MOOCs and digital literacies
Bon Stewart has a new article in JOLT (the Journal of Online Learning and Teaching) entitled Massiveness + Openness = New Literacies of Participation?
MOOCs' particular combination of massiveness and openness may expose a large population of learners to new digital literacies and learning roles via exposure to open, decentered practices and distributed expertise. From a social communications and learning-focused perspective, this means that massiveness may have important implications for education beyond the economies of scale framework. Even if few of the largest MOOCs are currently designed to resemble Trojan horses for participatory culture, they nonetheless have the potential to expose large sectors of society to new literacies and meta-level processing around the idea of learning as a communicative practice. The capacity for networked interaction may itself be subject to network effects and, therefore, scale and encourage a digital literacies ethos of distributed expertise, increased peer-to-peer participation, collaboration, and knowledge generation.
What I like about the paper is the lens Bon uses that goes beyond the xMOOC/cMOOC divide. She frames 'massiveness' in terms of technological affordances (rather than the actual numbers of students who attended the course) and explains well how the role of the teacher is destabilised and decentralised, even if this is unintentional.
It's well worth a read. And kudos to JOLT for making the text so accessible. :-)