Fascinating Pictures from Schools of the Future

Sandjar Kozubaev is an economist, experience strategist, educator and futures practitioner based in Atlanta. He is also one of few educators who can reflect on the realities of teaching a MOOC. While some aspects of the experience are positive, Sanjar explains why, in his mind, MOOCs will not be the future of education:

It’s been fairly well documented that the completion rate of MOOCs is very low. A recent study, found that only about 7% of students complete MOOCs. My course had approximately 1100 students registered and about 100 of them completed the course. So the completion rate is just under 10%. However, when your baseline for completion (or student engagement for that matter) is the number of students enrolled, it can be very misleading. After all, registration for the course in a MOOC environment doesn’t indicate any level of commitment to learn.

When you compare it to a traditional classroom environment, a student has already made multiple levels of commitment by the time she is in class. Measuring participation rate in a MOOC using student enrollment number is like measuring participation rate in a traditional university using the number of college applications. The fact that someone is interested in a topic and wants to learn, in and of itself doesn’t make her a committed student.

This presents a fundamental issue for MOOCs because their very nature makes reliable measurement of “engagement” very difficult.

What are your experiences with MOOCS, perceived or practical? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Read the entire essay here.

2 Comments

  1. Bob Beaker in Bundaberg, Australia writes
    MOOCs may not be for everyone and that is OK! However, they ARE the way of the future for a significant number of people. Why is that so? Taking each of the main advantages we have:
    (1) Convenience. You can go on or off at a time to suit you. The only requirement is to meet deadlines for submission and even than there are commonly extensions, just like at university. Given that people are more time poor and engaged more in hypertext thinking (attention span of a gnat), MOOCs are a reasonable alternative to mindless and asinine grammatical utterings as if from a chipmunk.
    (2) University study is becoming far more expensive in real and covert terms e.g., cost of the course and living expenses over several years to qualify (testamur). The advent of The Peoples ‘University in America, accredited for FREE degrees, is a reality. The debt burden of conventional universities is debatable value. As the world of work is changing so rapidly, if may be following Moore’s Law in chip technology i.e., change related to disruptive technology is doubling the nature of work or deleting work roles (real people required) every 18 months.
    (3) Gifted and talented individuals are not constrained by boundaries and price variable, enabling them to obtain a high quality education from reputable professors at no cost. This is an investment in the future and is a win-win as universities and indeed employers want people who are bright and committed to continuing education for life.
    (4) Completion of the course is a social construct and may even be out dated in tomorrow’s world of learning. To think otherwise is to say that an inventor, using STEM, did not make a significant discovery unless he/she was taught existing technology and obtained a certificate or degree. Herein is lain the tautology: Most discoveries are made through trial-and-error aligned to an accidental discovery outside of what was being taught at the time e.g., superglue for forensics and stick-on notes.
    In conclusion, MOOCs WILL get bigger and bolder, which is a great thing for a world dedicated to globalisation and wherein ‘point of difference’ will become all the more important. Thus, the advent of creativity being more revered is unsurprising as this is at the upper end of Bloom’s Taxonomy in learning (i.e., higher order thinking). The world of education in the future will be full of FREE hybrids including ‘The Flipped Classroom’ and MOOCs. Then again, I have always loved learning and this is a passion of mine. Perhaps the real or salient question is: What technology is evidence-based to meet the needs of those less fortunate in IQ or even intellectual disabled through genetic and/or environmental causation? After all, the gifted and talented will always learn and pursue their passion no matter what – I have!!

    1. Fantastic comment Bob! Some great points and a real insight into the future of learning and MOOCs.

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