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In a Big Think article, Why Technology Won’t Save an Inefficient Education System, with Dr. Madhav Chavan, and in several other similarly argued contributions, particularly like the ones from Sir Ken Robinson (read a critique here) or Sugata Mitra.

Education over that past 200 years has been fashioned like an assembly line. Children get placed on a conveyor belt that carries them from grade level to grade level. At each stop on the way they are receive the same knowledge as everyone else. Rather than become intuitive problem-solvers, students are expected to simply absorb the facts provided to them.

The argument that the educational system is a machine built for another age implies that the classroom is itself a machine and the teacher an automaton carrying out procedures that fill student brains with knowledge.

I had a group of educators look at me with alarm and disapproval the other day when I dared to suggest that the classroom was anything like a machine. For them, a classroom was an area where each student is different, has different learning styles and demands, and where they work hard to meet the demands of the curriculum (not enough time allocated to complete the syllabus). Challenges faced in each classroom were unique, although some best practices could be arrived at through experience. Similarly no classroom is the same as any other one in terms of its constituents, its infrastructure, its language and so on. The sheer diversity at the classroom level defies machinistic interpretations.

If the classroom is not a machine, the school as a factory analogy should break down here. Why? Because the classroom is the fundamental unit of the assembly process of schooling. And if that is not a machine, then school likely is not.

Similarly, if the counter to everyone being a dumb receptacle for knowledge, is that everyone becomes an “intuitive problem-solver”, we are talking about another kind of deterministic and linear process, another kind of factory that produces a different kind of student. This was exactly what 21st century skills framework in the USA or our Indian Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) system has turned out to be – an addition to the curriculum that tries to generically create certain skills and orientation in students, commonly, across the board.

The point to be understood is that we are still thinking deterministically. In the article, Chavan talks about employing technology in an appropriate manner – not as subservient to the linearized school system, but as a tool to collaborate in order to solve problems. Technology enables a non-linear curriculum, emphasizing problem-solving over rote memorization, Chavan says, but impossible to implement under the traditional education system.

I think he has got it mixed up. Firstly, there is nothing intrinsic to technology that promotes any one way or form of learning over another. Secondly technology itself is not monolithic. Thirdly technology is not all pervasive enough to be a systemic component of learning. Fourthly, there is an implicit assumption that we want everyone to be great at problem solving and that there is this one giant universal conception of problem solving, irrespective of domain. Fifthly, non-linearity is a rich feature of existing classrooms, with or without the intervention of technology, in the sense that the classroom is a complex organism.

I think what they all mean to say, is that the traditional system suffers from certain constraints and obsolete practices that are making it very difficult to “enforce” alternate practices and conceptions. Let us look at some of the real constraints – the underlying causes.

Teachers are still learning the way they teach – To innovate the existing paradigm from the inside, teachers must start learning differently. If teachers start learning and using technology-enabled learning methods on their own, it will be a matter of culture for them to start using them in the classroom.

Teachers need to learn – Largely, teachers are like any other adult, and their motivation and ability to learn are immensely important to address. Mechanisms that reward professional and personal learning are largely absent in our system, and for the teachers in the public system, not integrated with career progression and salary increments.

Syllabi are too extensive – Syllabi are following their own inflationary trends. As the volume of knowledge has grown, topics that were earlier taught in higher classes, have been added to the load of the lower classes. The density and complexity of content to be taught/learned has increased significantly. The duration of time remaining the same, teachers have increasingly lesser time to focus on teaching core concepts. As one teacher explained in an alternate manner, “the syllabus is alright, it is just that the system that enforces an end date to the syllabus is wrong!”.

Technology is not ubiquitous – the availability of technology (and electrical power) itself is a core problem. Technology for computation, for storage, for protection against virus attacks, for connectivity and Internet access, for mobility – all these are real challenges in schools (and at home) today. Over time, these will hopefully get addressed by policy thrusts and reducing costs.

Constraints of the system – everything has to be taught in school, there are rigid enrolment schedules, each grade/class is divided into isolated and insular groups or sections in some arbitrary manner creating limitations on collaboration and sharing of knowledge – and many other structural components of the system. In fact, these constraints are the ones that are closer to the industrial age-factory analogy in the sense that they are the pillars of educational management in schools.

