You are on page 1of 2

Will the real MOOC please stand up: Sifting through the disinformation.

Many bloggers who are insisting on “reporting” on MOOCs and there progress have not done
their research. They seem to read other unsubstantiated posts, business journal articles, and other
non-academic sources, and then regurgitate the misinformation.
The MOOC Model for Digital Success (the original and only MOOC) is grounded in the learning
theory of connectivism, developed by Downes and Siemens. Too often, the misinformed’s
definition of "open" as related to their descriptions of the MOOC is way off! The term “open”
relates to the design of the course's content and final destination. If the design is not open, it is
not a true MOOC as defined by its creators Downes and Siemens. This mis-example of how
OPEN applies to the name and individuality of a MOOC is the basis for most misunderstanding
among major universities. Open doesn’t describe the enrollment quality, but the learning
philosophy, which is based on open education, open resources, and open content.
According to so many of the “MOOC-pushers,” MOOCs are apparently…:
 Any online courses that offered free of charge.
 Online courses with “massive” enrollment.
 Open learning opportunities.
 The “disruptive solution” to higher education’s (undefined) dilemma.
 The invention of Harvard, MIT, and a select few other prestigious universities.
 An attempt to share the world’s knowledge with the world.
 Free access into the prestigious universities once reserved fro the elite.
 A new way of sharing knowledge and information with something recently discovered by
Harvard and MIT educators called the Internet.
As described by Morrison (October 10, 2012), Stephen Downes and George Siemens’ approach
in creating the true MOOC Model was that “knowledge is not static in the connectivist model
which is what MRU clarifies in its orientation video. Knowledge, the narrator explains is often
uncertain and that the content presented in the course is merely a starting point for further
investigation, and not the definitive answer… the course content is the catalyst for further
exploration, which is how Downes introduced CCK11, a MOOC course, now in
its thirty-fifth week.”
One of the co-creators of MOOC stated:
“What is important about a connectivist course, after all, is not the course content
… [sure] you can’t have a conversation without it — but the content isn’t the
important thing. It serves merely as a catalyst, a mechanism for getting our
projects, discussions and interactions off the ground. It may be useful to some
people, but it isn’t the end product, and goodness knows we don’t want people
memorizing it.” Stephen Downes (2011)
Today, even the founder of the term and original model (Downes and Siemens) find it difficult to
discuss their own model amidst the confusion, being forced to use terms such as “xMOOC” and
“cMOOc” (Siemens, 2012). One is a model of open course, the other is not. One has a specific
purpose and defined construct; the other has a plethora of various applications, purposes,
formats, and contradictory end-goals.

2012). Technology. (October 10.  Just as Columbus’ arrived in the new world with no clue of his true surroundings. Elearnspace: Learning. D.  Based on Columbus’ lack of credentials and preparation. MIT. Will the real MOOC please stand up [Blog].An analogy of another great historical discovery is proposed for your consideration:  Just as Christopher Columbus “discovered” a new world (arguably hundreds of years after the Scandinavians. and perhaps thousands of years after the Phoenicians.diigo. G. the Big Three are referring to their online education efforts as MOOCs. Columbus’ inaccurate descriptive term for the aboriginal Americans has remained stubbornly for over 400 years due to a combination of ignorance.downes. the Internet. References . he mistakenly referred to the inhabitants as Indians. Networks.elearnspace. 2012).wordpress. [Blog]. but definitely tens of thousands of years after the Native Americans). and then mistakenly assumed to have discovered the east coast of India… these prestigious “leaders of disruptive innovation” have errantly assumed to have discovered a new mode of teaching. racism and a media industry hungry to capitalize on popular familiarity. Available at http://www. MOOCs are really a platform [Blog]. Siemens. Similarly. and some rudimentary tactics for online learning. Available at: http://www. Connectivism and Connective %2Fonlinelearninginsights. nor the socio-educational history of its inhabitants. Only future history will answer how long this misnomer will remain in vogue. (July 2. Harvard. Retrieved from http://www. Online Learning Insights. Knowledge. and EdX seemingly claim to have discovered the value of distance Stephens (2011).