Those MOOCs-A A +A
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
ASK any Filipino, whether a taxicab or tricycle driver, a farmer-guide, or market vendor about their life’s aspirations for their children, and they’d say education, preferably a college degree.
Quality education, however, does not come at bargain-basement prices. This plus travel and transportation, boarding house, food, daily allowance, uniform and other school-related expenses actually choke the parents.
The attraction of online courses as an alternative is, therefore, not surprising. And its advantages are many. First, flexibility. Students don’t have to leave their job or home just to attend classes in a campus, yet have access to university credit courses or other specialized programs.
Second, costs are lower. For food needs, one need not run to the school canteen; his food is just steps away from the dining table or food cabinet.
Third, students can determine their own study time, unlike the campus setting where a class can be dissolved because not enough students have enrolled in it.
De La Salle University (DLSU) sees advantages for both students and faculty alike.
Through a training in the proper use of the integrated virtual learning environment (IVLE), teachers can create course calendars, discussion forums, distribution lists, lecture plans, chat rooms, subscription services, assignment repositories, staff homepages and frequently-asked question builders.
They can also post lesson plans, give and collect assignments online, and provide links to relevant web sites. Students can even take tests online which are then automatically corrected.
Despite all its advantages, however, very few such schools in the Philippines offer online courses.
Among the private institutions, there’s only DLSU and Philippine Women’s University.
The state universities count only eleven, nine of these in Luzon like U.P. and Polytechnic University of the Philippines, while two are in the Visayas, the Visayas State University in Baybay, Leyte and the Cebu Technological University.
The hesitation among the rest could be due to inadequate resources to provide the technology, and/or the lack of confidence in the ability of educational technology, online learning and other emerging opportunities to deliver course content.
The latter has emerged as among the findings of the 2013 annual survey in the U.S. among 2,251 college and university faculty members and campus leaders. Less than 10 percent believe that online courses, called “MOOCs” for massive open online courses, achieve learning outcomes equivalent to face-to-face or “in-person” courses.
Where interaction with students is concerned, 85 percent said the MOOCs achieve lower than in-person courses.
About three-fourths (73 percent) of the respondents believed that a guarantee to quality MOOCs is that these are offered by an accredited institution, preferably one offering those same courses in-person, too.
Perhaps because teachers are the primary vehicle for delivering course content, close to two-thirds (62 percent) stressed that schools should offer MOOCs only upon faculty approval.
And since the subject is quality, over half (59 percent) contend that these courses should be evaluated by accrediting agencies. I totally agree.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 03, 2013.