A new type of MOOC for a new type of disruption

Lead designer seeks to reach developing countries

A new version of MOOCs could alter the top-down model of university curriculum and the professor–student relationship, Yojana Sharma reports for University World News

Right now, MOOCs are dominated by the English language and a "one-way transfer of knowledge from the West to the rest," says Yoonil Auh, a professor of instructional technology at Kyung Hee Cyber University,  which is connected to the traditional Kyung Hee University in South Korea.

Auh, the lead project designer for "MOOC 2.0," argues that the massive online courses must include global input to avoid a "type of neo-colonialism."

In a MOOC 2.0, lessons would not necessarily be taught in a chronological order, says Auh, but instead information could be consumed in "cafeteria-style modules" in a customizable order. Groups need only complete the sections pertinent to their community.

Spurring classroom redesign via MOOCs

Many believed the original MOOCs would expand access to higher education in underserved areas, but in reality, providers have found that MOOC students in China, South Africa, Indian, Russia, and Brazil usually already have a college degree of some sort, according to Sharma.

But Auh points out that much of today's youth are in developing countries so "it is a myth to think providing open online learning from the English speaking countries to the world will address the challenges of expanding higher education in the developing world."

How it works

MOOC 2.0 will act as a facilitator as students learn from each other, says Auh. With input from civil society organizations, community groups, and institutions, the two-way platform is expected to launch in early 2015, though alpha testing is already running.

Current MOOCs are run by elite universities, but this new version may tap into new methods of teaching from local and community colleges, says Auh.

One current project involves filming professors of the Royal University of Fine Arts in Cambodia going into villages and educating students to become music teachers. The university has not had a music department since the civil war in the late 1970s.

The documentation will be uploaded to MOOC 2.0 to help teachers in other fields or other parts of the globe study the revival of a program that "disappeared at the national level for decades."

Blended learning and flipped classrooms

Sharing experiences across the platform will allow various groups to learn from others in similar socioeconomic situations, instead of the current MOOCs which provide Western management and business practices, writes Sharma.

"MOOC 2.0 is not about technology advancement alone. Rather, it is an educational moment supported by technology that was not possible in the past," says Auh (Sharma, University World News, 11/7).

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MOOCs: Expectations vs. reality

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