Most of us have heard the claims that MOOCs have “democratized” education and learning. In this critical inquiry, we wanted to explore a MOOC through Coursera as a team. The rationale behind this critical inquiry is to explore the question of the democratizing claims of MOOCs in light of potential barriers to access. This critical inquiry led us to research specific areas that each of us chose to focus on which are also connected to our personal learning plans [see below].
Sue Reid: “When my team engaged in discussion about what our learning activity and chosen technology would be I had no idea that we would create a presentation that is both a reflection of our individual interests, as well as our collective experience. Indeed, my teammates’ unique perspectives sharpened my focus and gave me clarity with regard to the direction of my learning plan. Our shared experience speaks to my personal conviction, that collaboration is a powerful force to effect positive change in the world, which Watters (2014) echoes, stating that, “through collective contemplation, intellectual reciprocity, and deliberate and wise action, the future can be better” (p. 115)”.
Earl Einarson: “My individual research has been undertaken within the same process of gathering information for my contribution to the group work of this assignment. One research process informed the other; I was able to gain information from both areas of interest in my research. The group’s interest in outlining the barriers that exist for potential students of MOOCs created opportunities for me to expand my research parameters of my individual research; the barriers that exist for Indigenous Peoples of Canada to entering and making use of MOOCs – defined as “digital neocolonialism” by Adam (2018)”.
Marta Samokishyn: “Our team’s topic of barriers to access in MOOCs inspired me to take a deeper look at critical digital pedagogy and a concept of agency, specifically from the critical information literacy perspective. Information literacy capacities of an individual have been identified as one of the potential barriers to access in MOOCs. Are participants of MOOCs fully encouraged to “create dialogue in which both students and teachers participate as full agents” (Morris & Stommel, 2018)? This is the question I would like to explore!”
Leigh McCarthy: “Exploring MOOCS and Barriers to Access with this group has been a truly fantastic collaborative experience! Challenging and creative! The focus of my individual research project, emanating from this collaborative project, is Online Learning and the Digital Divide in Canada. The digital divide is “not about a simple binary of youths who have technological access and those who do not,” but also calls for a decolonization of content and digital literacy skills (Houlden & Veletsianos, 2019; Jenkins, 2009, p. 18)”.
Jeff Goodes: “What a wonderful team with which to collaborate. I will be exploring the use of audio in MOOCs and online education for my individual project, with a particular focus on how audio can enhance learning and lessen the digital divide”.
Irwin asked an interesting question during our presentation: “How do we make MOOCs better?” We invite you to share your thoughts on this and any other areas that sparked your curiousity.
References for our presentation and blog post:
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