MOOCs Theories, Trends, Critics, and Life Sciences Applications: Updates on MOOCs

MOOCs Theories, Trends, Critics, and Life Sciences Applications: Updates on MOOCs

Athanasios T. Alexiou, Prerna Sarup, Ashok Kumar, Girish Kumar Gupta
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 12
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5146-1.ch015
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While humankind has already reached the so-called zettabyte era in the data transactions, scientific knowledge needs to be transferred and distributed globally, without limitations. Mainly for the case of life sciences and medical fields, the treatment of chronic and lethal diseases requires open access to large databases and clinical trials from researchers across the world, but mostly an open and high-quality education for everyone. The solution has already been applied lately, through the establishment of the massive open online courses (MOOCs) that offer a free and unobstructed multilevel education to anyone and anywhere, using emerging IT techniques. Applications are vast and cover all technologies of today. However, is this true? Are MOOCs the solution to a free and open forum for knowledge sharing, giving the opportunity of education to people from low-income countries? In this chapter, MOOCs are discussed and analyzed in depth alongside the advantages and disadvantages of their application in the higher education.
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Types Of Moocs

MOOCs Are Divided Into Two Types: cMOOCs and the Other One Is xMOOCs

xMOOCs basically focus On concise, targeted video content with short duration videos and use automated testing to check students understanding of the content. They include discussion forums and allow people to share their ideas and discuss amongst this group. The central idea always rotates around the instructor guided lessons. Each student’s journey throughout the course is linear, simple and defined. Learning is seen as something that can be tested competently and certified (Kesim, 2015).

Video lectures are indeed an improvement to the conventional lectures as it involves much more engaging experience for the learners. This could help the learner absorb the material and thereafter facilitates automated testing process which could review the requirements of the individual learners. The main drawback is of course the missing of one-to-one interaction and easy back-and-forth, questioning that can happen at the end of a formal lecture. No matter the questions can still find its way to the instructor through the teaching assistants if enough people deem them to be important, but it is so not a spontaneous process as in the case of conventional mode of classroom teaching (Mazoue, 2013).

When an individual sets his own learning goal and type of engagement, it results into a personal and subjective experience which is based on Connectivism. These are called the cMOOCs. Canadian researchers George Siemens, Stephen Downes, and Dave Cormier created MOOCs. Thus, many sources refer to cMOOCs as connectivist MOOCs or as Canadians MOOC (John, 2015).

They prepared the concept based on the principles of the theory of connectivism. The theory of connectivism and its basic principles can be considered useful for better understanding of MOOCs (Kop, 2011; Frances, 2011).

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