Conference Presentation

Invited Presentation – MOOCs and the New Game of Higher Education

Video Artifact: Beyond the Walls of the Academy: MOOCs and the New Game of Higher Education
June 14th, 2012
University of Prince Edward Island Graduate Research Day 2012 –
video courtesy of University of Prince Edward Island

Description of Artifact:

The presentation introduces the phenomenon of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) to higher education audiences who have only passing familiarity with the term. It presents the historical development of MOOCs and outlines emergent themes and findings of the 2010 SSHRC study noted above. It also frames emerging media narratives about MOOCs and higher education, and contextualizes MOOCs in relation to digital technologies and information abundance.

Lastly, it distinguishes types of MOOCs and raises questions regarding the shift towards elite universities and venture capital startups as MOOC purveyors. It introduces the spectrum of MOOC models, which range from highly collaborative, distributed and participatory explorations of emergent topics to pre-packaged traditional correspondence course models where the innovation is primarily about scale of delivery.

My work on MOOCs has always stemmed out of collaboration and the networked, participatory approach to digital scholarship that the original MOOCs promote and foster. Hence, although this presentation and the conference paper about it are individual efforts on my part, it presents in part the outcomes and findings of a 2010 SSHRC-funded research study on which I worked with Dr. Sandy McAuleyDr. George Siemens, and Dave Cormier. It reflects successful development of professional and collegial competencies and active professional engagement.

It also reflects the ongoing synthesis of prior and emerging knowledge at the conceptual and analytical levels required to engage with the fast-moving target of the research topic I’ve selected. MOOCs have become one of the buzzwords in education in 2012, and any substantive research into their potential and impact will demand agility and constant engagement with the networks within which the MOOC conversation is being shaped.

My capacity to sustain this engagement and analysis while continuing to contribute publicly to the conversation around MOOCs speaks to my potential to make a significant scholarly contribution to the field of educational studies through my research.

Knowledge, Skills, and Attributes displayed by Artifact:
Researching, preparing, and delivering this presentation required me to:

  • review and synthesize findings from the project for an audience unfamiliar with MOOCs
  • contextualize MOOCs not only in terms of the 2010 research but also their quickly-changing profile within 2012 higher education circles
  • research quickly-emerging trends within higher education
  • conceptualize and posit the broader significance of MOOCs for higher education
  • construct and present a coherent and engaging narrative directed towards a particular audience
  • visually represent my work using effective images and carefully selected text in Powerpoint
  • present my work in a coherent, confident manner mindful of time constraints
  • lead discussion and field questions from colleagues and the university community following the presentation

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