Tech and innovation in higher education{1}

For this post I found two articles the first article discusses the concerns and worries of the faculties and professors on MOOCs and there some ideas from professional people on education is expressed. The second article discusses the reasons why professors can use MOOCs to improve their proficiency in teaching.

The first article was mainly discussing the reactions of the professors and faculty members to the MOOCs. Friedman the columnist in the New York times had published an article that by means of MOOCs the courses from top universities are available to the students all over the world and the consequences of that. This column actually raised the reaction of some faculty members and they were blogging some complaining about this column while also worrying about their own future. They were mainly criticizing that a lot of funding about higher education should go to MOOCs. They had the concern of losing a lot more things than their jobs. For example, one of the faculty members believes that we should only be worried that MOOCs should not be a cost-cutting means for traditional universities. They also had concern that top professors from elite universities replace the lectures by faculty members at other universities which would represent the de-skilling of the faculty and also reduce the dynamism and the engagement of the professors and harm them with low pay and finally lead them to be teaching assistant for the online professors.

Cary Nelson, the outgoing president of the American Association of University Professors said that online models such as courseara can be terrific for delivering educational materials but its not education and its not even a reliable means for credentialing people. Nelson has this idea that education calls for real interaction between the students and the faculty members and the process that the faculty member can develop degree program while online courses are a bunch of online lectures that can not substitute for the degree program. Mark Smith, senior policy analyst at the National Education Association also believes that the faculty member should take over the control of the curriculum, structure and assessment of the course and finally the quality of the education. Sandra Schroeder, chair of the American Federation of Teachers Higher Education Program and Policy Council and president of AFT Washington also believes that these kind of course materials to what extent can answer the needs of the students. According to the AFT surveys students need more structure and stability in their coursework and students wont be succeeded unless a strong academic program is provided for them. Online program is very inferior compared to the face to face education.

The second article which I looked over discusses the five reasons why professors should also try MOOCs. The first reason is to look how other professors at other schools teach and observe the strengths and week points. If they find good points they should take it and otherwise they should try to avoid repeating their mistakes. The second reason is to join the community about the topic that interest them. The discussions and the forums that each topic of the online course can have will be continued and remain active even after the course is finished and this can never be found any where else except the online courses and online learning. The third reason why professors should also try MOOCs is that with online course they can relive student experience. Teachers can find out what is it like to be on the receiving side of the learning and they can experience the learning as a student which can effect the quality of professors teaching. The third reason is to learn new things in an structured manner which means instead of reading the books and browsing the internet for materials watching the lectures can make learn new things in more organized way.

So overall what I think is that MOOCs definitely can no take the place of the face to face learning. What I believe is that learning at each school is different and unique based on the design of the program and organizing the course materials. The assessment and evaluation process makes the program very structured that learning through that have deep impact than any other sources and even online courses. So far, based on my personal experiences the online courses can be considered as kind of assistantship beside the things students learn at their school. I personally have started many courses online but I couldn’t manage to finish the course because of the lack of motivation, and mainly the lack of proper assessment in the online courses. The fact that the learner can not ask questions and have appropriate interaction during the learning process is another important matter in this issue. Although I think MOOCs are on their early stage of development and can be enhanced and improved significantly in future and can be considered as precious source specially for those who don’t have access to proper education all over the world.