For example, putting children into groups and assigning them teachers is an operational decision – one that promotes manageability of the education process primarily. Many people say it is also logical to keep class sizes low to promote greater collaboration (and perhaps, control) and ability for teachers to address individual learning styles. But I believe that the two are different problems – there are many ways to adapt, blend or flip learning emerging now that need not necessarily force us to enforce these structures and ratios.

In summary, I think it is perhaps wrong and naive to treat classrooms as machines and teachers as automatons. Classrooms are complex organisms and don’t easily fall into the determinism of the factory analogy. However, classrooms and teachers operate under a system that tries to enforce determinism and linearity through some of the constraints discussed above.

If we want to change as a system, we need to extend, enhance and celebrate the complexity in education.

The interesting MOOC on MOOCs conducted by Dr. T V Prabhakar from IIT Kanpur and Dr V Balaji from Commonwealth of Learning is in week 3. The theme itself is reminiscent of the CCK MOOCs, which did a deep dive into the Connectivist origins of the original MOOCs. It is timely also because India is really on the verge of something special in this area.

Sir John Daniel, one of the experts in Open and Distance Learning, has the following points to make in his video lecture contributed specially for the course.

  • Open and Distance and Online learning did not start with MOOCs or even the Internet.
  • Putting courses online does not automatically improve their quality.
  • MOOCs are a good example of how computers and networks have increased the power and possibilities of ODL but they lack some of the vital ingredients of a good learning system. Many do not include Holmberg’s “guided didactic conversations” between learners and teachers and most do not include student assessment and certification.
  • Everything depends on the design of the teaching learning system around the students’ needs.That must be the next step in  the development of MOOCs.
  • In most cases, MOOCs are still simply information distribution systems
  • Why have MOOCs been so slow in tackling the challenges of interaction and assessment? Because early 2012 MOOCs were by exclusive universities.

In his 2012 article, Making Sense of MOOCs – Musings in a Maze of Myth, Paradox and Possibility, Sir John Daniel makes some important points:

We also agree with Bates that current xMOOCs pedagogy is pretty old hat but this will now change fast. Even if Coursera gave its partner universities great freedom in course formats in order to sugar the pill of signing the contract, this will quickly produce a great diversity of approaches and much healthy experimentation.

Placing their xMOOCs in the public domain for a worldwide audience will oblige institutions to do more than pay lip service to importance of teaching and put it at the core their missions. This is the real revolution of MOOCs.

In a more recent article for the Montreal Digital Conference to be held next month, Are MOOCs the long-awaited technological revolution in higher education?, Sir John Daniel makes some important points:

  • It is unlikely that MOOCs shall be considered a revolution in Higher Education unless they are also able to perform the core functions of that system – “the authority to award degrees, diplomas and qualifications”.
  • Quoting Laurillard who questions whether MOOCs are solving global education problems like access to universities, spiraling student debt and low graduate pay, he presents MOOCs as perhaps being more useful in professional and vocational development.
  • The viability of building and maintaining MOOCs for universities are also called into question. They do not represent a significant return on investment (like the UKOU’s tracking of students who enrolled revealed that 1500 students had prior contact with its free media implying an 8% return on investment in free media) if considered for student recruitment, nor are they likely to make as much money in services like proctoring and assessments as compared to private operators. He sees certification and employee recruitment as the most promising end-uses of MOOCs.

In talking about the legacy of MOOCs, he writes:

This transformation of the methods of teaching and learning will be the primary legacy of MOOCs. It will not be a revolution but it will have a long-term impact on the way higher education operates, much like the important evolutionary stimuli in the earlier history of universities that we examined earlier.

Talking about OERs, he states:

The creation and use of OER developed steadily, but without fanfare, for the next decade. OER were the long fuse that detonated the MOOCs explosion.

On why MOOCs will not be revolutionary for Higher Education,

MOOCs are not revolutionary, both because higher education develops by evolution and also because MOOCs mostly do not lead to formal qualifications. MOOCs are, however, the harbingers of an important transformation that will lead to much greater use of online technologies in teaching, research and academic service.

Not surprisingly, he concludes:

Quality and the quality assurance of ‘post-traditional’ higher education, like the certification of its outcomes, is one of the greater challenges of these new forms of teaching and learning...Our first conclusion is that we should not await a revolution but rather expect digital innovations to transform practice in an incremental manner...Second, the present disruption being caused by digital technologies is a constructive process. We shall see a flurry of evolutionary change as institutions adapt to the new niches that innovations are creating. Third, it is important to let experimentation continue so that the viability of various models for using technology in teaching, learning, assessment and certification can be tested. This is why it was dangerous to present MOOCs as the contemporary revolution in higher education. Fourth and finally, this exciting phase of evolution poses a special challenge for quality assurance, which is caught on the horns of a dilemma.

