Technologies, Taxonomies, and Acronyms! Oh My: A MOOC-ish Taxonomy

Lately, I’ve been coming across a lot of posts regarding definition around the MOOCs.  So I thought I would collect some of what I am seeing on the web and in my own personal network into a blog post.

Recently, Fred Mud posted on the xMOOC, cMOOC, and the rMOOC. With the rMOOC being the rhizo MOOC citing Dave Cormier’s #rhizo14 and #rhizo15 as the impetus and prime example. Apostolos Koutropoulos (AK) just took a critical look at SPOCs – I have to agree it is a silly acronym but I am a fan of the small open endeavors. And while it is not recent, I found this Hybrid Pedagogy piece from 2012 created by hundreds in a google doc that spells out the MOOC acronym and challenges the ideas of teacher/student. It is a great reminder that this is not a new discussion.

In personal conversations I’ve found some avoiding the acronym MOOC entirely, while others augment it to meet their needs by changing what the letters mean, some keep the core MOOC but throw something on the beginning or the end, and others create whole new acronyms.

About a month ago I ran into Vicki McGillin at a local conference where she presented as a part of a group that was creating an assessment tool for MOOCs. The tool is aimed at helping schools assess their MOOC endeavors and thus for a moment the conversation shifted itself to MOOCs not designed by schools. The acronyms started flying and Vicki mentioned that she had created a taxonomy of MOOCs. My ears perked up. I asked her to share with me and then asked if I could share with the world – and she agreed so here it is Vicki McGillin’s MOOC-ish Taxonomy.

A MOOC-ISH TAXONOMY

V. McGillin (August 2013)

cMOOC

xMOOC

bMOOC

wMOOC

gMOOC

Known As “Connectivist” MOOC; Also SPOC (Self-Paced Open Course – anyone can jump in anytime, anywhere) and some DOCCs (Distributed Open Collaborative Course co-developed) MOOC – most common understanding of what a MOOC represents “Blended”/  “Mash up” MOOC;MOOC as Text/MOOC as Open Educational Resource “Wrapped” MOOC ; full MOOC course connected in some manner to an existing credit-bearing course “Guided MOOC; Also SMOC (Synchronous Massive Online Course) and MOOM (Massive Open Online Masters – Georgia Tech)

Initiated

2008

2011

2012-13

2012-13

2013

Offered By Original Canadian MOOC  developers (George Siemen), feminists (DOCC), UMary Washington Coursera, Udacity, EdX, Blackboard, Canvas, NovoEd, Coursesites, Open2Study Anyone, e.g., Cuyahoga Community College is developing materials for remedial math on a MOOC platform Any MOOC platform Any MOOC Platform (e.g., Georgia Tech MS in CS; UT – Austin F’13 Intro Psych class)
Pedagogy Learning-centered; Co-learning by all; goal to develop communities of practice Teacher-centered; Video lecture /quizzes/peer-grading; Content is downloaded to students who are quizzed on competency; some group work/peer feedback Students study selected background material from MOOC (and other online sources) as an Open Educational Resource to better discuss/engage in fcredit-bearing class/learning lab Face to face class incorporates entire MOOC either as prelude or throughout blended / flipped learning class Students complete xMOOC with support from Assistants assigned to respond to questions/facilitate online discussions/grade
Role of Instructor Collaborate in developing content/goals; take lead initially Creates content, assessment, activities & learning pathways Create course experience including content; select MOOC and other content sources to incorporate; create assessment and feedback for students Create course experience (may be a completely separate class) including other content, exercises, assessment and feedback; Select MOOC around which to wrap/follow the course Instructor-Same as xMOOC; Role of Assistant – to guide experiences, facilitate discussions, evaluate assignments and grade outcomes
Role of Student Open enrollment, Co-creation of experience; share knowledge; create projects and join communities of practice Open enrollment, Receives information; participates in group work, responds to quizzes/assignments Normal admissions; Receive MOOC and other content information; apply concepts in credit-bearing class; assignments Normal admissions; Receive MOOC information; apply concepts to wrapped course materials/assignments Normal admission of LARGE number of students; Receive MOOC information; complete assignments, participate in groups
Credit None ACE recommended Transfer credit for 8 courses; Three state systems approved as transfer credit (given review on campus); More adding F’13 through prior learning assessment Credit awarded for on-campus course Credit awarded for on-campus course; some offer credit for MOOC upon completion of on-campus “half” or other test of learning in the MOOC Credit/degree awarded based on performance on assignments evaluated by GAs
Business Model None Certificate fees (Coursera/Udacity); Modified tuition; Licensing content or platform (Udacity) Normal tuition charged for on campus course Normal tuition charged for on campus course; IF also award transfer credit for MOOC upon completion of campus class, COULD earn two courses worth of credit for one paid enrollment Modified tuition charged for MOOC guided courses (Georgia Tech; UT-Austin); S. Thrun (Udacity) believes this is the formula
Strengths Promotes collaborative discussions; Creates communities of practice; excellent for professional development Efficient download of information that does not change over time; Effective with adults with degrees; Assessment best when R/W answers, machine-scored; EFFECTIVE use of adaptive learning technology helpful. Most non-quantitative courses are survey/intro classes to this date. MOOCs as Open Educational Resources providing mini-lectures, exercises – enhances efficiency if same materials can be used in multiple courses; addresses criticism of MOOCs through promoting student participation in credit-bearing class; help prepare students for in-class, in-depth engagement with the material; “flipping” classroom enhances in-class engagement with learning/application Same as bMOOC but use entire MOOC as primary OER content source. Two courses for the price of one is possible. 1 professor/50 tutors is much less expensive that 50 professors, so can charge lower tuition; student will have someone to engage with and provide valued feedback on performance; adaptive learning software COULD increase effectiveness of quizzes; possibly viable business model and compromise educational model.
Challenges Not efficient if working with stable, consensual content material; no business model Lecture=least effective mode of pedagogy whether face-to-face or online; criticized for western hegemonic model of education; Not efficient if content changes quickly Udacity/Coursera licenses may preclude “reuse” of material; without agreement, unless put in the Commons, no guarantee course/materials would be available Same as bMOOC but more so as dependent on one source for “flipping” materials; like xMOOCs, not at all efficient if content must change quickly Same as xMOOC

(derived from an article written by Jeannie Crowley, Campus Technology 2013/08/15)

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