MOOCs – getting to know the business behind the concept a little better

I have been thinking about moocs a lot lately: At the FH JOANNEUM we are currently developing our first mooc, #cope14 „Competences for Global Collaboration“, starting on April 22nd, 2014. We think of this mooc as a mixture between a C-MOOC and a X-MOOC. We chose to build up our own wordpress plattform for it, … we have good reasons for that.

C-MOOCs and X-MOOCs. Some time ago there was lots of discussion as of what are the true MOOCs and what they have to look like. – I don’t think this discussion is relevant anymore. Because they are something totally different. They share a name, mostly by coincident.

MOOCs are a wonderful, colorful opportunity for learning, because of some qualities they offer:

  • significantly good learning material online
  • offered free or for practically no cost to everybody with an internet connection
  • broad discussion crossing borders of disciplines and research fields
  • new people, and at best new collegues or friends because of shared interests

This is why I am fascinated by MOOCs. And I entered quite a few lately, seeing some of them trough and stepping out of some before the end – due to a lot of reasons.

The MATHEmooc on iversity was the one I entered last autumn. It was great stuff, lots of good material online, fresh didactics for mathematics. Christian Spannagel, one of the makers, is know for his funky and fun teaching. I like him seeing teaching, and especially teaching of mathematics, so very open like he does. – The mooc, though, was his normal course put into the web. So mainly it meant creating open learning material, shared under creative commons licence in the world wide web. I liked the course a lot, although it was too much work for somebody studying additionally to a full working engagement. – The merits of this mooc: For me as a participant it was getting to know fun maths material. For the makers it was getting experience with lots of participants and it was making a trace in teaching maths.

Now I am doing the web science mooc at futurelearn – and besides the interesting topic I find in it, the merits of this mooc mostly fall to the makers at University of Southampton: With this mooc they are starting to spread the word about their study course of web science, about their reseach in this field. It is really interesting to observe how they combine their own interests with value for participants in this mooc. Communication, as of streamlined by the platform, flows only I would like to say from the participants to the makers! It reall is a one sides communication process. I give comments on assignments presented in a bloglike platform. No discussions taking place. Only comments.

Really: It is a classical didactic setting put into and presented under the label of a mooc. But is it a mooc? Not in my understanding…

I really do have a serious desire for a C-MOOC again. Lets turn the clock back and offer a real C-MOOC again! Please, anybody outside there, please do so.


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