From a Technical Instructor to Veterans and Corporals: What We Know About MOOCs

From a Technical Instructor to Veterans and Corporals: What We Know About MOOCs

From a Technical Instructor to Veterans and Corporals: What We Know About MOOCs

What we know about MOOCs is that they’re well publicized and often criticized. No doubt MOOCs will help universities and colleges at least to reshape the traditional classroom model. That said, so far the academic world hasn’t learned too much at all about MOOCs.

So what’s the problem?

Training faculty has been a big problem with MOOCs. While their advantage is that many courses can be offered to students outside the US free of charge, the challenge has been integrating them into the classroom environment. Some MOOCs are being taught by instructors from top-tier universities, many others take place in outdoor spaces.

There are lots of details that still need to be figured out. But here’s what we do know about MOOCs:

So, just what has happened over the past three or four years in the world of MOOCs? Now a variety of universities are taking the plunge, both institutions and individual professors, to try out MOOCs in different ways.

We might say that MOOCs are a direct result of the widespread adoption of MOOCs, even from places like Google and Facebook. Here’s something you might not realize. For many universities, MOOCs act more like a test than they do an educational exercise.

But what’s good in theory is just as good in practice.

Another benefit of MOOCs is that at first it’s easy to prove that the internet is being used more effectively than ever. For example, you don’t need a million (or even one) students to prove that the internet is changing things. (Okay, maybe you do, but it’s just more work to prove than before.)

It’s something that is now being used, even though some institutions won’t admit it.

Still, MOOCs are starting to gain steam. As new changes in the university system start to impact online learning (e.g., in-person online courses) more and more MOOCs are suddenly in the game.

Which is just as well for students!

Now that the good is there, do faculty and administrators have the ability to assess MOOCs?

This is a big concern that universities have, not to mention the scope of the academic freedom issue. To find out more about these concerns, the first place to look is the somewhat overly long (1,087-point) report of the Open Courseware Exchange (OCX) .

OCX might sound like the name of some sort of shared Linux server, but it’s the body that manages Open Educational Resources (OER). It’s a non-profit that supports all of the content used in universities and colleges (and other institutions) across the world.

These can be academic content or educational items like brochures or e-books, and they can come from different sources, like newbie professors or courses that universities are currently offering.

If these faculty members want to use OER, they need to license them and to use their courses for free and open source. Universities should also, of course, support their own content. Here’s more on the different materials.

This report should give you a good, overview of everything about Open Education Resources. Of course, for university educators, there’s still an eye-catching section about MOOCs.

Watch the short video to get more information on these topics.

MOOCs Are Teaching Faculty and Administrators About Active Learning

In light of everything that’s going on in the world of MOOCs, it’s interesting to watch these institution-specific reports about the reality of teaching in an online classroom.

Unfortunately, the general report shows that some professors are still not sure that MOOCs are the answer.

The report also points out that there’s a learning process to MOOCs.

You might wonder: Wouldn’t it be easier to just offer all sorts of classes through an online platform such as Google, and the university wouldn’t have to put much effort into this?

We might think so, but the report says that offering MOOCs for both academics and faculty helps define an institutional style. Perhaps MOOCs are about creating and articulating the best teaching method for an institution, like military boot camp, instead of just giving people the basic fundamentals.

(For more on military boot camp, read the latest from Laura Congedo at

If an institution wants to take on an active learning style, MOOCs could be a good avenue for them.

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