Daniel is trying to situate MOOCs (specifically xMOOCs) in the Higher Education context, terming them an evolution and not a revolution, experiments that need far more innovation, currently unable to meet global challenges like student debt, unable to perform core functions such as awarding degrees and a logical evolution of the open and distance learning, OER, digital innovations and online learning paradigm. I think Daniel is saying that the incremental innovations in teaching and learning of the xMOOCs will bring about the real revolution over a period of time.

There is also a fleeting aspiration in what he writes:

In the long run heutagogy and cMOOCs may have a greater impact on the evolution of teaching and learning in higher education in an information age than the more common xMOOCs, some of which learners can find trivial rather than confusing.

and from the Musings article:

We quote Illich to emphasise that the xMOOCs attracting media attention today, which are ‘at the intersection of Wall Street and Silicon Valley’ (Caulfield, 2012), appear to have scant relation to those pioneering (Ed: cMOOC) approaches.

As George Siemens writes while distinguishing between x- and c-MOOCs in What is the theory that underpins our MOOCs?:

As stated above, there is overlap between our model at that of Coursera/EDx. However, Coursera/EDx emulates the existing education system, choosing instead to transfer it online rather than transform it online.

Clearly, xMOOCs are an extension geared for the traditional system of education, where at University or online, open and distance. By his own admission, cMOOCs are pioneering approaches that may have a greater impact on teaching and learning in the long run.

The contention lies in whether Daniel thinks that the xMOOCs and cMOOCs are milestones on some kind of a continuum of evolution of higher education, or whether they are, as I firmly believe, two completely different systems altogether. In my opinion, we could better call the xMOOCs something else so that we are able to focus on the potential of cMOOCs in a better way – perhaps call them XBTs or eXtended-Web Based Training, just like the earlier generations were called CBT and WBT.

People keep on going on about there being so much shortage of good quality faculty. That, they bemoan, is the most important factor behind the problems that we face in K12 or Higher Ed today. It is definitely true to an extent.

I believe the bigger challenge is to find learners. Not students. But learners. Or capable students who take greater responsibility, initiative and interest in their own education as well as the education of their peers.

If we flip the problem, we can perhaps leverage the scale of learners to overcome most of the problems in education. To do this we have to break from the belief that students have to be led. They don’t. They need to be helped to become more capable of learning in an environment mediated by social and technological networks.

This can reshape how we think about teaching and learning. Teachers then need to make sure that students become more capable (instead of becoming more knowledgeable) and that they have help and facilitation when needed. Students have to acquire critical literacies (and heutagogical capabilities) to transform into Learners. The Government needs to reshape the ability of these new generation of capable learners to acquire credentials that can be interpreted (and later perhaps even replace) at par or higher (or differently) than existing credentials. Our institutions and employers need to reshape structures and practices to allow all this wonderful learning led by the ones that are most impacted by it.

This is why, in the FICCI Vision Paper on MOOCs in Higher Education that I co-wrote, my vision for MOOCs (and in general the educational system) was:

Learning through Massive, Open and Online courses (MOOCs) will enable all Indians who want to learn, earn, teach or innovate, the capability to realize their true potential and transform our country.

The vision talks about building capability, not creating trained engineers or research scientists. Replace “MOOCs” with “our Educational System” and the vision would hold, really.

Are we really chasing the wrong problems?

Do you go to the football field to learn music? Or to the art gallery to learn fencing? Or to a library to learn oratory? You don’t. However, irrespective of whether you are studying history, economics, physics, languages or architecture, you go to that one singular invention – the classroom.

In the age of networks, this notion of a classroom perhaps needs a serious rethink.

What should a modern day learning environment look like? Should it extend the notion of the classroom (and the class) in the belief that this notion is capable of handling the new digital and social learning environment? Or should it be disrupted by something entirely new?

Extensions of the notion of classroom have been notable. The Flipped Classroom has caught the imagination of the world as a way to use digital technology to invert/optimize the use of learning events/activities inside and outside class. There have been many developments in the physical design of learning spaces that promise enhancements in in-class collaboration and learning by doing. Peer instruction has been found to be another way of extending the notion.

