MOOCs and OCW: come together, right now …

Last week Andrea Read from Online College Courses kindly sent me a link to a post on open courseware (OCW) that included a well-designed infographic on the scope and potential of online courses.

Reflecting on this infographic and the current status of online learning, it occurred to me that OCW and MOOCs seem to be tracking separate but similar paths. This doesn’t seem very sensible, as they share most features – the differences are relatively minor. For example, you can link directly to most OCW resources, while you need to register for a MOOC. That is, a MOOC is a scheduled online course rather than simply an online educational resource. To my small mind, both OCW and MOOCs are types of Open Educational Resources (OER), with some crossover, as a MOOC can be built from OCW. This view fits (more or less!) with the picture provided by Zaid Ali Alsagoff in his extensive (166 slides!) SlideShare presentation ‘Embracing OER and MOOCs to Transform Education …?‘ To save you time (though browsing the entire set is worthwhile), the relevant slide is at number 12.

Checking, I’ve unsurprisingly found that I’m not the only one to make the observation on the lack of congruence between OCW and MOOCs. The most stark example is MIT, where the OCW and MOOC teams appear to be mutually independent entities – it’s quite bizarre. As Paul Stacey has commented in a blog post on The pedagogy of MOOCs,

A third edX oddity is that it isn’t trying to leverage MIT’s own OpenCourseWare materials by combining them with innovative online learning pedagogies for use as MOOC’s. Its almost like MIT edX and MIT OCW are from completely different institutions that have nothing to do with each other.

What will happen as the two evolve? I suspect that there’ll be a ‘coming together’, as each recognises and draws on the strengths of the other. There are already signs of this, as explained by Cathy Sandeen from the American Council on Education in her Huffington Post article ‘From Hype to Nuanced Promise: Higher Education and the MOOC 3.0 Era‘.

We do live in fun times, eh?!

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