Hake on MOORFAPs: Massive Open Online Repetitions of FAiled Pedagogy

June 10, 2013 at 1:32 am 4 comments

I enjoy Richard Hake’s posts. He has done excellent empirical educational research, so he knows what he’s talking about.  His posts are filled with links to all kinds of great research and other sources.

This post does a nice job of making an argument similar to mine — MOOCs don’t utilize what we know works best in teaching.  Hake goes on to point out, “And they’re not measuring learning, either!”

1. “The online and blended education world, really the higher ed world where most of us spend our days, fails to make any appearance.”

2. “If in fact the real story is the rise of blended and online learning, then [that story] will go completely untold if MOOCs are the sole focus.”

In my opinion, two other problems are that “Laptop U”:

3. Fails to emphasize the fact that MOOCs, like most Higher Ed institutions, concentrate on DELIVERY OF INSTRUCTION rather than STUDENT LEARNING to the detriment of their effectiveness – – see “From Teaching to Learning: A New Paradigm for Undergraduate Education” [Barr and Tagg (1995)] at <http://bit.ly/8XGJPc>.

4. Ignores the failure of MOOC providers to gauge the effectiveness of their courses by pre-to-postcourse measurement of student learning gains utilizing “Concept Inventories” <http://bit.ly/dARkDY>. As I pointed out “Is Higher Education Running AMOOC?” [Hake (2013) at <http://yhoo.it/12nPMZB>, such assessment would probably demonstrate that MOOCs are actually MOORFAPs (Massive Open Online Repetitions of FAiled Pedagogy). There would then be some incentive to transform MOOCs into MOOLOs (Massive Open Online Learning Opportunities).

via Net-Gold : Message: Re: ‘Laptop U’ Misses the Real Story.

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Baker  |  June 10, 2013 at 8:29 am

    Where are we on a computing concepts inventory? I know you were involved with some folks who tried to make one for programming specifically, but I think we *could* make one for computing in general. Anyone working on this? A colleague and I are thinking of doing something like this for our required 9th grade course, but I really mean we’ve only *thought* about it. Not sure what form it would take. BOF for SIGCSE 2014:)

    • 2. Mark Guzdial  |  June 10, 2013 at 9:31 am

      No, I’ve never been involved in a computing concepts inventory. I was involved in Allison Elliot Tew’s FCS1 which was explicitly not a concepts inventory. Allison used a different method for developing her test than Hestenes did for the FCI (described here). The efforts to build concepts inventories (explicitly for the computing ones) relied heavily on querying experts for what students found the most difficult and had the most misconceptions about. Allison generated her concepts from a review of CS1 textbooks, and then developed her distractors through multi-lingual (Python, Java, and MATLAB) open-ended problems. Physics concept inventories rely on the fact that people live in a physical world and have developed misconceptions about how the physical world works from that. Concept inventories (in both physics and CS) rely on expert teachers having a good sense for students’ misconceptions. We (Allison and me) don’t believe that students have detailed misconceptions about things like variables, iteration, conditionals, recursion, and pointers coming into CS classes. Students simply have too little experience with real computing before they enter classes, so whatever misconceptions they develop, we put them there. CS expert teachers may not be the best sources for misconceptions. We may have an experts’ blind spot about them. So, Allison built her distractors entirely from an empirical bottom-up perspective.

  • 3. Baker  |  June 10, 2013 at 11:49 am

    “Physics concept inventories rely on the fact that people live in a physical world and have developed misconceptions about how the physical world works from that.”

    Right. I think the same is true of computer science, or becoming more true. There are various things that people encounter in their world using computers — for example, things like: why iPods come with memory sizes in powers of 2, why there are different image formats that you see all the time (jpg, gif, png) — that have answers rooted in foundational CS ideas.

    My examples aren’t great but I would argue that people do live in the computational world, and encounter things and develop misconceptions about them that can be measured and corrected through good education. Do you agree?

    Here’s a big misconception….ever done the ECS activity called “What’s a computer?” It’s amazing to see the variety of responses and misconceptions. How many people off the street, or even coming out of CS1, can answer that? Wouldn’t the world be a better place if high school students graduated high school being able to answer that question?

    • 4. Mark Guzdial  |  June 10, 2013 at 12:03 pm

      I think you raise a fascinating empirical question, Baker. What are the misconceptions that students have about computing coming into the classroom, and are the number of conceptions and misconceptions increasing over time? I would really like to see more research in this area. I’d really like to hear what kinds of answers you’re hearing to the question “What’s a computer?”


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