I like MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) and actually took some courses for free. It is nice to take wonderful courses without paying any money and doing anywhere. As this week’s assignment treats online education, I’m going to write about it.
Guy Merchant (2012): Unravelling the social network: theory and research,
Learning, Media and Technology, 37:1, 4-19
To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17439884.2011.567992
This paper firstly sum up the chronicle change of our communication style and process to form identity. The author is especially interested in online social networking, so the analysis of SNS is the main theme. Then, the paper considers the potential ways to use SNS in educational activities. There are 3 candidate plan are shown in the paper, learning about SNS itself (its characteristics and roles in our lives), learning from SNS,( consider the potential of social interaction with SNS), and learn with SNS (utilize SNS for curriculum based work).
As I have written about identity in my former entry, I’d like to examine more about the potential of utilizing SNS for education.
The 3 ideas of using SNS for the classes are interesting and would work well when the teachers execute them effectively. However, these exercises may require the support of the teachers. As it is also written the article, I’m interested in considering the issue; how SNS enhance our self-directed learning, by reflecting my own experience.
First of all, I believe the potential of online learning, especially online social learning, which means the learners interact each other in cyberspace to proceed their learning. To be more precise, I’m interested in learning out of the compulsory curriculum, in this time I’m going to deal with not “classroom” education, but further education.
How to manage the motivation of the learners in cyberspace?
When MOOC firstly appears, many people were excited for the new, wonderful learning style. I’ve also taken some courses and obtained some certificates out of them.
Out of them…yes, I couldn’t finish in some courses and dropped out intermediate way. And many people point out the low rate of students who finish the course.
Cf.Why Is The University Still Here? (Tech Crunch)
Why we can’t push through the courses? There may be many reasons (for instance, its free price that makes us not serious), but the significant points for me are the lack of interaction and few derives to motivate the learner. Basic learning style on MOOC is like that; watching the video, answering mini quiz, write two papers in the mid and final point of the course. Although there is discussion forum in the course, it is not organized well and not so attractive for learners. I think there might be more potential to utilize the cyberspace and enhance the communication between the learners.
The difficulty in designing the interaction in online learning space
It is really difficult to design the communication in online learning space. I’ve signed up one of the course on the MOOC. The learning style was interesting that students firstly formed a small group and handled the work in that group. I thought it was a wise way to make people more engaged in their course. However, even this course, some people quit in the half way through and I realize the difficulty of managing the motivation of the students.
One hypothesis to manage the motivation of online learners
I have one hypothesis to strength the students’ engagement of online learning; the tutor’s eye. It is no wonder people lose their motivation if they received few feedbacks for their activities. Actually, I was not satisfied with the feedbacks on MOOC programs. I know it may be impossible for MOOC to assign enough tutors to the course, but for the small learning course (I’m not sure whether such a small class pays), interaction with tutors could work well as the cheer and the observer. Moreover, for the communication with the tutors, I believe SNS works well.
Some people say online learning is not rewarding, but I don’t think so. I don’t want to think so, because there is much strength in online communication (eg. It overcomes the geographic and time difference) and we can utilize them for education, so I want to keep thinking and trying to design the better learning style in cyberspace.