Saturday, November 15, 2014

Open Learning: Week 13


This week has been a little easier to handle than previous weeks –perhaps less to digest.

The Opportunity of Abundance

From “The Opportunity of Abundance” with Brian O’Leary I learned that the publishing business in the USA and probably worldwide – is in turmoil with the advances being made by digitalization.   Here in Zimbabwe publishing is not big business and is largely confined to newspapers.  The Zimbabwe Independent (newspaper) is having its problems.  Probably more because of the depressed Zimbabwean economy than the technical revolution.  But they have to publish online to be visible, yet they obviously don’t make much money publishing online.  Advertising is limited.  So they delay the digital copy by a few days in an effort to get readers to buy the hard copy.  The hard copy has a lot more information than the digital.  The Zim Independent is caught between a rock and a hard place – in order to survive they have to make money to pay the staff and the other overheads.  Yet in order to survive they also have to be online.

Openness: Decoupling the Future to Radically Improve Access to Education With David Wiley

I have ‘met’ David Wiley before on a previous MOOC so much of this presentation was not new to me.  But it did reinforce his views.  One question which Wiley raised but never answered is that college fees in the US have risen way above national inflation levels.  Why are college fees rising so steeply against standard inflation?

It was worth visiting Wiley’s website.  I sent him an e-mail asking him to answer this question.  So far no response!

Perhaps the most valid comment from this video: “The future is already here – it just isn’t evenly distributed yet”

Knowledge Unlatched

We were introduced to ‘Knowledge Unlatched’ through two short videos that were easy to follow. The principle behind the movement is Libraries pay a Title Fee to an author.  The Title Fee is fixed.  The more libraries that join Knowledge Unlatched, the more shared the costs and the lower the overall cost.


The readings focused on changes happening but not yet solidified in the publishing of scholarly articles and then a short discussion on MOOCs – the past and the possible future.  The most interesting discussion was brought to me by a fellow-student -  LauraF888.  In the discussion she referred us to which is a recent (7 November 2014) critique of the MOOC phenomenon.  It brought to mind my first e-learning experience which was on a VLE (Virtual Learning Environment) with ILM (Institute of Leadership and Management).  Before we started the organisers told us what was needed to successfully learn online.  So for the benefit of my two readers here’s the requirements as so succinctly stated by ILM: -

Successful distance learning, particularly online, requires the learner to have certain characteristics, in order to fully engage in the learning process. These are:
1. academic and emotional maturity
2. specific goals
3. the ability to work alone
4. the capacity for self-starting
5. self-understanding and self-motivation
6. persistence
7. patience
8. self-confidence
9. reading and writing ability;
10. Contacts who can help with content problems; and an academic support system (at home and at work).

I have found these characteristics to be largely correct and I recall discussing them with a fellow-student in China on my first MOOC – E-Learning and the Digital Space.  She suggested that ALL learners in whatever environment needed all these characteristics.  I argued that a lot of students (in classrooms) do not have these characteristics and the work of the teacher very often, is to instill them.  This led to another discussion which is not important here.

But what is important is that those who enroll on MOOCs need these characteristics to succeed and when they don’t have them, they are likely to drop out.  Perhaps what is needed to keep them on track is a mentor.

Will the MOOC die a natural death because it is not fulfilling the perceived objectives of the organisers?   Remembering that the perceived objectives of the organisers is to bring education to the ‘developing world’ and to those who ‘need it most’

That remains to be seen.  For the moment there are still thousands of people enrolling on MOOCs from all over the world and when the success rate (completion rate) is only 10%, when 100,000 people enroll and 10% succeed, 10% translates into 10,000 – a large number of better educated people.

Final Thought

As a final thought:  I am not sure who put this in my head but it has great significance

“The quality of education depends on the depth of mental processing”

No comments:

Post a Comment