I enrolled in two Coursera classes, and I'm interested to see how they go. A few things that are exciting:
- I get to learn about things I'm interested in, even though I'm not enrolled in a traditional university.
- I get to interact, in real time (or delayed forum-time), with other people interested in learning about the same things that are interesting to me.
- Teaching across this new medium could open up new ways to teach, and more ways to make education available to more people.
- There are people from many places in the world participating in these courses. I hope to learn from the different peoples' perspecitives. One of the MOOCs I'm enrolled in has students from over 150 countries.
- It's free.
- There are 44,000 people enrolled in the course. Of those, I suspect only a fraction will stay with it the whole time; let's say a fourth of the people stay. That means that 11,000 people are posting on the forum, on the Google+ group, and participating in the class. There is NO WAY that I, just one student, could keep up with that. Not that I have to. But the constant Google+ notifications and emails are getting annoying, only 3 days into the course.
- With such varied backgrounds, how do we have a starting point? What's the common denominator of people tuning in from all over the world?
- How does a professor truly teach students that he or she never personally interacts with? Or even know the name of?
- Will such a massive scale encourage thought and discussion on topics, or will it be too difficult to monitor even the threads you're participating in?