Christensen thinks disruption is the best way to go. Many other folks believe that online education using MOOCs and technology such as adaptive learning is that panacea – a panacea that can personalize learning and address individualized issues of knowledge and motivation.

I believe that class needs to be disrupted. And I believe networks are the key to disrupting the classroom. What if you could learn from someone who could teach the way you learn? What if you learned with people and things that directly reinforced what you were learning? What if you did not just learn to do, but also learned to be – to be a practitioner in networks of practice?

One of the interesting observations seems to be that in  the traditional educational system there is invariance to scale or scale-free behaviour. Scale free behaviour is exhibited by some very interesting networks like the Internet in which a few of the participants make the majority of interactions, and a long tail of participants exist with little or no engagement or levels of activity. Perhaps a disruption will truly arrive if we invert these scale free networks or even if we flatten out the interactions (raise the long tail). Perhaps we need to recast the classroom as the network itself?

On Teacher’s Day

There is a teacher in everyone of us. It is useful to acknowledge that a whole lot of things are learnt without someone actually teaching us, and that perhaps someone is right now learning from us without our even knowing it. On the Internet, this is possible at a very large scale. We learn from other people’s review of the computers we buy or the places we visit. We learn to dress by looking at what others wear and talk as we hear others speak. We learn from reading a blog post or the fact that a guru likes a particular URL or that an expert just followed an innovative startup’s twitter handle.

So when practicing teachers and real experts, who really do all of this teaching and coaching professionally, start making their actions, their learning, their idiosyncrasies public, a whole lot of people will end up learning even if they are not in their class. Perhaps their class will also learn much more if they share the guru’s network, the guru’s learning trails across the World Wide Web.

As teachers, it is really about how we learn and how we share how and what we learn. It is not learning how to use technology (which is an important enabler, but not an end in itself), but how to embrace a culture of open-ness, sharing and a much heightened consciousness that we are professional performers of a learning process; that as teachers we are actually enacting the role of expert learners.

For that, we have to re-envision the way we learn. We are a product of much the same system that we subject our children to. We bind our students by its same constraints. We are steeped in the routines that we have perfected in years we have taught the same curriculum again, again and again. We cannot change ourselves by thinking in the same ways the system has taught us. We must re-envision our own futures, standing outside the systems of today.

Why it is so phenomenally important to re-learn how to learn in today’s networked environments? Its possible because, invariant to scale, the network has opened up hitherto unknown opportunities to teach and learn. Not that you can now learn something that was previously hidden from you, but that you can now learn and teach in ways that may be much more than the classroom we are so used to. In fact the classroom analogy does not even exist in the networked environment (the closest it gets is “clusters” or “swarms”) – the network is not a class.

Since networks are not classes, you cannot apply traditional teaching-learning techniques to it (or atleast not as-is). So an entire paradigm becomes near-obsolete when one thinks of networked learning. Which is not what the xMOOCs would have you to believe, but that is entirely their loss.

If you can think network, you can break away from the traditional mode. It is what we must do. Case in point. If there is no class, who are you teaching? Answer: You are teaching a cluster of nodes (students) bound to you in some manner (through your institution perhaps), but they are really part of many different networks as well. By connecting to those students and promoting transactions between them, helping them add new connections to their network, and leveraging their existing networks, you will build upon a fabric of learning, much like a weaver or an Atelier. You will help them break away from the monotone of traditional systems, help them celebrate chaos and let them build their capability to learn.

When you become that networked teacher, you will contribute to a scale of learning that will be unbelievable. What you will do within your own small networks, may become amplified or contribute to global knowledge about learning and teaching. Just the sheer scale of your teaching and learning, your networks, the types of interactions, will fast transcend the power of any certificate or degree the traditional system may have to offer.

The revolution is here. It is you. Seize the day.

I think we are at an inflection point in online education in India the way Andy Grove from Intel had nicely framed in his book, Only the Paranoid Survive.

Andrew writes of how a 10X change in any one force, namely:

  • Power, vigor and competence of existing competitors
  • Power, vigor and competence of existing complementors
  • Power, vigor and competence of existing customers
  • Power, vigor and competence of existing suppliers
  • Power, vigor and competence of potential competitors
  • Possibility that what your business is doing can be done in a different way

can result in profound changes to our business.

