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Designing MOOCs for powerful learning experiences

The mass media have embraced MOOCs and celebrated the disruptive nature of online education and the death of higher education institutions. On the other hand, critics' responses to MOOCs have ranged from fetishizing face-to-face education to questioning the potential of technology. Both of these positions miss the research surrounding online education and the potential role that MOOCs may play in society. In this presentation, I will discuss how some MOOCs can be more appropriately described as commodified education, rather than the type of open education initiatives suggested by their acronym. The goal of this critique is to help us envision MOOCs as a means for powerful learning experiences and personally relevant/meaningful transformation. This can be attained through the following:
- Design opportunities that allow engagement beyond course activities
- Design for lasting impression
- Design for intrigue, risk-taking, and challenge
- Design for engagement and reflection

Learning Objectives

  1. How do we create MOOCs that are exciting, that pull learners into the experience and hold their attention?
  2. How do we design MOOCs that foster powerful and meaningful learning experiences?
  3. How do we use emerging technologies to create learning *experiences* rather than efficient products?



George Veletsianos, Assistant Professor of Learning Technologies, The University of Texas at Austin

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