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Tuesday, 7 July 2015

MOOCs and the Scheduled Model

There are different delivery models for students to consume MOOCs.  One example is the Scheduled Model.  This means that there are defined start dates and end dates and the materials are accessible only during that time. The main point is that you work on the class on your own time, but not at your own pace. You’ll have occasional deadlines for assignments. There is a clear end date for the course.

Coursera and edX MOOCs are two example providers that work on the scheduled model. Not all of the classes in their catalogs are active at the same time. They may permit rolling enrollment for a specified period after the course starts, but the classes will go on with or with you.  If the assignment deadlines have passed then that can make it difficult to earn a certificate. Also, you may not be able to catch up and do all of the course work before it ends.

The upside of the scheduled model is that you will have thousands of peers for moral support and can make friends from around the world. This is one of the most exciting characteristics of the Coursera and edX MOOCs.  The scheduled model entices students to join to avoid the fear of "missing out".

Even though the instructor doesn’t have time to engage with most people personally, they will often be active on the discussion boards during these active classes. Therefore, the experience overall feels less “canned”.

The downside of the scheduled model is that you may have to wait months for the course you are dying to take to come around again. Even worse, some Coursera and edX courses run only once and then stay in the catalog without any clear sign that they will be offered again.

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