Some rambling thought from recent readings:
When I used to explore MOOCs, I thought that if your MOOC requires people to watch video, you’re not doing it right. Siemens et al. set them up so participants could choose which content to interact with, so videos were optional. That sense of learner autonomy is what drew me to MOOCs. I think it’s a key component of openness as well. That’s reflected in the vision of personal learning that Downes brought to MOOCs in the first place.
Belshaw reviewed Downes’ talk on Why Personal Learning. I was drawn to his assessment of the Groups vs Networks slide: “…it’s a wider thing than just an approach to learning. It’s an approach to society.” Groups and Networks are subtitled as Collectives and Communities, which is a great bit of wordplay. “Collectives” implies communism, something that’s generally frowned upon here in the US, while community is something that is valued, in word if not in deed. On the other hand the Group model as presented looks a lot like what our society aspires to be. As Belshaw says, “some people want paternalism as it provides a comfort blanket of security.”
Does it have to be one or the other? I like the Network model. Maybe I’m something of a “roaming autodidact.” I do fit the description. But I think people should be empowered to take control of their own learning and education. They may choose the comfort blanket, but they should have the option of casting it off.
Moe discusses the importance of video in MOOCs – “the rich history of educational film needs to be a staple of contemporary course design” – but I don’t think that video should be the sole or primary focus. It doesn’t need to be one way. I don’t think the focus should be on content consumption either, but rather interaction and creation. Kinda like what happens in ds106. Give people the opportunity to find their own ways to document their understanding and express their questions.
Of course some MOOCs aren’t about that. They’d rather “see it all, find out who you call” and see what they can do with that data – the price you pay for paternalism.