cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

Even before coming to work at University of Mary Washington I carried a large bias towards the force that is ds106; having taught in and doing it again (hey the doors are open for the summer version a la Camp Magic Macguffin), I am in the middle of the MOOC woods not really worrying if there are trees or not. Or maybe, if a Massive Open Online Course falls in the woods… ok, enough useless metaphors.

There’s enough static flying in the webs about MOOCs but I was pleased to have caught the conversation at the Digital Campus podcast Ya Big MOOC where Dan Cohen, Mills Kelly, Amanda French, and guest Audrey Waters provided interesting viewpoints and recognition of ds106 (not that we need more people clamoring for credit)

Ya Big MOOC

Some brief notes- Mills praised ds106 for not being the “correspondence model” of Coursera and Udacity (which now I know from the podcast is pronounced “You Da City”) as an old model of distance education. He described this approach as if content goes online and you work through it then you will know something — an instructivist model

On ds106, he said “This is what MOOCs ought to be” that it takes advantage of inherent qualities of the Internet. Audrey waters says it is “of the web and for the web” (hey I thought I coined that) and ds106 stands in contrast to other moocs in that it is really about community of learners,

Audrey’s experience in some of the other MOOCs is that she won’t be missed if she is not in the course, that it is isolating. I should add that despite completing only 1/2 of a first You Da City course, I still get emails congratulating me for making it to week 4:

Congratulations! You’ve made it more than halfway through the course! Unit 4 and homework 4 are both up. This unit is on search and complexity, which I hope you enjoy learning as much as I enjoyed teaching.

I know this course has been challenging, but if you’ve made it this far I have no doubt that you can finish. If you have any questions, or just want to take part in interesting discussion, feel free to visit the forums.

Despite the million dollar infrastructure, they don’t even know where I am at.

The group pondered Why now? for MOOCs, why the fervent interest. They speculated a global demand for the branded experienced, but also questioned whether Stanford, Harvard, MIT will take as value/credit a student entering their institution with MOOC experience- its good enough for us to brand our X version for people to use elsewhere but not good enough for people coming to us?

I can say with almost 100% assurance, ds106 will never have a cheapened x in front of it.

There is a lot that is unique abut ds106, it has kess to do with the structure, technology (which are integral though) and more about its leveraging the social nature of the network that was drawn in from the start. But tio does not mean that there cannot be more courses in this mode and not just the Ya Big MOOC kind.

I’d have more to say, but I have to get back to camp.

Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.

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