Thursday, May 23, 2013

Make hay while the sun shines

making hay by TinTrunk, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License  by TinTrunk

While academics discuss the pros and cons of different types of MOOCs and argue over whether they present a threat or opportunity for higher education a lot of people are busy learning from them. Whatever you think of them they are opening up new learning opportunities for millions of people and that is really the main point of it all.

An article in the Chronicle of Higher Education, What Professors Can Learn From 'Hard Core' MOOC Students, looks at the real MOOC enthusiasts who have already worked their ways through 30-40 different courses and can't seem to stop. There are evidently over 100 people registered with Coursera who have already completed 20 courses. The format suits them perfectly and they are clearly learning a lot from the experience. Being able to earn badges and certificates (whether or not they have any academic value) adds to the addictive attraction of these courses it seems.

There is however a very revealing paragraph quoting one serial MOOCer:

One reason Mr. Lepin takes so many MOOCs at once is that he's afraid they might not last—or might not remain free—a concern shared by other students as well. "It boils down to what feels like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," he says. "I'm just afraid this thing might end sometime soon."

A rather sad observation but, given the current discussion of how to monetize MOOCs. very understandable. Make hay while the sun shines.

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