T. Jadin, M. Gaisch - Enhanced MOOCs (eMOOCs). - Designing Learning Environments, Zürich, Switzerland, 2014, pp. 302-309
Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are becoming increasingly popular and have been attracting much attention from educational stakeholders. One reason for this hype can be found in their economic strength, as they open new ways for e-learning providers to reach out to a greater audience with relatively little costs, another one lies in their didactic, practical and innovative value that they appear to hold in store.
At the same time, MOOCs offer a vast set of possibilities and chances for learners. These include free and open access to learning materials of high quality university settings; video lectures and textual learning resources provided by experts and subsequent assessment in form of quizzes, surveys and exercises to test participants’ knowledge base. So, on a positive note, MOOCs certainly make a valuable contribution to open educational resources (OER) as they are freely and openly accessible for all sorts of learners interested in a particular content with the intention to use, reuse, modify and share it with a larger community. On a more critical note, though, it was found that these learning materials are predominantly set up in accordance within the rather rigid confines of their providers’ internalised socio-cultural backgrounds. While the Information Age was aiming at knowledge workers that acquire and share knowledge, often through online channels, the requirements for the upcoming Conceptual Age appear to challenge previous ways of knowledge distribution. This is reinforced by Generation Y (born after 1980) as the fastest growing segment of the workforce. These digital natives are described as creative, ambitious and difficult to manage (Sheahan, 2005) and consequently appear to require a fresh approach towards education in general, and e-learning in particular.
In the following, an outline of the MOOCversity is given and the two major strands are presented. Then, key components of trialogical learning are identified and a micro-analytical lens on cultural features is adopted. By doing so, we claim that an additional form of MOOCs, one that we like to call “enhanced MOOCs” (in short eMOOCs) might be a promising avenue to better understand contemporary learners’ needs in a more context-sensitive way where fresh and timely approaches for e-learning settings need to be on the daily agenda of an Age of increasingly adaptive expertise.