Friday, October 07, 2011

More on massive, open, online classes (MOOCs)

I recently wrote a post on the mother of all MOOCs, the computer science classes getting under way at Stanford this week.

If you found that interesting, check out this podcast interview of George Siemens, who leads Athabasca University’s Technology Enhanced Knowledge Research Institute.

Siemens is a MOOC practitioner and researcher. His classes have enrollments in the thousands, and he handles the large number by decentralizing -- encouraging students to help each other and form study and discussion groups using whichever social media tools they prefer, He is distributing the teaching responsibility to the network as a whole.

Siemens does not suggest that he has found the optimal model -- he is experimenting. He says "we need to tweak or in some cases completely remodel the university system," and he is trying to learn what works and what doesn't.

One thing is for sure -- there is no single answer. What works for a math course may not work for a literature course and what works for an upper division course may not work for a lower division course.

This interview is the latest installment of a monthly educational technology podcast from the Chronicle of Higher Education. I'd recommend checking that out too.