‘Online technology’s most profound effect on education may be to make human interaction more important than ever’ (Nature)

MOOCs

MOOCs-graphic

This sentence in the conclusion of ‘Online learning: Campus 2.0,’ really resonated with me. This feature on how Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) transform higher education, and what kind of research this transformation stimulates, was published today in Nature. For more context, here is the whole paragraph:

An unspoken irony weaves through almost every discussion about MOOCs: thanks to innovations such as flipping, online technology’s most profound effect on education may be to make human interaction more important than ever. As Krakauer puts it, “what’s absolutely clear is that the very large lecture hall can be completely replaced: there’s no value added over watching it at home on an iPad screen with a cup of tea. But there is also no substitute for a conversation.” (emphases added)

It may well be that a good conversation is the greatest value we can create in face to face learning, which is precisely the idea behind the Honors Salon.

Leadership, collaboration, and tenacity are other abilities that are best learned face to face, according to the article.

Interestingly, this overview comes to similar conclusions as other recent research I have referred to. Strategically and programmatically, institutions of higher education will need to significantly restructure their mode of operation to fully take advantage of this ‘moocification’ that is in full swing and shows no sign of abating – which is precisely why major universities such as Stanford, Harvard and MIT are taking the lead on this to systematically integrate MOOCs into their traditional approach to education.

Pedagogically, the winning formula could be summed up as: ‘Blend, flip, engage. Repeat.’

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One Response to ‘Online technology’s most profound effect on education may be to make human interaction more important than ever’ (Nature)

  1. Elizabeth says:

    “what’s absolutely clear is that the very large lecture hall can be completely replaced” –> I agree with this very much and thus think it drives home the strength of Honors education. It cannot be replaced by MOOCs because it is hands-on, relational, and practical. At least at its best and this is what we try to do in Honors 251 (interestingly, often over and against protests from the students [at least at first] since hands-on, relational, and practical work is often more difficult and time-consuming than memorizing and repeating points of information). Appreciating all of your interesting posts.

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