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Strategies for implementing MOOCs (redirected from Strategies for implementing MOOC)

Page history last edited by Xuan Nguyen 11 years, 7 months ago


Successful implementation of MOOCs in education demands an insightful understanding of it including all the issues previously discussed, a strong awareness of the possible challenges, and a strategic plan for sustainable development.


There are a number of challenges that MOOC developers have to face. Some of them, examined before in the sections of issues and limitations, are concerned with pedagogy, quality, assessment, accreditation, learner’s engagement and commitment, and sustainability. In similar vein, Hill (2012) highlights the “four barriers” of revenue models, credentialing, course completion rate, and student authentication. Another challenge is to meet the demand of massive and diverse population of participants with various learning needs, preferences, as well as background. Besides, a tricky problem identified by Mak (2011) as fragmentation which is a condition wherein people involved see themselves as more separate than united and information and knowledge are chaotic and scattered. Others difficulties involve organizational, workload, training and development aspects.


The following strategies are suggested in the hope for better coping with these inter-related challenges with a goal to achieve more effective application of MOOCs.


First, it is worth learning from the lessons of the past and current MOOCs regarding how they operate, what worked, what did not, and why. As Siemens suggests in his interviews with LE@D (2011) and with Rheingold (2011), institutions can cooperate in developing and delivering better MOOCs. Similarly, this type of OER could be effectively exploited by duplication and replication with appropriate adaptation according to particular contexts. Richter and McPherson (2012), based on their extensive review of the literature and their own empirical research, put forward a number of recommendations on reusing OER, which is a great source of reference for educational institutions, especially for those whose resources and expertise in MOOCs are limited. 


In parallel, a situated professional development plan for teachers and other support staff is critical to resourcing for MOOCs. It might also be helpful to develop a specialist team of both educators and educational technologists and a group of teaching assistants to ensure efficient facilitation and moderation. This, in turns, also helps dealing with trolling problem ensuring quality, reliability, and security of online participation in MOOCs.


In shaping MOOCs, it seems to be a better idea to develop them for the genuine non-commercial purpose of promoting self-directed lifelong learning through social networked connectivist learning (Bates, 2012) rather than as start-ups for business or promotional “free samples” inviting more enrolment (Left, 2012) (though it is reasonable to use them as a way of improving institutional profile). It is essential to note that this innovative form of learning calls for a fundamental shift from teacher-driven to a more learner-centered approach (Holton, 2012). This also means a reposition in the role of teachers and students. More specifically, educators are no longer mere knowledge providers but learning designers and facilitators while students are put in the forefront as drivers of their own learning and even teachers to their fellow-learners.


Potentially, MOOCs could be integrated into or used in supplementation with the curriculum (Hobbes, 2012). They can also be reconciled as an approach to blended learning (Chambers, 2012) and mobile and distance learning (de Waard, Gallagher, Hogue, Özdamar Keskin, Koutropolous, Rodriguez, & Abajian, 2011; Richter & McPherson, 2012).


A large-scale open learning environment like MOOCs should be designed with variety, adaptability and flexibility in order to cater for diverse participants (Willems & Bossu 2012). Also, in designing or adopting MOOCs, context attached with socio-cultural, political issues and available resources should be taken into serious consideration.


In terms of pedagogy, many approaches have been nominated and experimented in the design and development of MOOCs. For late adopters, Quinn (2012) suggests forming a model of cognitive apprenticeship learning in the belief that e-mentoring in a social network could enhance learning in MOOCs. Cormier (2012) introduces the notion of rhizomatic learning and points to the Snowden’s Cynefin framework, explaining why MOOCs could be characterized and classified into complex domain:

     Snowden’s Cynefin framework


MOOCs as a structure – and rhizomatic learning as an approach – privilege a certain kind of learning and learner. The MOOC offers an ecosystem in which a person can become familiar with a particular domain. Rhizomatic learning is a way of navigating that ecosystem that empowers the student to make their own maps of knowledge, to be ‘cartographers’ inside that domain. It suggests that the interacting with a community in a given domain is learning. The community is the curriculum (Cormier, 2012, para. 6).


For assessment, crowd-sourcing making use of enthusiastic, knowledge, and open learners could be an optimal solution for evaluation in MOOCs.  In fact, making use of the wisdom of crowds is not new, yet still, has not received proper attention and not very effectively exploited.


Finally, it is important to be reminded of the fact that MOOCs, in their infancy, as in Siemens’ (2012e) words, “an open and ongoing experiment”, could not and never be seen as a panacea to education. In this “trial-error” process, both success and failure should be expected. And yet, more extensive, longitudinal primary research into MOOCs, for instance, how people learn and how to design effective online learning experiences, are of great significance in informing better MOOC creation and application (Davidson, 2012; Vaidhyanathan, 2012). Hopefully, growing attention, interest, and collaborative (rather than competitive) effort in the area will yield better fruits of MOOCs in the future. 


N.B.: For some more useful sources of information about MOOCs, please refer to Cormier (2010b)Costa and Kallick (2003)de Waard (2008)Downes (2011a)Downes (2011b)Downes (2012e)Keick (2012)Siemens (2012f).


--> Image Credits of MOOCs

References of MOOCs


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