Wednesday, September 18, 2013

What's a MOOC & what do they mean for education?

Perhaps I'm late to the MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) party, but I have been trying to catch up these last few weeks. I have even registered for my first MOOC on the Digital Learning Transition:

As I've continued exploring and learning more about MOOCs, I'm seeing huge positive implications for education.

Imagine a secondary student who is very interested in learning more about engineering but unfortunately his/her high school doesn't offer any courses remotely close to fitting that interest. There is a MOOC that will and it's free! Go to for a list of all the available MOOCs

Imagine an educator who is interested in learning more about his/her craft in a professional learning environment on his/her own time when it's convienent. There are plenty of MOOCs out there that allow this learning to happen with purpose, personalization, and customization. Perhaps you want to learn about synapses, neurons and brains to better understand your students, yap, there's a MOOC for that!

Imagine you have a parent who is interested in helping their student with some of their coursework, or better yet, imagine you have a parent who is interested in learning more about something they've always been interested in just so they can teach their child. There are countless MOOCs and more by the day that you can share with parents to help them meet this need. What an empowering feeling to help a parent with this challenge!

Imagine setting up learning environments in schools where students enroll in MOOCs of their choosing that align to their interests and their passions. Imagine students who then are learning about what they are interested in then in turn sharing their learning with other students thus becoming quasi-teachers assisting and helping across the district. Imagine learning happening without the mindset that a teacher must be teaching before learning can occur...

Right now, I'm a big fan of MOOCs and what they can do for education.