Potentials and Pitfalls of MOOC’s: Experiencing Massive Open Online Courses from the Instructor-as-Student Perspective

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Session Description
In the past few years many universities and colleges have begun offering Massive Open Online Courses, also known as MOOC’s. These enormous online courses with unlimited student enrollment have been touted as a way of bring education economically to the masses. The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) is looking at MOOC’s as one of the ways to expand access to higher education opportunities in the United States.

Some regard these online courses as ways of improving student learning outcomes and a natural extension of distance education; others view them as entirely disastrous for both students and instructors. Whether MOOC’s will transform e-learning or become a passing novelty remains to be seen.

To experience MOOC’s first hand the presenter, a long-time online student and online instructor, enrolled and completed several online courses offered by Coursera.org “with distinction.” Reasons for taking the courses included: brushing up on existing subject matter, observing teaching styles utilized in a MOOC, studying new fields, gaining inside student knowledge from taking massive open online courses and explore the potential for teaching MOOC’s.

This general session presentation will explore some of the potentials and pitfalls of MOOC’s from the instructor-as-student perspective.

In the discussion section participants will be invited to share and discuss their own experiences with MOOC’s either as students or as instructors.

Participants will also brainstorm on how these massive open online courses may be redefining the online education experience for both students and instructors.

Kirsti Dyer, Columbia College, California, USA
Kirsti_Dyer_64Dr. Kirsti A. Dyer MD, MS, FT is a physician, health educator, professor, online instructor, lecturer, author, and longtime online student. Dr. Dyer received her medical and master’s degrees from the University of California, Davis. Since having her two daughters, her focus has shifted from clinical practice to education, wellness, and health promotion.

Dr. Dyer has been using online course tools since developing an enhanced Nutrition Course for Columbia College in January 2005. Her Nutrition course has been fully online in Blackboard since Fall 2008. Dr. Dyer has been teaching an online graduate course in Grieving Family Systems for Madonna University since January 2007. She has also taught several online continuing education courses for Mount Ida as part of their National Center for Death Education program.

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2 Responses to Potentials and Pitfalls of MOOC’s: Experiencing Massive Open Online Courses from the Instructor-as-Student Perspective

  1. dr.kdyer@gmail.com April 22, 2014 at 10:56 am #

    If you didn’t get a copy of the session and want the slides (for more of the details) just send me an email.

  2. chesterk@hawaii.edu April 22, 2014 at 11:00 am #

    One question that I had about xMOOCs and cMOOCs was what the x and c stand for. I know that c stands for ‘connectivity’ or ‘community’. But what about x?

    After some googling, I found a Google+ post by Stephen Downes, the person who coined the terms xMOOC and cMOOC. You can check it out here: https://plus.google.com/109526159908242471749/posts/LEwaKxL2MaM

    In a nutshell, he says:

    “The origin of the ‘x’ is the use of ‘x’ in things like ‘TEDx’ or ‘MITx’ to indicate programs that aren’t part of the core offering, but which are in some way extensions.

    I noticed this use of ‘x’ in the U.S. MOOCs, for example, ‘EdX’. So I started calling any of the MOOCs from Coursera, Udacity and EdX ‘xMOOCs’. It was only later on that I started calling the others ‘cMOOCs’.

    It should be clear here that the ‘xMOOC’ sense is not of “eXtended MOOC” but rather “MOOC as eXtension of something else””.

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