The MOOC is dead, long live the MOOC

Much has been said about the so called “failure” of the MOOCs. I have written about this fallacy before on this blog, but the debate continues, fueled largely by those that imagine they are dancing on the MOOC’s grave. The evidence is slim – San José State’s experiment last summer, Sebastian Thrun’s doubts – none of that points to the death of the MOOC, just the transformation of an incipient, and revolutionary, concept.

It really doesn’t matter how many times those of us engaged in digital pedagogy explain to the detractors that there is more to digital pedagogy than MOOCs, they are not listening. I have argued multiple times that MOOCs in their current embodiment are but the very first version of a teaching methodology and technology that is new, and therefore bound to change, but the mere mention of MOOC or online ed is a dialogue-killer. There is no point demonstrating the effectiveness of online ed to those that don’t “believe” in it.

Cathy Davidson just posted a fantastic contribution here.  Online education and large-scale online education like MOOCs are a developing field, it’s all still open for discussion and discovery. Davidson addresses the main criticism/attacks made against MOOCs in a cogent, clear and enthusiastic way and I just hope more and more people listen.

In the meantime, why not follow my current course at UCR on twitter? It’s a Freshman intro to Violence and the History of Latin America and the hashtag for anything about the course is #ChassW14. We are playing Jeopardy! in class using twitter, we are live-tweeting lectures and posting storify boards about the lectures. Students, TAs and myself are participating in an exercise that blends social media, digital media and a traditional classroom that loooks and feels less and less traditional – and we are having loads of fun doing so.

Is it a MOOC? No. Did MOOCs and the world of digital and hybrid pedagogy they helped galvanize influence me? You bet.

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