I think we have two things to consider when we are creating a plan for a MOOC: distribution and scale.
Open education and in particular the MOOC is often described as a disruptive force which questions some of the basic assumptions of education because it is seen (I think falsely) as open due to its availability online. There’s a great paper I came across “Open education and critical pedagogy” by Robert Farrow and he argues that much of this talk of disruption can be linked to the digitisation of learning materials, allowing for new collaborative and flexible models of learning and the ability to post digital learning materials online, anywhere, at a marginal cost but this in itself does not need a radical change to pedagogy. Teaching is still teaching and educational courses do not need to be created differently just because the medium is different. Video lectures are a great example of the good and bad in this. You can still have a lecture, as we do in almost all uni courses, the teacher is just no in the same room as the student. Peer review is still peer review but again, the teacher is just not in the same room.
Difficulties arise when we talk about scale, though, the Massive in MOOCs is a problem not because the class sizes can be in the tens of thousands, but because we have upscaled the number of students but not the number of teaching staff, so how does one or two teachers and a handful of tutors provide the same level of support (guidance and scaffolding) to these massive sized courses? More importantly, to keep with the insinuation of open, how do we do this, without increasing cost? I hate to say it, but even when universities are on board with the opportunity MOOCs provide in scaling up the delivery of their wares, they rarely want to do this using the same model for on-campus, they want to do it cheaply.
So in summary for what turned out to be a huge waffle, the internet has provided the opportunity to distribute educational material quickly and cheaply, but the opportunity of scaling up class sizes (which we all hate when we do this in schools), is the area that needs some thought and possibly a new pedagogy. Knox (2014)
Farrow, R., 2015. Open education and critical pedagogy. Learning, media and technology, pp.1–17. Available at: http://ift.tt/2ls67kn.
Knox, J., 2014. Digital culture clash: “massive” education in the E-learning and Digital Cultures MOOC. Distance Education, 35(2), pp.164–177. Available at: http://ift.tt/2lMzYQu.
from Comments for Eli’s EDC blog http://ift.tt/2ls2Otb