fan 2013 year of MOOC & microeducationsummit & 170th birthday of The Economist
The first annual meeting of the ACM Conference on Learning at Scale will be held March 4-5, 2014 in Atlanta, GA, USA. This conference is intended to promote scientific exchange of interdisciplinary research at the intersection of the learning sciences and computer science. Inspired by the emergence of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and the accompanying huge shift in thinking about education, this conference was created by ACM as a new scholarly venue and key focal point for the review and presentation of the highest quality research on how learning and teaching can change and improve when done at scale.
"Learning at Scale" refers to new approaches for students to learn and for teachers to teach, when engaging large numbers of students, either in a face-to-face setting or remotely, whether synchronous or asynchronous, with the requirement that the techniques involve large numbers of students (where "large" is preferably thousands of students, but can also apply to hundreds in in-person settings). Topics include, but are not limited to: Usability Studies, Tools for Automated Feedback and Grading, Learning Analytics, Analysis of Log Data, Studies of Application of Existing Learning Theory, Investigation of Student Behavior and Correlation with Learning Outcomes, New Learning and Teaching Techniques at Scale.
Steve Kolowich reports this morning on a new study of MOOC participation in Forums that suggests about 90% don't participate except by lurking---but those who do, and even better, those who actually engage in face to face conversations about the content of their MOOC courses, do much better on the tests than those who do not: http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/mooc-students-who-got-offlin... This is great news for all of us who believe in connected learning, where participation is important. It reminds everyone that participation is not "natural" or "easy" (even face to face) but that it matters.
What I like best about MOOCs is how much the reassert (I know this seems counterintuitive so bear with me) the importance of higher education. The last three decades has seen not only progressive defunding of higher ed but a rhetoric that we don't need it....it turns out that the world is (a) clamoring for an opportunity to learn (b) that face to face learning still matters and that (c ) the majority of us online are lurkers and that is ALSO true of the majority, the research shows, in a classroom. So a great face to face teacher also must learn from this to find ways for ENGAGED individual and peer-to-peer participation, as true for our classrooms as it is for online learning....