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Massive Mess

by Véra Dolan (BA, MEd)

Vera DolanMOOCs serve as a great example of connectivism at its best for a few. I've been taking a number of MOOCs and my PhD research revolves around the student experience.

While I'm still FAR from reaching any conclusions let alone contribute to the construction of academic knowledge I see theories such as chaos and cognitive load getting in the way of MOOCs' ability to remain as such for very long.

We keep hyping the wonders of people gaining access to a what-feels-like infinite source of information, knowledge and even wisdom. However, it seems that this is true for only a number of participants, hence the high volume of attrition.

The MOOC model will become a real benefit to the global society at a point in which it becomes a ROOC Restricted Open Online Course (the restriction is related to the number of people allowed to get in one particular class).

MOOCs do not allow for knowledge validation in many cases. You can write, post, try to link people to "interesting" things, stories, blogs, articles and facts, and yet no one will give you any feedback. It's like organizing this great party with lots of what you think is good food, beverage and music, and no one shows up.

The DeMOOCracy that supports the free for all mentality might be hurting some participants' self-esteem and trust in their own ideas ideas that might be really good, but we'll never know. Either because one can never tell if people just don't bother responding to them due to their post being uninteresting, boring, ridiculous and perhaps nonsense or if it is just because they are preoccupied responding to the most in-your-face and extroverted participants.

I do see a lot of value to MOOCs; however, the model will have to be adjusted to what really serves individual participants not what boosts an institution's popularity and (eventually and inevitably in the future!) funds.

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