Not Just a Teacher

binge thinking on technology and education

Not Just a Teacher

ICT a good fit for a MOOC?

September 15th, 2010 · No Comments · General

Having watched the Eight Shifts presentation a few times (https://docs.google.com/present/view?id=ah8n38hnwpnq_695dnwp3ccc), there could be a lot there for secondary school education in the UK to model itself on or at least a lot that schools really should be working towards. Focusing on my subject- ICT and specific aspect of the presentation, the concept of a Massive Open Online Course explained by the video on slide 82 of the presentation and shown here:

I started to think about the OCR Nationals course and similar ‘optional unit’ courses such as BTEC, IMedia etc: How much can these courses given the potential for choice, independent learning and the supposed IT proficiency of most young people be the foundations that allow the development of an MOOC?

Dave Cormier on that course sets out an MOOC as being a networked course that is decentralized and participatory. Some of that could be done in my view on a course such as OCR Nationals where the work that has to be completed is merely proof of skills with software. The scenario or context (other than being ‘business’) is entirely open. Decentralization and participation are of course brave positions for any school to take when dealing with a results-based business that education in the UK demands. Yet, it could be argued that the open creation of resources (eg http://www.james-greenwood.com/resourcebank/), activities on forums and communities (eg http://community.ocr.org.uk/community/), sharing of experience and materials (eg http://ictcurric.org.uk/) that I have witnessed first hand are achieving that at a teacher level. I suppose the question is whether those same values can be created in students on the course.

The criteria for a successful learner on an MOOC creates few issues for me in my experience in teaching ICT. Independence is at the heart of education in my classroom as is engagement with ideas and my school is passionate about AFL hence students are very much encouraged to pursue their own goals. Admittedly, the engagement issue needs some further consideration as an MOOC model suggests students are engaging with each other and the ideas that participants share. This again points to the practices of teachers on the courses of sharing and communicating, being translated to students.

I suppose where the idea of running secondary school ICT courses as MOOCs falls down is in respect of knowledge in the course. It could be that ICT courses are run in respect of the skills being shown achieving the qualification (eg creation of a website to convey your ideas) but the actual knowledge not being fixed, i.e. emerging and negotiated as is suggested in the video but the real skill would surely be in the role of the teacher. The shift to facilitating for any teacher on such a course would be immense and some of this is discussed in http://ltc.umanitoba.ca/connectivism/?p=53. Added to this is a reliance on the students concerned being ‘active’ participants and the lack of structure such a course seems to natural veer towards.

I remember being told of a college that allows it’s students to take any of the OCR Nationals units at Level 2 after having completed the mandatory unit. That’s a choice of any from 22 optional units!! I don’t know if that college exists but maybe they are starting a shift towards an Open Online Course although how ‘Massive’ it is I don’t know.

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