learn moocs and others. These fall into 2 very different categories of learning often referred to as cMOOCs (connectivist) and xMOOCs (based on traditional uni courses, often aiming to increase student numbers).  The platforms used for xMOOCs are usually based around written interaction through forums, have huge numbers of participants and frankly leave me cold. I do see that both are forms of open learning and even xMOOCs can increase the availability of learning resources to a wider audience but they can reduce the learning to "content" in the form of text or videos and reduce the importance of interaction which as all teachers know is the crucial part of the learning experience for both students and staff. This is because it is much cheaper to provide "content" and reduce the amount of facilitator input, trusting the participants will talk meaningfully in the forums. Such xMOOCs are only likely to continue if their backers find there is a workable business model, many are considered unsustainable. 

For me open learning is about my mission as an educator. If I spend time creating resources then I am happy to share them with others who may in turn inspire me to improve them or develop them further. This is part of my commitment to learning from my community of practice. I do not see it as my job to create resources which are then used as assets by others and unfairly locked away from those who may wish to use them. I advocate for the creation of little OER as a means to keep language learning vibrant and engaging and most importantly open to all regardless of financial means. Language teaching is hugely commodified and therefore can be elitist, something that makes me very uncomfortable. 

I curate a collection of visualisations for open educational practice to help people communicate what can be a rather misunderstood concept. 

Irwin Devries Post 2 (summarised) in reply to 1

5 June 2018, 4:46 PM
I would have to agree, the earlier cMOOCs were way more interesting and...
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