Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Is Moodle good for MOOCs? Let's inspect the question first.

Last week I had the pleasure of being a speaker in a webinar organised by eMerge Africa. My colleague and I spoke about MOOCs in the African context based on our experience running such courses on our Moodle site. During the lively chat one of the participants popped this question: 'Is Moodle good for MOOCs?' I didn't quite know what to say and I didn't want to start writing a 'yes, but...' response. Later I realised that the problem lies in the syntax of the question: 'Is X good for Y?' is not the best way to figure out the means to an end if the 'end' or goal is simplified or woolly to begin with.

Let's consider the Y in this case: MOOCs. What's a MOOC? A course with a large number of learners? Fine. What's this course about? What is this course made of - what kind of content and activities? What taxonomy levels do the learning objectives map to? What is the nature of student-student and student-teacher interaction? How will student work be evaluated, and how will the course itself be evaluated? Then, what does a 'large number of learners' mean? 100? 1000? 10,000? 100,000? We need answers to all these questions and more to make the Y concrete. After that we can take up the question 'Is Moodle good for MOOCs?', and there's a good chance you'll find that it is!

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