A massive open online course (MOOC) is a type of online course, which packages content, aimed at large-scale participation and open access via the Internet. They are one of the recent developments in e-learning in the post-information age in which open educational resources are available to all. Because of the massive scale of learners, and the likelihood of a high student-teacher ratio, MOOCs require instructional design that facilitates large-scale feedback and interaction. There are two basic approaches:
• Crowd-sourced interaction and feedback by leveraging the MOOC network, e.g. for peer-review, group collaboration
• Automated feedback through objective, online assessments, e.g. quizzes and exams
I would like to expand upon two methods by sharing my observations regarding Collaborative Networked Learning (CNL) to encourage CNL as the design of MOOC’s evolve. Yes, there is crowd-sourced interaction among the large group of participants in the different MOOC’s which are organized around particular topics, but more interesting for me are the smaller, self-organized learning groups which are forming online. Recent reports indicate that outside the formal structure of the MOOC”S self-directed groups are forming for collaborative learning. The learners in these “breakout” groups are utilizing and applying the basic concepts of Collaborative Networked Learning in order to connect with one another around a particular challenge. Collaborative Networked Learning (CNL) involves utilization of induction, synthesis, and dialog more often than deduction, analysis, and one way information transmission.
I would suggest that CNL could be encouraged as a part of all MOOC’s worldwide. In essence, MOOCS would provide the content for the learners which enable what is being called a “flipped classroom” where the actual interaction and forming of connections among ideas occurs after the lecture content is distributed to the masses in Massive Open Online Courses. It is important to build CNL into the overall structure of MOOC’s, and, encourage the learning which can occur through real collaboration among the emerging DIY learners around the world in post-information age learning environments.