The essay is a review of Massive Online Courses (MOOCs) and their role in the digitized era. A brief history of the MOOC is provided where George Siemens and Stephen Downes are mentioned as the pioneers of the online course. From the short history, it is evident that the philosophers developed MOOC for purposes of connecting and to alleviating the traditions of distance and self-access learning to make education possible online. Various factors have caused MOOCs become an integral part of current teaching and learning processes, and they include the will of the people to access education and the increased access to technology. The essay elaborates that the development of MOOCs from previous existing forms of learning has provided more learning opportunities and improved the learning experience. These advantages owe to the various characteristics of this course that have attracted many students; firstly, MOOCs are online courses with no formal entry. Secondly, the classes have no participation limit, are free of charge, and do not earn credit points. Equally important, MOOCs are taught courses with a variety of lectures and exercises, they involve interaction between teacher and student, and they allow learners to study at their pace.
From the essay, it can also be noted that the free nature of MOOCs and the popularity of the courses not only attract students but also attract tutors from various nations. The ability to draw both students and tutors culminates from the two models of MOOCs, and they include cMOOC and xMOOC. The first model emphasizes creativity, knowledge creation and generation, and social networking learning. The second model adopts a traditional learning approach that utilizes video presentations, testings, and short quizzes. The popularity of MOOCs has attracted for-profit and non-profit organizations that have partnered with various higher institutions of learning. Some of the organizations are Coursera, edX, Udemy, and Futurelearn.
Research indicates that MOOC enrollment varies across populations. For instance, in a Coursera course, a majority of the students were working professionals, a smaller group of students, and unemployed individuals. Moreover, not all individuals in these classes have the same goals. Evidence shows that more than half of the students participate in the training, but a majority do not pass the final test. The situation in the enrolment and issuing of certificates culminates from the fact that some students join the courses out of curiosity, others desire to see the content of the lectures, and some participate in the class to evaluate the forms of presenting the teaching materials.
MOOCs are coupled with various challenges that affect the successful learning of students. The system for evaluating the autonomous works of the students is weak. The weakness is due to the set parameters of the tests that automatically evaluates only the final results and projections. These tests make it difficult for students to pass the training. This evaluation strategy poses a significant challenge to traditional forms of education since higher institutions of learning will have to consider and prioritize the use of the internet in the running of operations. Besides, MOOCs do not take into account the different student abilities and preferences. Creative students are limited to expand their creativity while slow learners have a difficult time to adjust to the new learning parameters.
Some of the proposed recommendations that can be employed to mitigate the challenges in MOOCs course include the use of questionnaires to assess the full learning process, testing the original paradigm of Mixed Diagnostic Tests (MDTs), and applying MDTs to design the trajectory of the educational methods.
For this case, this review provides concrete information regarding the history of MOOCs, the advantages of the courses, the disadvantages, and develops recommendations for mitigating the named challenges.
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