Colleges are experimenting with a variety of ways to scale and democratise learning in higher education. Some really big name schools are involved. The article Heard: MOOCs Growing From Standford to Georgia Tech to MIT to Udacity to Udemy describes the rise of Massive Open Online Classes (MOOCs.) A number of high caliber colleges have been experimenting with this model and there have been some surprising repercussions including things like well known professors leaving to join start-up companies who want to connect successful ‘learners’ with prospective employers. Is this model going to test whether ‘college’ is the only pathway to highly desirable careers ?
Coursera is a venture described in the article. Coursera’s aim is to make “the best education in the world freely available to any person who seeks it.” As of writing this post it offers 198 courses from a stable of 33 colleges and universities world wide. There are just under 1.7 million people currently enrolled in MOOCs through Coursera as stated on their site. You can watch Daphne Koller’s TED Talk, cofounder of Coursera, to hear about what she and her colleagues have been learning from their work.
I started my first MOOC course on Oct 22.
While I’m not new to design or using design processes I value the opportunity to keep learning and expand my knowledge. I jumped at the chance to enroll in this course on design partly because of the topic but also because I am curious about MOOCs. In this Coursera course I have about 5,000 or so other classmates from countries all over the world. This morning I have spent time not just doing my homework but browsing the forum and connecting with people. There are all sorts of activities and extra-curricular connections springing up from Facebook groups, twitter hashtags, and even Video blogs (like this by a student living in Germany who is keen to share how she’s tackling the challenges we are set.) I find myself in an interesting collective, a term described in the book A New Culture of Learning and one I keep thinking about as my experience in a MOOC progresses. It is quite the adventure and its only been two weeks!