Comment on Comparing xMOOCs and cMOOCs: philosophy and practice by Jenny Ankenbauer

October 17, 2014 Jenny Ankenbauer

I visualize xMOOCS in the deductive model of learning and cMOOCS in an inductive model. I’ve participated in both and on a personal level find cMOOCS much more engaging due to the “your experience is valid truth” philosophy over the xMOOCS constraint of conventional core content, due to its need to narrow the content in some manageable way.

In a cMOOC I could author learning artifacts, which were accepted as equally valid sources of knowledge as the conventional learning resources. However, in an xMOOC my contributions of self-authored content was (rightly) viewed as interpretation, and assigned a status falling below that of the selected content set by the xMOOCS course authors.

In the xMOOCS, the need for the community to begin with a fact based, common core of knowledge is critical if the goal of building upon or debunking the content is achieved. The important distinction in an xMOOC is the presentation, exploration, debate and primacy of explicit knowledge, which is embedded in the community, from that of a cMOOC with an emphasis on tacit knowledge, acquired through unique perspectives that serves as the point of departure.

In a cMOOC the common core of knowledge is experience and perspective, which is often not yet recognized even by the owner until the act of creating it while connecting with others presents itself. The robust dialog between the participants serves as the fund of primary, common core of knowledge, and learning is more a product of argumentation than a outcome of discussion of the empirical evidence so essential to an xMOOC-learning mode.

Bottom line is that both learning models are legitimate ways of learning and serve the participants in different and important ways. Perhaps they are better approached as a learning model continuum made possible by social media and the net. They share more than they differ in terms of learning potential, community building, knowledge processing, reflective learning and design architecture. They differ most in definition of knowledge authority.

The most intractable problem for both learning models however remains assessment. So far there has been no agreed upon way to assess a participant’s progress- either by a decision of peers or via an mentor/agent assigned such powers of subjective evaluation, and still keep the principles of a MOOC in tact. Without some sort of conventional award system of academic currency, the learning benefits remain intangible, personal, often highly valued and useful, learning experiences.

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