MOOC Mastery, A Zen Approach: Will Massive, Open Online Courses Revolutionize Higher Education?

MOOC Brigade: Will Massive, Open Online Courses Revolutionize Higher Education?

Time Magazine (Education Section)

Quote: “On the plus side, MOOCs are free, open to anyone and taught by professors at prestigious universities. On the downside, they have low completion rates, and critics questions the utility of students being graded by their peers. TIME is enrolling in several of these classes to see what all the fuss is about…” (end of quote)

Wow! MOOC’s have come a long way. When Time Magazine writes about something you are doing, it’s because you have caught the attention of an awful lot of people. The MOOC is no longer for people like me, with an excellent PLN, highly connected, and a voracious reader.

Nowadays, it seems, everyone knows what a MOOC is. It’s no longer necessary for me to write it out: Massive Open Online Course. So, I won’t, at least, not anymore. That’s the last time, I promise.

Now, in a Massive Open Online course, everyone pays the same price: nothing. It’s free. And let’s face it. When something is free, how much of your money do you lose if you don’t complete what you began? Nothing, absolutely, completely, totally, nothing.

So, is there any wonder that a huge number of people sign up for a MOOC, but only a small percentage of people actually complete the MOOC? Not really, and we know this isn’t Advanced economic theory. It’s human nature.

Well, should a MOOC charge a basic fee for all participants? OK, if my goal really is to reduce the number of people who drop out of a MOOC, it might be a good idea.

So, how much would be a reasonable, one-time fee? How about, let’s say, $100 US dollars?

Hmm. I don’t know many people who could afford to simply lose one hundred dollars. I mean, to get nothing in return for the money. So far, this sounds really good.

Now, what if I finished the course? Would I be able to get my money back, as a bonus for completing the course?

Sounds good to me. You only lose the money if you don’t complete the course. I would imagine that with such a policy in place, the completion rates would go through the roof. And in the end, the course remains…free.

Now, the question remains: Does it really matter if 90% of the people drop out of the course, or, on the other hand, if 90% of the people complete the course?

No, not really. We all know that all courses have essential information, and non-essential, extra, nice-to-know information. Would it be so bad if you only learned exactly what you wanted to learn, and to hell with the rest?

I don’t think it would be so bad. What about you?

Oh, have you ever thought about courses that simply turn out not to be what you thought they were going to be? Or, ever taken a course and your life circumstances, (marriage, life, death, divorce, taxes, etc., simply gotten in the way of your learning? If you are like most people, the answer must be “Yes”. And with a MOOC, guess what? You drop out, and you lost nothing.

Mastery of the MOOC, in the end, is mastery of your own life. You are taking part in the MOOC because you are seeking some knowledge that you presently don’t have. The MOOC offers it to you at the cheapest possible price: free. You are at all times in complete control of your destiny. You are the captain of your fate, you are the master of your MOOC experience.

The only consideration is simply: are you getting what you want and need from the MOOC? If the answer is “Yes”, you are in the right place, at the right time. And when the answer is “No”, this isn’t for me, then again, you are the captain of your fate, you are the master of your MOOC experience.

To finish, I would like to share my experience of participating in a MOOC, from beginning to end. Reading about a real-life experience, about a marvelous MOOC, Connectivism and Connected Knowledge 2011 (CCK11) can give you some valuable insights that you would otherwise not have, that is, unless you participate in a MOOC.

I hope that by reading my book, you will also participate in a MOOC…

Pinterest: Paperback Books by Thomas Jerome Baker

Pinterest: Amazon- Books by Thomas Jerome Baker

Currently, there are two ways to find out what learning in a massive, open, online course is like: One, you can participate in such a course, provided you have the time necessary to invest in such a learning experience. When your time is the limited and precious commodity that we all know it to be, you may not be able to participate, however.

Don’t feel bad about that. That’s life, and for the majority of us mortals, we work for a living in a world that will not let us simply employ our time in any pursuit. We have to be selective, to be balanced with the way in which we invest our time. Families, friends, hobbies, rest & relaxation demand an equal share of the 24 hour clock. So, if we can’t participate in a MOOC, that leaves option two available.

Option Two? You can read this book…

My #CCK11 Experience
by Thomas Jerome Baker

Stephen: “On Jan. 17 George Siemens and I will launch the third offering of our online course called ‘Connectivism and Connective Knowledge’ – or CCK11. We use the term ‘connectivism’ to describe a network-based pedagogy. The course itself uses connectivist principles and is therefore an instantiation of the philosophy of teaching and learning we both espouse.” This book is the result of my participation in the #CCK11 course

My #CCK11 Experience


The International Baccalaureate [Kindle Edition]

The International Baccalaureate [Paperback]

The global search for high-quality education, embedded in high-performing education systems, has taken on mythical proportions, almost resembling the alchemists’ quest to turn common metals into gold.

It is my hope that the present day search for global education, equitable and providing equality of opportunity for all, shall not cease until the “gold” we seek, has been found.

I therefore dedicate this book to all the educators, researchers, parents and students the world over, who strive to achieve this elusive goal,high-quality education for all the citizens of the world.

In this endeavour, it is my belief that the International Baccalaureate merits a closer look, based on their more than 40 year history of delivering consistently excellent results.

I add that all of the reflections and views in this book are mine alone, unless otherwise noted, and can not be attributed to my employer or any other organization I am affiliated with, past or present. For any errors or oversights, I bear the complete responsibility.


Amazon Author Page: Thomas Jerome Baker

Thomas Baker is the Past-President of TESOL Chile (2010-2011). He is the Head of the English Department at Colegio Internacional SEK in Santiago, Chile.

He is the Co-Founder and Co-Organiser of EdCamp Santiago, free, participant-driven, democratic, conversation based professional development for teachers, by teachers. EdCamp Santiago 2012 was held at Universidad Mayor in Santiago.

Thomas is also a member of the Advisory Board for the International Higher Education Teaching and Learning Association (HETL), where he also serves as a reviewer and as the HETL Ambassador for Chile.

Thomas enjoys writing about a wide variety of topics. Thus far, he has written the following genres: romance, historical fiction, autobiographical, sports history/biography, and English Language Teaching. He has published a total of forty six (46) books overall.

The source and inspiration for his writing comes from his family, his wife Gabriela, and his son, Thomas Jerome Baker, Jr.




About profesorbaker

Thomas Baker is the Past-President of TESOL Chile (2010-2011). He enjoys writing about a wide variety of topics. The source and inspiration for his writing comes from his family.
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