Various parts of the traditional professor’s role can be pulled apart

B-MOOC debate
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Source :
Auteur : Jeffrey R. Young
Date de l'info : 6 novembre 2013

This is a B-MOOC resume form the following article  with the aim to launch a debate.

With online course, there’s no reason to have the same person develop the content, deliver it, and run assessments, when people with skills in each of those areas can work together to create clearer and more effective lessons.


MOOCs are becoming major media productions—ones that may radically change the traditional role of professors:

  • “From what I hear, really good actors can actually teach really well,” said Anant Agarwal, CEO of EdX, who was until recently a computer-science professor at MIT. “
  • “All our instructors are knowledgeable in the subject area,” said Sebastian Thrun, Udacity’s founder. “However, we often rely on teams of people to produce a MOOC, and often the individuals who show up on tape are not the primary instructor who composes the materials. This really depends on how camera-shy an instructor is, and how well we believe an instructor is able to do a great job in front of a camera.”

For UDACITY, a MOOC is build around scenes that are produced in a way to add variety to what could otherwise have been a series of talking heads lecturing to the camera. Professors typically :

  • before the show, develop the lessons and then send them to a production team that turn the lectures into scripts with playful scenes, complete with demonstrations and suggested jokes.
  • on the show, make regular brief appearances to be part of a demonstration or skit with the facilitator. Udacity want a « Knowledge facilitator » who can create a pretty darn good learning experience :
    • is shining,
    • is really good at explaining ideas and putting the right graphics and videos around them,
    • students can identify with, they wanted someone that demonstrate human senses.
    • After the show, answer the student’s questions

BUT SOME SAYS ‘The connection with the “Knowledge Provider” is key”

Daphne Koller, Coursera’s co-founder said: “We are told by many of our students that they feel a real connection to their MOOC instructors”.  “We believe that education is not a performance but fundamentally is about human interaction…. that is further reinforced when there is some interaction in the forum”.

” She argued that this connection would diminish if they asked actors to read scripts about content they didn’t deeply understand.

——-Learn more aboutThe New Rock-Star Proffesor: Should celebrities teach online classes? – click in link HEREJeffrey R. Young is a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University.
Olga Byrska

About Olga Byrska

Current Communication Director at Business MOOC Factory. She has been participated in creating the conception of the MOOC's MAGAZINE. One of admin's of the MOOCs MAGAZINE as well. Olga has been a journalist in journal: Gazeta Wyborcza; weeklies: Polityka, Newsweek Poland, Kultura Liberalna, Tygodnik Powszechny; magazines: Chimera, Twórczość (Warsaw, Poland). She has been writing about literature and theatre.

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