MOOC's - Balancing Profit and Creativity

Connectivism and Connective Knowledge is considered the first MOOC ever offered. This was back in 2008. Five years later and MOOC is a household term.

A student in Calcutta India and another in Stockholm Sweden, can at the same time enroll in the course Fundamentals of NeuroScience, Part 1, or for that matter, any other course offered by large MOOC providers, Coursera, Udacity, FutureLearn and edX.

21st century knowledge is networked; everyone can access and expand on it. Or so Stephen Downes and George Siemens hoped; they imagined online education as the tool par excellence for driving knowledge and progress forward.

Stephen Downes and George Siemens, believed to be the true MOOC pioneers, are now disillusioned by the fact today’s MOOC’s don’t focus on driving learning and innovation forward but on providing passive, one-way, sterile knowledge.

The initial idea that urged the two academics to offer online learning was one that would tap on the interactive and dynamic character of the Internet. The Internet would be the medium that would offer a more balanced and fruitful teacher-student relationship, where both were equally eligible and responsible for contributing new knowledge and innovative ideas.

While Connectivism and Connective Knowledge, the first and meta-MOOC course championed an online education that’s networked and interactive at its core, MOOC providers and their benefactors chose a different more commercialized path, ending up offering passive and sterile education.

Stephen Downes, in a recent Times interview laments on MOOCs’ present condition. He reports that MOOC providers have turned open online courses into passive, TV show-like courses. 2013 MOOCs resemble digital textbooks with quiz sections, rather than knowledge-focused courses that promote innovation and creativity through learning that’s interactive and always networked.

Do you feel like the delivery of dynamic online learning can become lost among commercial interests and profit-oriented goals?

Can we prioritize innovation and creativity when profit gets in the way? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.