The MOOC Experience

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Traditional forms of education have been rather busy exchanging barbs with the alternative ones. Online courses distance learning and MOOCs concepts which were introduced to augment certain aspects of education had become subject to attack.

This scene is not even remotely surprising; while such alternative modes were designed to accommodate certain aspects, the probability that such coverage will later expand to all aspects pose a threat. In other words, MOOCs – in their premature state – are already envisioned to totally replace traditional forms.

This heated exchange had somehow aroused a kind of curiosity among observers. In the learner’s perspective, would the MOOCs’ derived experience make any significant difference? Interestingly, is that difference valuable to the learner?

Making education fresh

Perhaps, it may lead to a very different way of approaching course works; budding students might need to learn a new way around assignments. For instance, in the context of writing essays, original inputs might come as highly favoured, as opposed to references (in the case of traditional institutions).

For MOOCs to be effective, they also had to put several mediums for feedback. Considering the number of students enrolled in a particular course, particularly for those in-demand courses, managing feedback is going to be a great challenge. Right now, course administrators – that is, the lecturer plus a couple of teaching assistants – would basically group feedback into clusters and shoot collective answers for each cluster.

Common feedbacks are inclusive of the following:

Evaluation: How marks are assigned? Where are the coursework rubrics? Critique clarifications?

Procedure: How discussions or debates will commence? How do you (lecturer) suggest going through the videos, readings and other materials?

Other types of feedback typically rest in the unique specifics of a MOOC course. For instance, students writing business essays are more likely to probe with questions, like “How should one assess the impact of the proposed strategy on the business’ bottom line?

Busting beliefs

Just looking at the number of students practically shatters some assumptions associated with MOOCs. Traditional institutions have been relentlessly accused for its lack of facilitating closer interaction between students and lecturers. MOOCs had initially sold the promise of closer orientations (e.g., one-on-one discussions, more personal coaching and evaluation).

However, with the huge number of students taken in each MOOC course, the promise seemingly vanishes into oblivion. This brings everyone to a leveled consciousness: MOOCs should put up more concrete promises, or for a better word – guarantees.

Moreover, they should allocate time for experimentation and use their findings to create a better learning environment. MOOCs have a long way to go; as people, old and young alike, discover the various practical ways to put their alternative education to apt use (like color their CVs or serve as groundwork for their careers), the MOOC itself has to facilitate its growth.

Interestingly, not all traditional education institutions are on for a debate. Coursera for instance, operates by working in partnerships with various universities, American standards to be exact. As it happens, such institutions do not openly express their receptiveness with the alternative modes of education; they also serve to make the usual discussions, collaborations or business essays writing fascinating – that is, in a learner’s perspective.

Author’s Bio:

Sofia Andrews’ loves both uni halls and online hangouts. She earned her master’s degree at a Russell Group institution and had tons of completed short courses online. Writing essays and sharing learning tips naturally comes as a hobby, as is with long boarding.

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