Well, it seems that despite potential flaws, the MOOC hype has turned into a MOOC domination: they are certainly here to stay. One could account for a lot of problems – we are still amidst the initial phase of the emerging trend – yet one thing remains an absolute fact: productivity and collaboration in academia were never at its highest.
Personally I am enrolled in a lot of MOOCs, in a variety of platforms. For each and everyone of them I need to watch the videos, come up with notes, do my readings and then of course manage my homework.
Multiple choice tests are not the sole method of evaluating a MOOC although they seem to be quite objective and leave less room for debate. The infamous peer-feedback of the flipped classroom educational practice has amassed plenty of critique and painful reaction among MOOC students. Still, I am not going to enter that debate. Imagine, at this point, the amounts of written text produced as homework for all the MOOC classes. Imagine what it would be like to receive feedback from more than 1-5 peers, even outside their platform.
Since the cloud-based technology is offering huge advantages to education, one should come up with portfolios based on the cloud and in synch with all devices and platforms – thus promoting peer feedback and collaboration in real time from virtually everywhere. As a MOOC supporter I would like my homework from online courses to be effectively stored and shared – yet by all means copyright-protected – so as to promote knowledge and exchange of ideas. Coursera and other leading MOOC providers should think of an integrated e-portfolio
that would allow the student to save his/her work at one place and make it easily shareable with the rest of the world (not downloadable though). On the plus side, any academic institution or company interested in a CV’s continuing education sector could glimpse the works of potential candidates and deem their overall productivity in one place.
To avoid any misunderstanding, not only humanities offer written assignments as homework. An e-portfolio could hold a Python program, a gamification scenario, a social science experiment report, etc.