April 20, 2014

MOOCs forcing traditional academics to re-think their teaching

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Lecture capture at MIT: we can do better

Rivard, R. (2013) Learning how to teach, Inside Higher Education, March 5

This is perhaps the most encouraging item of news about MOOCs so far (and also illustrates that edX is taking a more thoughtful approach to MOOCs than Coursera.)

The Provost of Harvard, Alan Garber, noted that because of the wide exposure that MOOCs offer to academics, they are wanting to ensure that their teaching matches or exceeds that elsewhere. “Our faculty are extraordinarily successful,” Garber said. “They are used to winning. And they don’t want to lose this game.”

At the same time, the Director of edX, Anant Argawal, admitted that there is certain learning sciences research that many faculty, including himself, had long ignored as they focused on their own disciplinary fields. “To me, these papers should be must-reads,” he said.

However, it is a pity they still haven’t discovered the mass of prior research on online learning, but at least there is a recognition here that MOOCs can and should improve their pedagogy.

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