Abstract: Massively Open Online Courses: Beyond the Hype

I will be giving a Keynote speech at the Moodle Moot Australia 2013 in Melbourne, Australia June 23-26, 2013.

This is my draft abstract for that keynote. Comments welcome.

This keynote will look deeply into what MOOCs are; how they are affecting the future of the software we build to enhance teaching and learning; and how the current trends will ultimately affect real teachers or real universities. We will get beyond the hype, contrast these new systems with more traditional Learning Management Systems, then anticipate how MOOCs will progress as they move through the Gartner Hype Cycle; become more prevalent; and potentially lose sight of re-mixable Open Educational Resources.

We will examine and debunk the fallacy of the one “gold standard course” taught by some premier university that effectively converts the professors in the “rest” of the universities into local graders / mentors. For those of use in educational technology for the past 20 years, we have seen extreme and unwarranted hype around numerous products which eventually modulates into a reasonably practical approach that strives to make all teachers better, rather than obsolete.

Dr. Severance has a long history of of being involved in disruptive trends in technology for teaching and learning. As the Chief Architect for the Sakai Project and first Executive Director of the Sakai Foundation, he helped form the worldwide open source community around the Sakai LMS. After he resigned as the Executive Director in 2007 (right before he was about to be fired because his passion for genuine open source conflicted with the grand top-down plans of his board of directors) he spent the next few years working with the IMS Global Learning Consortium building software and data interoperability standards to change the nature of the LMS marketplace. This work resulted in the IMS Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) and IMS Common Cartridge (CC) support across then entire marketplace. He has also contributed to the LTI support in Moodle. In 2012, he became the Sakai Chief Strategist for Blackboard, Inc. and is paid by Blackboard to work on and support the Sakai open source project. Also in 2012, he taught the online course “Internet History, Technology, and Security” during 2012 using the Coursera MOOC platform. The course had over 56,000 registered students from all over the world and 5,000 received a certificate. In 2013, in order to teach a MOOC that would augment his on-campus class he developed his own open source MOOC framework (online.dr-chuck.com) that used Moodle as its teaching engine and taught Python to nearly 2000 students around the world in addition to his on-campus students.

bio: http://www.dr-chuck.com/dr-chuck/resume/bio.htm