lørdag den 13. april 2013

Activity 14. comparing MOOCs.



Compare either DS106 or the Change MOOC with offerings from Udacity or Coursera.
Write a blog post comparing the courses with regards to: 


  • technology
  • pedagogy
  • general approach and philosophy. 
Gif from SOM of ds106.us/. See how below in "Ressources and tech".

Of the four MOOCs I chose to compare DS106 and Udacity because I didn't know anything about neither of them. I was familiar with Coursera (I participate in their courses and I have used Coursera in several other blog posts) and I had already had a look at Change MOOC earlier  (in activity 10).

I started by checking out the two sites. 
Before you read even one word, the layout shows a huge difference. Udacitys site is very clean, light and organized. Udacity makes me feel safe, in professional hands and in a very structured, easy navigating environment. 


ScreenCapture of www.udacity.com

DS106 contrasts by welcoming me with a dark background, rough typography, rolling pictures and a sort of a warning: "You have heard the rumors, are you ready for ds106?"  I love it :)



A deeper dive into the two MOOCs

DS106
 "The DS106 course began at the University of Mary Washington in Spring of 2010 when Jim Groom re-imagined the way the Computer Science Course in Digital Storytelling, CPSC 106, might be taught." (http://ds106.us/history/)

Their site is only for that single course. Their objectives for the student are:
  • Develop skills in using technology as a tool for networking, sharing, narrating, and creative self-expression
  • Frame a digital identity wherein you become both a practitioner in and interrogator of various new modes of networking
  • Critically examine the digital landscape of communication technologies as emergent narrative forms and genres (http://ds106.us/about/)
When I surf around their site and watch both students testimonys, the students handbook and the students advice DS106 is clearly a course, where you develop your skills by intensive work, networking and a lot of creative thinking. Have a look at aetherbunny2012s advice to future students:



DS106 offers neither certificates nor badges for participation. People join for their own interest or to be a part of the community. Alan Levine describes DS106: 
"Thus, ds106 is more community than course" 
"Much more than a course, ds106 is an experiment in the shape and potential of open education"   (http://www.educause.edu/ero/article/ds106-not-course-not-any-mooc)
The students create their own blog platform, Flickr, Youtube channel, Soundcloud etc. Much of the information flows via Twitter. The community creates the frames they feel are necessary and they create tutorials if needed. There are no video lectures. Assignments are published weekly, including a mix of readings, videos, and creative work. The site itself offers stuff like an impressing toolbox and applicable attributes e.g.
"The Assignment Collection includes over 500 creative activities, all contributed by participants. Rather than being assigned specific tasks, UMW students are assigned, say, 15 stars of Audio Assignments (stars being a crowdsourced difficulty rating). Students are free to choose the challenges that appeal to them. Via tags, the work that students publish for a particular assignment are linked from the original assignment as an example for others to see." (http://www.educause.edu/ero/article/ds106-not-course-not-any-mooc)
As a participant in DS106 you have to work with a lot of digital tools. This is how you prepare for the course acc their Quick Start Guide:
  • Create a Gravatar
  • Create social media accounts on TwitterflickrgoogleSoundCloud
  • If you will create/use a blog for your work, register it at ds106
  • Participate in the #ds106 in twitter
  • Check our toolbox for what software you might need
  • Do Daily Creates sign up for email notice or follow @td106dc on twitter)
  • Try ds106 assignments or create new ones
  • Explore the remix tool for assignments
  • Follow the flow of ds106 blog posts or a current class’s syllabus. Spread the love of feedback via comments.
    (
    http://ds106.us/handbook/success-the-ds106-way/quick-start/)
I find this final reflektion from Linda McKenna (student from spring 2012) is a good visualization of a DS106 students development:







  
Udacity
Udacity is founded by Sebastian Thrun, David Stavens and Mike Sokolsky, Stanford University. They provide 22 courses, the number today (7. April 2013), in 3 levels: beginner (high school student), intermediate (college student) and advanced (professional). 
Their objectives are:
"Our mission is to bring accessible, affordable, engaging, and highly effective higher education to the world. We believe that higher education is a basic human right, and we seek to empower our students to advance their education and careers." (https://www.udacity.com/us)
In Udacity you have the option to earn college credit. The courses from Udacity does not demand much from the students. You need a computer, a pen and paper for the course I signed up for (Visualizing Algebra). They do tell you to work with other students, as you see in the first quiz of the course: 



I did not find an active discussion forum for the students on the site. Everybody will be able to recognize the workflow in this course. Even though they work with short video clips instead of lectures, it looks pretty much like something I have experienced in school. Here is how it goes in Visualizing Algebra:

First the instruction.



Then a quiz.



And in the end the answer / explanation 



Compare the two Moocs on the three given points

Technology
To do the course Visualizing Algebra from Udacity, you need nothing but a computer with internetconnection and bandwith enough to watch Youtube videos. Their site informs:

What should I know?

Almost nothing! Students should know their multiplication tables (1-12) and be proficient with adding and subtracting integers (for example, -7 - 16). A pencil and paper will be a student’s best aid rather than a calculator. https://www.udacity.com/course/ma006

 As a student doing the DS106 you're expected to work a lot with different programs and digital tools. It can become a advantage to have programs to make movies, edit pictures etc on your computer despite the website says
"the only requirements are a real computer, a hardy internet connection, preferrably a domain of your own and some commodity web hosting, and all the creativity you can muster" (http://ds106.us/about/)



Pedagogy
It's all open in DS106. You can jump in and out of the course as you want to. The student community is the arena for the help and the learning. You can pick the challenges you want.

Visualizing Algebra is also open for access when you want. But your path through the material is predetermined. The small quizzes are there to assess if you have understood. In DS106 ther is not a "right or false" answer. 

DS106 is peer based. Udacity offers expercts to teach you. 



General approach and philosophy 


DS106:
This course will require you to both design and build an online identity (if you don't have one already) and narrate your process throughout the fifteen week semester. Given this, you will be expected to openly frame this process and interact with one another throughout the course as well as engage and interact with the world beyond as a necessary part of such a development.
In many ways this course will be part storytelling workshop, part technology training, and, most importantly, part critical interrogation of the digital landscape that is ever increasingly mediating how we communicate with one another.The course objectives are rather straightforward:
  • Develop skills in using technology as a tool for networking, sharing, narrating, and creative self-expression 
  • Frame a digital identity wherein you become both a practitioner in and interrogator of various new modes of networking
  • Critically examine the digital landscape of communication technologies as emergent narrative forms and genres (http://ds106.us/about/)
Udacity:
"Our mission is to bring accessible, affordable, engaging, and highly effective higher education to the world. We believe that higher education is a basic human right, and we seek to empower our students to advance their education and careers". (https://www.udacity.com/us)

By comparing these two MOOCs I could say, that the one from Udacity is more traditional and gives the student the properties of today (or maybe even yesterday) and the DS106 gives the needed skills for tomorrow. Though in a way I do not find that fair. The two MOOCs are about two very different topics. You have to open up, when the aim is blooming creativity. And you do not take the course to get a credit for further education. The Udacity on the other hand is meant for something completely different. Personally I could attend both of them depending on my goal. 




Added 17.4.2013:




Ressources and tech:

  1. .gif of ds106 made like this:
    Screencast the site with 
    www.screencast-o-matic.com
    Upload the screencast to Youtube
    Make a .gif from the Youtube url in gifsoup (it's free for .gif up to 10 seconds).
  2. Article: Not a course, not like any MOOC, by Alan Levinehttp://www.educause.edu/ero/article/ds106-not-course-not-any-mooc


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