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Want Some MOOC With Your TV Dinner?
Sunday, March 03, 2013
Again, it has been a long time between posts. Apologies. There is much to discuss here in TravelinedEdMan in the coming weeks. There are many press releases, podcasts, and news interviews from the past two or three months that I have not posted.

In addition, I have a trip this coming week to SXSWedu in Austin and one the week after to San Diego for the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) Conference 2013 (I am in the ending plenary). Let me start reflecting back first. My next blog post will be about SXSWedu and the Cengage Learning conference within it. My Cengage talk will be streamed free to the world. Unfortunately, my "Cage Match" with Dr. Chuck Severance of the University of Michigan on MOOCs on Thursday morning at 9 am at SXSWedu will not be streamed. See next blog post.

As I said, let me reflect back a few months in order to bring us to a recent publication of mine. Back at the end of October, I was heading to Australia for a 10 day trip to 3 cities, namely, Melbourne, Adelaide, and Sydney. In the final leg of the trip, I was meeting up with my good friend Rick Bennett at the University of New South Wales (UNSW). He was arranging a symposium on MOOCs, Rhizomes, and Ruksacs and related trends on a Friday afternoon November 9th in the College of Fine Arts (COFA) at UNSW. It ended up being a most splendid event.

Before I got there, Rick's media department asked me to write a little press release about MOOCs. What I wrote on the plane to Melbourne and titled, "Want Some MOOC with Your TV Dinner," was considered a bit too long and "not opinionated enough" to submit to the Aussie media. Instead, the Aussie media interviewed me when I was there. COFA, by the way, is known for its online programs and resources including Omnium (Rick helped build it and then research Omnium). More recently, Rick and his colleagues have built a cool social media tool for one's courses called Ruksac (ala having course resources in one's backpack). Do check it out when you get a chance.

When I got home from Oz, I revised the article and extended it. I then sent it to one of my contacts at Inside Higher Education. However, my main contact there left a few weeks later to work for the Chronicle of Higher Education and the article sat at Inside Higher Ed for 2 months. I finally got a response from Inside Higher Education that they had too many articles on MOOCs and mine was not unique enough.

Fortunately, I was able to publish it during the past two weeks in The EvoLLLution in 2 parts. The Evolllution is concerned with lifelong and online learning which are the focal points of this article. I thank my friend Amrit Ahluwalia for reviewing it and finding it to be to his liking. Part 1 of the article came out Friday February 1st in HMTL and PDF. Part 2 came out on Friday March 1st in HTML and PDF formats.

The basic premise is that TV and correspondence courses changed the lives of many people during the previous century (including mine); even those of low quality. None of them had the interaction possibilities that we have here in 2013 Today, people debate the quality of MOOCs as if there is a certain threshold that we are aiming for. Sure, we all want more engaging and interactive content; in fact, I am working on a book on online motivation and retention. However, we cannot discount the many lives that are changing from MOOCs that have limited or no interactivity. People can still learn as self-directed online learners. Perhaps such views will evolve and hence why I publish this in the EvoLLLution.

The opening paragraph to Part 1 of the article starts with the following:
             "If you grew up in the 1960s and 70s, you likely remember those TV dinner nights when your parents were out or when there was nothing else in the fridge. You just heated it up and you were done. You know the one: you get a slab of meat, some diced-up potatoes, a side tray with an assorted mix of carrots, corn and peas and, perhaps, another tray with rice or gravy. Bland, but still passable as a meal."

Anyone remember those meals? Do you now want some MOOC with your TV dinners?

The opening paragraph to Part 2 of the article starts with the following:
             "Given the possibilities presented by Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCS); instead of simply looking at achievement gains (or losses), we must begin to ask how self-directed local and global teams as well as personal visits from a MOOC instructor are helping to foster important moments of reflection and change. Not every outcome can be determined from test scores, page-hit rates or student retention data. Lives change. People change. Education is a key vehicle for fostering such life transformations. And MOOCs have the potential to change lives on a grander scale than perhaps any previous form of learning delivery."

My life changed from TV and correspondence courses. I am sure many of yours have as well.

See what you think. Part 2 has a link back to Part 1. More soon. I promise.

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About Me

Name: Curt Bonk
Home: Bloomington, Indiana, United States
About Me: I am a former accountant and CPA and a former educational psychologist. I am now Professor of IST at Indiana University and also adjunct in the School of Informatics. I founded and later sold SurveyShare. As president of CourseShare, LLC, I run around the world training instructors to teach online and give motivational talks about emerging learning technologies. I also write and edit books related to e-learning and blended learning. See bio and vita.

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Click here for information about my recent book, The World is Open: How Web Technology Is Revolutionizing Education.

Visit the Indiana University Home Page of E-Learning Expert Curtis J. Bonk.

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