What MOOCs are really good for: I’m going to do my first MOOC
A nice piece updating what we know about MOOCs, who’s taking them, and what they’re good for. I have decided to offer my first MOOC, as part of an HCI specialization with Coursera. (See the announcement here.) This fits in exactly with what I think a MOOC is good for — it’s professional development for people with background in the field. If students going to learn about HCI, I’d also like them to learn about making technologies for learning and about how people learn. I agreed to do a short four week MOOC on designing learning technologies, development to occur this summer. This isn’t about my research exactly (though, because it’s me, a lot of the examples will probably come from computing education). It’s not about reaching an under-served population, or teaching CS-novices or teachers. Different purpose, different objectives — and objectives for this course and for the GT HCI specialization match for what a MOOC is good for.
The companies that rode to fame on the MOOC wave had visions and still do of offering unfettered elite education to the masses and driving down college tuition. But the sweet spot for MOOCs is far less inspirational and compelling. The courses have become an important supplement to classroom learning and a tool for professional development.