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This week I’ve been reflecting on how higher education will be like in the future. I’ve been inspired by Sugata Mitra’s talk on TED, where he talks about Granny clouds, and that the most important role for the teacher is to be encourage students when they learn for themselves.
It challenges my thinking, and I’m not convinced that he is right, but it is an interesting point of view, one that makes you think and reflect. Especially when you read blog posts like this one, which captures the discussion of what kind of role professors as teachers have in the new MOOC world. Do you have to be a star to run a MOOC? Do you only need a few fantastic professors to teach the whole globe? Or do you need Sugata Mitra’s Granny cloud?
The discussion is also captured in a great way by JISC, which has publised a report on the implications for higher education from MOOCs and Open Education. This report so nicely sums up the differences between MOOC-approaches, and especially differentiates between cMOOC – that is the connectivism approach, initiated by George Siemens and Stephen Downes in 2008, and the xMOOC, which is the MOOCs we are familiar with today.
The connectivism approach is more like the Granny approach – where peer learning and peer assessment is important. You could say it is student-centered learning with networked learning as a tool. The Coursera/Udacity/EdX MOOC model is traditional in its pedagogical approach, where the teacher is the superstar and the build up of the courses is “drill and grill” (as they call it in the JISC report), where the students learn something predefined and answers multiple choice questions as they go along.
I’m not going to draw any conclusions. I just want you as reader to reflect, perhaps dive into the video, the report and the discussion in the blogpost and perhaps also share what you think in the comment field below.