Why do I say this? In the past 2-3 years, there have been several interesting things that have emerged.

MOOCs have arrived on the Indian education scene in an informal way gathering unprecedented response from our students. We have the second largest country presence in MOOCs globally with over 2+ mn registrations. This is important to note in the context of total enrolment in open and distance learning in the country which stands at around 4.5 mn. Although the two are different models solving different needs (at this point), it is a far cry from year 2002 when at egurucool.com we were happy having 20,000 subscribers to our online K12 products. This amazing student response to MOOCs has been fueled by social media and networks. Although we have yet to see business models emerge, but they will. And surely this marks a 10X change in the power, vigor and competence of existing customers.

The Government has invested (and is investing) heavily in the creation of open education resources, software and technologies for eLearning for a while now under the NMEICT. For many streams of education such as Engineering (NPTEL) and humanities, arts and social sciences (CEC), a large corpus of open resources have already become available at the under-graduate level (post graduate level work has also been initiated). The NPTEL Youtube channel has now accumulated over a 100 mn hits and over 290,000 subscriptions. Similar efforts by the NROER team are going to make huge amounts of content available for school educators. High quality content becoming available for adaptation and delivery (under the CC-by-SA license), open software for live classrooms and learning management, research in haptics and many other such developments are definitely set to increase the power, vigor and competence of existing suppliers and potential competitors. Early movers such as MyOpenCourses & ClassLE and many traditional players (such as the publishers) are now starting to leverage these resources. The Government too is investing in building up new platforms and content for MOOCs.

In parallel, complementing technologies such as those for gamification, big data analytics, mobile apps, 3D printing and others are finding their way into the Indian expertise lexicon. We can already witness, for example, the power of data analytics used by school performance evaluation tools.

In what may constitute a tipping point, among other possibilities, if the government legitimizes MOOCs by offer credit transfer, recognition and other measures reserved for the traditional degree and diploma courses (and for vocational education), or if the body corporate or professional associations decide to put their stamp on nanodegree like non-formal learning and employment pathways or if universities (including distance education) adopt MOOCs as part of their curriculum, it will catalyze and harmonize these 10X changes. Business models will emerge, quality and scale challenges will be mitigated, and problems of faculty skill & shortage will be ameliorated.

I believe the inflection point, if we are not there already, will be reached fairly soon, catalyzed by some of these possibilities. What do you think?

First published by EDU Tech on 24th July, 2014

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are an exciting new development in online education. In this article, Viplav Baxi explores the origins of MOOCs, their two main (‘c’ and ‘x’) variants and why it is critical to appreciate the distinction.

October 2008. Three Canadians, George Siemens, Stephen Downes and Dave Cormier started the first Massive Open Online Course called Connectivism and Connective Knowledge (CCK08) based on a new theory of learning called Connectivism proposed by George Siemens in 2005.

Positing Connectivism as a learning theory for the digital age, Siemens asserted that learning is the process of making connections. These connections could take different forms such as those found in physical, social, cultural, conceptual or biological networks. These connections shape our learning because they help us navigate the increasing over-abundance of information and knowledge, leverage diversity of opinions and build the capacity to know, learn and adapt.

Stephen Downes proposed a new definition of knowledge which he called Connective Knowledge. Downes asserts that knowledge is the network. As Downes states: “at its heart, connectivism is the thesis that knowledge is distributed across a network of connections, and therefore that learning consists of the ability to construct and traverse those networks”.

Dave Cormier is credited with coining the term ‘MOOC’ itself! He is also well-known for the theory of Rhizomatic Learning.

CCK08 transformed the way many people, including me, thought of education. The 12-week course was open and free. Over 2,200 people registered from over the world.

Even before CCK08 started, participants shaped the curriculum by suggesting areas of personal interest. Each week of the course, facilitators would briefly introduce the topic and suggest relevant open resources. Experts were invited to engage with course participants on each topic followed by an unstructured online conversation. Learning was distributed – participants interacted through tools they were comfortable with (like Twitter, Facebook, WordPress and SecondLife). The facilitators made their network connections and activity public, so participants could follow the leaders in the field and keep abreast of the latest developments.

Each day, using Stephen’s gRSSHopper technology, participant contributions would be harvested from all over the web, important contributions identified and a newsletter sent on to all participants enabling them to keep up with the activity in the course.

