April 16, 2013

H817 Activity 14: Comparing MOOCs

The task:
Compare either DS106 or the Change MOOC with offerings from Udacity or Coursera .
Write a post comparing the courses with regards to Technology, Pedagogy and general approach.

My approach here has been to read my peer's writings for this activity. This has given me a better insight to possible interpretations of this task. What I've shown below is some factors that I have not seen highlighted in other posts.


Managed through their own website, there is a component menu that shows the different technologies used in this MOOC. For example there is an Assignment Bank. This is past and present students work. On some of these works there is also a "REMIX" button which immediately allows you to access the work and build/remix and reuse the work in some format.
    Couldn't find formation  for the technology used behind this MOOC.
        Coursera provides all the technology and then the Universities can come and overlay their course onto this platform. Video and audio links are common. For the EDCMOOC that I completed (yep, I finished it!) there was the ability to submit work and then get allocated peer review work. The completion of peer review then allowed you to gain access to your own reviews.
          This site also has something called "signature tracks" which allows someone to create a biometric profile, pay a small fee and get a certified bit of paper from the participating institution. This is the first instance where I have seen a "typing profile" used for identification purposes. They claim that the combination of typing speed and the speed of pressing the keys (no tablets, touch screens allowed!) is unique to the person.


          The MOOC is setup as a website with menus at the top and different areas to go to. This course or series of activities is definitely in the connectivist camp. It has ongoing features of the course like the digital radio station that are participants creating works and making them available through this forum. Students can come and go as they like but there are defined start times for this course.

                There is a whole page dedicated to this https://www.coursera.org/about/pedagogy but just to summarise:
                • online learning can be as effective as f2f
                • a blend of these two are more effective than either alone
                • the reason for activities or 'homework' is for the student to drive learning not for assessment
                • Mastery Learning is a concept of immediate feedback and ability to re-attempt activities to 'get it right' 
                • peer assessment is used for material that does not lend itself to computer checking. this is done via training in a grading rubric and then multiple peer reviews to get an 'accurate' mark.
                Not sure I saw Mastery Learning demonstrated in EDCMOOC. The immediate feedback was from my peers and it was usually in the form 'well done, there are many ways to get it right'. The peer review process was also perhaps not quite accurate with 3 peer reviews giving a mark of 0, 1 or 2 and then getting an average of that. The wording on the certificate was then matched to the final score. 

                general approach and philosophy

                One of the links on this page is "Advice from Students". The general approach is to have students advise other students and this is cloaked in "pay it forward" kind of concept.
                You can click the "Try the Assignments" but right next door is "Create an assignment". This is a great example of Teacher/Student (Teachent)  in practise and presumably working given the student examples that are available for viewing.

                    The courses are listed with the name of the providing university first. This is an indication that the material is controlled and only certain Universities have their course material here. The About page says "We are a social entrepreneurship company that partners with the top universities in the world to offer courses online for anyone to take, for free. " .It's a business! Their approach to biometric ID's is perhaps one step towards the 'making money' out of free education.  The philosophy seems sound to want to provide long-term retention of material and improve the lives of people by access to this education and improve communities. Time will tell!