Saturday, August 6, 2011


In George Siemens blog post “From knowledge to bathroom renovations” (July 2nd 2011) (, where he answers David Wileys comments on MOOCs, there are some clear statements where one can test if the Stanford AI course is a MOOC.

1. Following are the 5 assertions to meet in a course so as to question many of the attributes of today’s education system:
  • all actors/agents have equal access to information,
  • personal agency is not restricted by pre-planned course structure, 
  • democratic practices define participation and rule creation 
  • educators focus on introducing the “big ideas” of a domain and model how they navigate those ideas, and 
  • learners, through social sensemaking and wayfinding, orient themselves to complex topics and begin to draw connections between various concepts (big ideas),
2. In my opinion, today it’s impossible to answer them all (we can only speculate).

3. But, if a MOOC is replacing a faucet (of the bathroom renovation) then the AI Stanford course is a MOOC. It will have influence in the connected educational system. The size of the ripple it will make will only be seen when the course develops.

4. This course will also help to clarify the following still open questions: 
  • The issue on learner preparedness,
  • How effective is learning in a MOOC in contrast to other learning models,
  • How to structure learning and knowledge spaces in different disciplines and in different topics.
5. We need evidence. We need research. AI Stanford offers a very interesting test case.


  1. There may always be tension between MOOC modes, e.g. 'pure' connectivist vs structured adaptations for formal course content.I certainly hope so. No matter which we personally favor, the future of public education may depend on their coexistence and cooperation

  2. I have to say that I am not a pure connectivist, so"hybrid" MOOC models are just fine with me. I tend to see a MOOC as a class. Some classes are lecture based, others are lab-based, others are small-group based, and so on. Similarly MOOCs can have a great degree of variation and that's fine :-)

    This is more incentive to get the great big mooc book going ;-) lol