Mentored MOOCs for Global Learning?
February 22, 2013 § 3 Comments
Yesterday Coursera announced that it would have courses available in four languages; in addition to English, it now has courses in French, Spanish, Chinese and Italian. Does this mean Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) could provide a global learning opportunity for students in the United States, and if so, how might that work?
I can think of a couple of implications for liberal arts colleges. For one thing, there is a potential for liberal arts students to take these courses to supplement their on-campus curriculum. If an instructor and students took a MOOC together, it would offer an opportunity for the instructor to model learning and act as a mentor and coach; the MOOC would essentially be an online textbook. The local instructor would provide the mentoring and motivation that seem to be missing in so many MOOCs, as attested by their low completion rates.
Models for this sort of learning at liberal arts colleges already exist. A three-year longitudinal study of the Sunoikisis program (which includes intercampus team-taught courses in upper level Greek and Latin) found that students highly valued their on-campus tutors (p. 24) as part of their overall learning program. In my experience with Sunoikisis, the on-campus tutor adds a level of interpretation, advocacy, and mentoring for their own students, helping them navigate the added complexity of a multi-campus collaborative course. This high-touch teaching would bring a liberal arts dimension to the potentially anonymizing experience of the MOOC.