February 11, 2016

On the "Disruptive" Technologies used in Open Education

This blog entry is an assignment for the seminar Open Science: The Better Science, teached by Prof. Katja Mayer at the Department for Science and Technology Studies, University of Vienna. (November, 2015).

By Daniel Marante

Despite all evidence of how MOOCS might be overrated today, how could they actually improve education?

Although there are some down sides of MOOCs, there are also some good elements these alternative education platforms do offer:
  1. a-  MOOCs could work as a platform for education that is technical, practical and applied, in which academic rigor and expensive strict peer reviewing are perhaps not so important. Teaching how to give maintenance to an electric motor is probably different than teaching a  language. The pedagogical needs for quantum-computing surely differs from those in criminal law. In this sense, the context of application of these MOOCs should be also considered when trying to sort out whether they could work or not.

  2. b-  The need to create and deliver on time high quality education in open platforms should be used to distinguish good teachers from bad and good researchers altogether. This would initiate either a requirement for good researchers/bad teachers to learn how to teach in both normal and online platforms, or to diagnose the “real? –on campus- situation” of universities, where crucial pedagogic skills are not to be found.
As a more general comment, I sense from the author’s strong standpoint on critiquing MOOCs, that he was expecting MOOC’s to be a prospective candidate that would abolish traditional education, substituting it and improving it. I do realize that selling the platforms as saviors of the developing world education system is maybe too ambitious, but it would be fairer to consider them as an alternative education methodology with particular objectives towards a more authentic open education culture. 

Daniel, J. (2012). Making sense of MOOCs: Musings in a maze of myth,
paradox and possibility. Journal of interactive Media in education,

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