June 6, 2017

MOOC-What lies beneath?


The Massive Open Online Course  (MOOC) is a emerging method of education.  Today, we can find a different courses, depending of our interest, to learn online. It has a lot of differences regarding to the traditional face to face learning method, but, there is no doubt, that MOOC will have a big influence on the future education. When it is about who are the most ‘famous’ providers, at first place it’s a Coursera a MOOC platform and content provider, which  in late 2013, landed another $20 million in funding, bringing the total venture investment in Coursera to $63 million.

                                                                              Source: scoop.it

Coursera offers some 200 online courses to 1.5 million students. It does so by providing a technical platform to 33 educational institutions, including the University of Pennsylvania. Other MOOC initiatives include Udacity, which originated at Stanford, and edX, a venture of Harvard and MIT. What is really attractive about MOOC, is that online classes are free and   everyone can attend it. Everyone, without necessary perquisites such as basic knowledge on the subject.  Many students are using benefits of Massive Open Online Course, choosing different types of courses, from the topics ranging from artificial intelligence and computer science to music and poetry appreciation. Regarding to all this, to millions of the students who are willing and taking this courses, it is natural for the traditional education to set a question how much will it be important with all new technologies. But, since the elite universities are included, it is natural to ask why are universities are licensing the platform, which benefits are included, what is it beyond that strategy? Will mooc change the way of teaching? Another information included are about grading, discussions and limits of mooc.

How actually massive online courses are functioning; they offer courses depending of your interest, so you take whatever you want and ‘hear and look’ a lesson from university professor. The lessons are online, so the students are watching a video about topic of own interest and then, there a quizzes they should take about the topic, to be sure that they are understood the lesson/material. One does simply can say that  mooc is connecting people, because students can write in forums about topics, comment and connect with other people/students. So, we can say that mooc can connect education and social networking. But,there are some less beneficial information. With online learning it is often hard to concentrate and good question to ask is, do students actually learning/learned something from this fragmented lesson? Another thing listed as a minus of the online platforms, can be that through MOOC you can’t improve your skills especially when it comes to the practical disciplines, but you can learn a theory, or just a little bit of that. Beyond all of this, I wrote in the beginning that courses are for free, but why are they free? There is some kind of answer on that question… Since the universities are partnering with mooc providers and courses are free, the strategy of mooc is different from the traditional universities. What is important for MOOC, are the numbers, quantity. So, strategy is to have a large number of registered people, students, but only to access to the materials, for the ones wanting a certificate-they must pay. Most universities are partnering with the MOOC providers, because there is of course benefit for the both sides, and objectives are to allow large number of its own students to take course and open the class to the public interested  in taking credit on non-credit basis.[1] MOOC providers by making courses available online, have a chance to grow up number of subscribers and universities have a chance to serve a big number of students which are using the same resources. Another fact about partnership between ivy league universities and MOOC providers, is that the online courses actually must lead professor from that university.

Source: personneltoday.com 

However, there is a struggle between a traditional education and platforms for online learning. People can benefit from this platforms, especially because they have chance to get in touch with famous universities, but regarding to all critics, the most beneficial are the students on the campus.  In comparison with the traditional education, online learning has a less interaction between professor and students, students and students. Critics are saying that is impossible to have the same atmosphere as in the classroom, but first you have to experience online learning, so that you can have another view and make a comparison. So, for example, author of this text: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/steven-m-gillon/moving-beyond-moocs_b_7064266.html  has experienced online learning, he took online class created by history channel which created lectures as a set of mini documentaries. This online class is a bit different from mooc, because it’s not fo free, but the point is-you have to experience it, to be able to have some conclusions and you can learn something new and different from the classical classroom in which you have to listen a professor, having or not having interest in what he is saying, waiting on the time to pass. 

Another positive fact about mooc, is presented by Mrs. Koller, in the interview about main strategy of Coursera, and it’s that students and professionals around the world can have access to the material from the worldwide universities which are partnering with online platforms: 
http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/moocs-on-the-move-how-coursera-is-disrupting-the-traditional-classroom/ Also, she says by learning online you can get a certificate with which you can actually apply for a real job… but, with self initiative organized practical experience a good achievement. Of course, the most doubts about MOOC are there because of question of cheating on exams, because they aren’t really found a way how to monitor exams and protect cheating and plagiarism.

The good option from Udacity is that students not only can have a credentials from them, the people from this platform will offer a job for the students which are listed as a talent scout, considering passing the muster. All in all, it seems that universities are participating because of ‘knowledge’ and of course benefit for the both sides (a lot of students, influencial name in society, etc). and there are a millions of dollars. Professors are providing lectures on the campus and online, so it can be that’s all because they have take their role really responsible and seriously. On the another side, it seems that opinions between critics differ; ones are voting for the benefits of mooc, others actually are staying on the side of classical learning and classroom.

Online learning doesn’t give you a knowledge, but gives you a chance to choose what you will learn or at last read something new, to have another perspective or have a certificate from prestige university such as Stanford. But, going to the classroom and experiencing teaching,doesn’t mean that you have or you will have knowledge or education, so we are coming to the conclusion that it all depends of you, how one organize  hers/his aims.
Just like facebook doesn’t give a social life, online learning doesn’t give you a education. But, to put a name of elite university in the resume, that can give some benefits and of course for the providers a billion of dollars.


[1] Soo Ong, B., Grigoryan  A. (2015). MOOCs and Universities: Competitors or Partners?  International Journal of Information and Education Technology, Vol. 5, No. 5. P.374

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