The UALL AGM Seminar on 21st November was, as always, on a topic currently in the news. This year it was the rise of the MOOC. Two keynote speakers at the leading edge of MOOC development – Mike Sharples of the Open University-led FutureLearn, and Jeff Haywood from the University of Edinburgh - spoke on the implications of MOOCs for lifelong learning, especially mature and part time learners. They stressed the importance of MOOCs being pedagogy and not technology led, and alive to students’ broader needs, including valid learning experiences as well as outcomes, and creating a community of learning in what could be an isolating experience: discussion, mentoring, peer review.
Discussion was lively, led by question and comment from an engaged and well-informed audience. Inevitably, given the newness, speed and scale of MOOC development, there was a wide range of view.
MOOCs are currently shining in the HE firmament. Will this continue? Or will they, like comet Ison, fade into the light of common day?