A few students (including me) signed up to become the first paid students in this the first ever MOOC. We submitted 3 essays that were evaluated directly by the instructors. The final certificate was awarded by the University of Manitoba (the course hosts) at the end of the course. Like many others, I started a CCK08 Blog that has a collection posts from each week of the course.

Participants self–organized to form many virtual and face-to-face open learning networks (that outlasted CCK08). They adapted material into their own language and context. The facilitators were always available as expert co-learners rather than as instructors. The sheer diversity in the community created tremendously exciting opportunities for learning.

CCK08 also illustrated four key principles of MOOCs – diversity, autonomy, open-ness and interactivity. Learning “emerged” rather than being pre-designed. Participants learnt to be practitioners rather than just “learning to know” or even “learning to do”. CCK08 also redefined the roles of teachers and students. The role of the teacher as an expert learner was to model and demonstrate while the learner had to practice and reflect.

Such a learning ecosystem reflects the reality of learning in a digital age, where information is over abundant, knowledge is increasingly specialized, change is extremely rapid, networks & social media have revolutionized communication and learning has become largely informal.

Such systems of learning can potentially solve the burning problem of employability of our students. It can help them gain the capability to become lifelong learners, negotiating external changes. It can raise the quality of teaching and learning significantly, in an equitable and affordable manner.

Since 2008, there have been a large number of MOOCs on the lines of CCK08. These MOOCs such as the Future of Education, Critical Literacies, Rhizomatic Learning and other versions of CCK itself, have seen rich interaction globally. A lot of published research and a strong community of educators, theorists, developers and thought-leaders have emerged. The new field of Learning Analytics has also emerged as a corollary of this approach.

Later, in 2011, two Stanford professors created an online course in Artificial Intelligence. They took the decision to make this course open and free for anyone who wanted to enrol. To their delight, almost 170,000 students registered for this course!

They discovered that people did in fact like the idea of coming online to learn in large numbers if the course was taught by reputed professors from top universities, was accompanied by a certificate from the university and was free.

Interestingly, they also started calling their online courses, MOOCs. The name stuck and MOOCs, so defined, soon caught popular imagination when more top universities got involved, technology to effectively manage large sets of learners matured and venture capital (& institutional) funds started backing the concept. Soon, we heard of massive investments in MOOCs and some of the top university brands like Stanford, MIT, Harvard and others backing them.

To distinguish between the two, Stephen Downes termed the original MOOCs ‘cMOOCs’ (for Connectivist MOOCs) and the newer ones as ‘xMOOCs’, the “x” standing for being an extension of something else.

That something else was really the type of eLearning that had grown very rapidly since the late 1990s. Corporations and even online learning providers found it expedient to digitize expensive face to face training and create standardized, mass learning experiences for their employees, in order to cut costs and save lost working time.

For the most part, this type of eLearning tried to simply replicate the traditional classroom and curricular practices online. In traditional online learning, all learning is centrally directed, restricted to the closed boundaries of the course, performed generally alone (collaboration features see very low usage patterns), mass personalized with rigid pre-determined learning paths and assessed largely through objective type assessments.

This type of eLearning had already failed to scale for many reasons. It was designed for stereotypes of industrial age learners. It ignored the diversity and overabundance of information that is present in real life. It ignored the autonomy of learners to personalize the learning experience. It ignored the richness of interaction on the World Wide Web. It ignored the “conversation” and “connections” in learning. xMOOCs are extensions of this type of eLearning.

By only incrementally extending this type of online learning, xMOOCs have massively magnified challenges such as low retention, rote learning, low employability and lack of student ownership, motivation, interactivity and engagement. It is as if they have ignored more than two decades of insights from online, open and distance education.

Backed by venture funding, top universities and media hype, xMOOCs have captured popular imagination. India has not remained immune to this hype. Addressing the need for personalized interaction and for integrating LABs, high quality online self-paced content is to be blended with face to face local faculty interactions and LABs. This addresses some shortcomings of the xMOOCs, but in essence remains their extension.

What we should be doing instead, is to build massively open connective learning ecologies that can help our students and teachers to become capable, connected and responsible digital learners – the promise of the cMOOCs (and of an ideal educational system).

These ecologies will both need and encourage experimentation and innovation. And they will yield better results because learners will be better connected and more in control of their learning.

The important question is: do we really care enough?

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