Posts tagged open education

MOOCs condense and fracture course material and present it in the pithiest, shallowest form. They lack improvisation, serendipity, and familiarity. They pander to the broadest possible audience because in the MOOC economy—such as it is—enrollment is currency and quality is measured by the number of people who have checked in without subtracting the number who check out.

That’s not to say that MOOCs could not improve greatly, as I trust they will. But the unfounded hyperbole surrounding MOOCs ignores the real outstanding work professors in all fields have been doing integrating digital and multimedia tools into their courses and the outstanding work being done with online courses that have reasonable, controlled enrollments.

Siva Vaidhyanathan, Cato Unbound. A New Era of Unfound Hyperbole.

By MOOCs he means the massive open online courses like those offered through Coursera, UdacityUniversity of the People, etc. — courses that could potentially upset the accreditation system of university education. But don’t take the above quote out of context. Vaidhyanathan doesn’t mean to write that MOOCs are bad or harmful. He writes that the excitement surrounding them may limit their scope.

MOOCs, besides cheapening reducing the cost of education, can be used to do what university courses cannot — reach students outside of the traditional academic world.

Take Clay Shirky’s post on MOOCs from last week:

MOOCs expand the audience for education to people ill-served or completely shut out from the current system, in the same way phonographs expanded the audience for symphonies to people who couldn’t get to a concert hall, and PCs expanded the users of computing power to people who didn’t work in big companies.

Free Online Class Shakes Up Photo Education

If you’re an aspiring photographer or just want to brush up on your skills, take a look at the free online classes Jonathan Worth is conducting through England’s Coventry University.

Via Wired:

The breadth of content and openness of the class is enough to make any online education junkie salivate. The class’s RSS feeds host audio-recorded lectures, class assignments and special discussions. Worth’s Fall course attracted over 10,000 visitors to its website from 1,632 cities in 107 countries and the Winter course is available as an iPhone App. Lectures from the course have been downloaded thousands of times on iTunes…

…Worth’s two experimental classes Photography and Narrative (#PHONAR) and Picturing the Body (#PICBOD) are free, online undergraduate curricula and they’re entirely open. Both courses directly address the radical transformations in the media economy. For example, the course catalog reads: The role of photographer (mode of information) as supplier to old media (mode of distribution) no longer exists – that link has been broken. We recognise [sic] instead the need to redefine the role of the contemporary photographer as publisher.

Photography and Narrative begins this fall.

Picturing the Body begins this winter.

You can start your learnings now though, both sites offer plenty of material from past semesters.

Looking for other topics? Try MIT’s OpenCourseware, a site holding lectures, articles and other sources across multiple disciplines.