Tag Archives: online learning

Exploring the hype about MOOCs

As I mentioned in a previous post, I enrolled in Jo Boaler’s course “How to Learn Math.”   The class began this week and so far I’ve completed the first session.

Ever since companies like Udacity and Coursera started offering these massive open online courses (or MOOCs), I’ve been curious about them.

I think it’s great that a large number of people–this class has about 20,000 students enrolled– from all over can access the material for free.

But the teacher (and researcher) in me wonders how the learning occurs.  I have the following questions:

  • How does the role of the student and teacher change (or not change) in an MOOC?
  • What are students learning by listening to lectures and answering questions?
  • Are online discussion forums with peers a sufficient substitute for an instructor-facilitated discussion?
  • How is the feedback that students are (or aren’t) getting fostering their learning?

That’s why I enrolled in the course.  I wanted to experience it as a learner so that I can begin to think deeply about those questions.

I also need to explore the research to find out what researchers are discovering about these courses.

I’d love to hear from you about your experiences in MOOCs.   What do you think?