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Disruptor, Saviour, or Distractor: MOOCs and their role in higher education

Keynote lecture by George Siemens at the European MOOCs in Global Context Workshop (19-20 June 2013 @ UW-Madison) http://globalhighered.wordpress.com/2013/06/17/european-moocs-in-global-context-workshop-19-20-june-2013-uw-madison/

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Disruptor, Saviour, or Distractor: MOOCs and their role in higher education

  1. 1. Disruptor, Saviour, or Distractor: MOOCs and their role in higher education‟ George Siemens, PhD June 19, 2013 UW-Madison
  2. 2. Context
  3. 3. Education Sector Factbook, 2012
  4. 4. Allen & Seaman 2011
  5. 5. Increasing diversity of student profiles The U.S. is now in a position when less than half of students could be considered fulltime students. In other words, students who can attend campus five days a week nine-to-five, are now a minority. (Bates, 2013)
  6. 6. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 2013
  7. 7. McKinsey Quarterly, 2012
  8. 8. Moody’s Investor Services, 2013
  9. 9. The “why we have MOOCs” formula DK+ T+ L + (-)U= MOOCs Plus humans have been very naughty historically, so we deserve them
  10. 10. The MOOC formula Diversification of knowledge needs + advancement of Tech/digital/mobile + increased proficiency of Learners + lack of University response = MOOCs
  11. 11. Prominent MOOCs enshrine, optimize, and instantiate the education system of the past
  12. 12. This is bad
  13. 13. “Both student and teacher are unhappy when chained to curricula and syllabi, to tests and mediocre standards. An atmosphere of uninspired and uninspiring common sense may well produce satisfactory mastery of technical “know how” and testable factual information. Such an atmosphere, however, stifles genuine understanding and the spirit of adventure in research.” Karl Jaspers, The Idea of the University 1959
  14. 14. An education system that fails to emulate the characteristics information in an era is doomed to fail. Information today is: Open Distributed Scalable Social Generative Networked Self-organized Adaptive Global
  15. 15. (I‟ll pick up on this later)
  16. 16. What we are seeing is the complexification of higher education Learning needs are complex, ongoing Simple singular narrative won‟t suffice going forward The idea of the university is expanding and diversifying
  17. 17. Much of what MOOCs address is the shadow education system. They are not actual competition with the existing education system
  18. 18. The university among us
  19. 19. From the current standpoint, we see the MOOC as the hub of change MOOCs are more accurately seen as a node in an expanding ecosystem of edtech innovation, emerging pedagogy, and complexification of society‟s education needs.
  20. 20. Ed-tech startups With transformations already underway in news, music, videos/movies, startup gold rush now turning focus to education
  21. 21. 2013: The year of the anti-MOOC
  22. 22. Ian Bogost, Georgia Institute of Technology
  23. 23. (Brief interlude, aka rant)
  24. 24. We (faculty) have lost the narrative Education=employment Basic research=devalued Market forces and competition drive education‟s future
  25. 25. The day Coursera became mortal
  26. 26. A little bit about change models
  27. 27. Kuhn: accumulation of anomalies, create “phase changes” (sorry, hate the „p‟ word): dramatic change, alteration of core premises, development of a framework to account for sub-changes
  28. 28. Carlota Perez: techno-economic change
  29. 29. So, together with this guy www.downes.ca
  30. 30. and this guy http://davecormier.com/
  31. 31. To unchain students from curriculum and syllabi and foster creativity
  32. 32. Distributed content and conversations
  33. 33. “…the fundamental task of education is to enculturate youth into this knowledge- creating civilization and to help them find a place in it…traditional educational practices – with its emphasis on knowledge transmission – as well as newer constructivist methods both appear to be limited in scope if not entirely missing the point” Scardamalia and Bereiter (2006, Cambridge Handbook of Learning Sciences)
  34. 34. When systems are distributed, alternative modes of integration are needed Stasser-Titus (1985)
  35. 35. Challenge then is to create a new integrated whole
  36. 36. Social and academic connection to the university Boyer (1987), Tinto (1993) Psychological sense of community: “Acknowledged interdependence” Sarason (1974) To integrate the university more deeply with the knowledge needs of our society Me (2013)
  37. 37. Disruptor? Saviour? Distractor?
  38. 38. Twitter/Gmail: gsiemens

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