How To Make Your Own MOOC! (Well…quasi-MOOC)

How to make your own MOOC! (Well…quasi-MOOC)

Recently, we’ve been getting inquiries from associations and corporations interested in having their own MOOC. Unfortunately, you can’t have a MOOC. Sorry. End of blog post.

Why not, you ask? I guess I’d better explain myself.

The barrier is not technology–we (and many of our competitors) have the software and infrastructure to support a MOOC right now. The problem is that you don’t have the brand to draw a truly massive number of learners, and that critical mass is required to make MOOCs work.

But there is good news!  You can create a MOOC-like experience–a “quasi-MOOC.” Below, I’ll explain why massive numbers are essential to making MOOCs work, then offer five simple tips for creating a quasi-MOOC that gives almost the same experience to your learners–even if they don’t number in the tens of thousands.

MOOCs, Mass, and Social Learning

Let’s start with definitions. The term MOOC (coined by Dave Cormier) stands for massive open online course. So, it’s a course, it’s online, and it’s open–free to anyone with an Internet connection. But why is the “massive” part so important?

Massive is a borrowing from techie precedents like MMORPG (massively multiplayer online roleplaying game, like World of Warcraft). It means this open online course is big, of course, but it also implies that the mass is simultaneous: tens-of-thousands-of-learners big, with everyone working on the same content at the same time. Without that, it’s not a MOOC. The educational experience does not work the same way without those tens of thousands of “multiplaying” users.

A MOOC works by substituting its gigantic online community of learners for traditional student-instructor interaction. As the New York Times (among others) has noted, a MOOC instructor cannot answer all the questions generated by students. Instead, students jump onto the discussion forums or other social tools to put their questions to the user community. If the MOOC really is massive–think of those thousands of students all working on the same assignments–then it’s virtually guaranteed that someone else has already asked a student’s question, and that another person has taken the time to give a helpful answer. Just as quickly as you could get a personalized answer by raising your hand in class, you get the answer by typing it into a search box. It just comes from another student instead of the instructor.

Read More
Online Adult Education: The Future Is Here Today (Part 2)

Online Adult Education: The Future is Here Today (Part 2)

What Associations Can Learn from K-12

Before the long holiday weekend, we had the pleasure of perusing a new infographic from KnowledgeWorks.  Brought to our attention by Jeff Cobb, author of 10 Ways to Be a Better Learner, the infographic displays one company’s view of the “Future of Learning.”  Click here to see the infographic, or click the image below.


A Glimpse Into the Future of Learning Infographic

The infographic points “the way toward a diverse learning ecosystem”—a more personalized and more connected system.  Katherine Prince, Senior Director of Strategic Foresight for KnowledgeWorks, reflected on the potential for applying these radical changes to “a wide variety of digitally-mediated or place-based learning experiences.”  Therefore, although KnowledgeWorks focuses on K-12 education, their strategic vision outlined in the infographic has applications for professional associations as well.  And for associations– these “futuristic” online education opportunities are available now.

Associations are primarily responsible for the education of adults. So, what are strategies that they can use to provide “futuristic” professional development and training for their members? How does KnowledgeWorks’ forecast for diverse and connected learning apply to adult education today?  The future is here in online adult education.

Below, we look at four ways associations are meeting the forecast put forth by KnowledgeWorks.

Here’s a sneak peek:

Read More
ELearning And “the Fall Of Personal Computing”

eLearning and “the Fall of Personal Computing”

This week, Managing eLearning features a guest blog from Andy Hicken, Web Courseworks’ Product Innovation Specialist.

graphic showing market share of various devices; PCs are in steep decline

The PC’s declining share of sales. Source: Asymco.

Stanford Computer Science professor Balaji Srinivasan’s MOOC on Startup Engineering, in which I am enrolled, assigns Asymco’s post The Rise and Fall of Personal Computing as first-week reading. One could quibble with a few of Asymco’s details–would the PC’s decline in market share look as steep or sudden if more early tablet and PDA-type devices were included?–but it’s difficult to argue with the deeper message. The Zeitgeist has shifted. Few of us lust after a sleek laptop anymore, and desktops are impossibly location-based (even if cheap and powerful): the mobile wave has broken all around us.

Read More
  • 1
  • 2