MOOC: From Mania to Mundanity?

maturing-moocAs I think about starting my first MOOC (more to see about the process, although the topic of web science could be an interesting one), an interesting piece in Times Higher Education:

The supernova effects of massive open online courses include a warping of time. Academics running Moocs report working 100-hour weeks. FutureLearn invites applause for its burn rate: 10 months from zero to a full clutch of courses. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills insisted on a one-month turnaround for The Maturing of the Mooc, our complete literature and policy review. Taking a (very) short pause, I start to suspect that the power of the Mooc is an optical illusion caused by extreme acceleration.

FutureLearn’s recent launch demonstrated this. The pedagogy seemed to be that old favourite, linear instructivism: watch an expert presentation, do some reading and an assessment, then go on to the next class. Some of its Moocs are frankly bizarre: Discover Dentistry from the University of Sheffield is described as “a course for everyone”. We’ll see.

Read full piece.