No contact with teachers. You will ask if you have even tried to contact them? Yes, I tried to make my way into the top 10 lucky people who were allowed to ask a question to Mohamed Noor, Professor of Biology at Duke University. But I did not break through. My cosmology professor from Calteh, S. George Jorgowski, had office hours on the Second Life virtual space. But he immediately announced: those of you guys, who have never been to Second Life before, you Mahplayground may not even go there – it is very difficult to understand there.
A handful of lucky students were lucky – they were able to get answers from professors on the “Discussion Board”. Some of them were answered by their assistants. But I was not among them either. Or, maybe, I just need to be more caring. Like the student who offered the zippered professor a treatment with chamomile tea. “The best bactericide is whiskey!” – without any hesitation, the teacher replied.
To better realize the potential of MOOC, Coursera and its competitors should think about how to make teachers and assistants more accessible to students. Let them be not the highest deities, but at least something like parish priests. To the honor of the MOOC leaders, they are well aware of this problem and are trying to find a solution that will suit everyone.
Some innovators offer a hybrid training model. Let’s imagine that MOOC students from all over Ecuador are gathered in Quito; first they listen to an online lecture, then an offline teacher discusses what they have heard. Well, as stated in my scientific literacy course, if we cannot predict how an experiment will go – all the more reason to do it!
Interaction between students: “four” minus.
Psychologists say that if you have learned something, but have not told anyone about it, you can forget about your knowledge immediately. It would seem that online courses do not have problems to organize communication between students: to help them and Facebook, and Twitter, and Skype, and “Discussion Boards Coursera”, but what is it – close your laptop, and at least in the nearest McDonald’s meet! But it was not there – and the interaction of https://argoprep.com/blog/k8/math-playground/ students with each other receives in my rating “Average plus”.
However, our study group once met in one of the snack bars in Brooklyn. Although, “met” is a strong word for it. There was one me from the whole group. Well, this is not the worst result! No one could have come!
The picture on the “discussion boards” is a bit better. As always on the Internet, there are many “trolls” who suddenly decide to discuss the Italian accent of one of the professors. But there are quite enough smart and adequate people there. Once I asked a question to the students of the genetics course, why many people do not believe in evolution if there are so many arguments in its favor – and immediately I got some substantial answers and links to scientific articles.
Still, I may be stupid, but I think that the “Board” alone is not enough for communication. My Coursera classmate Peter Dewitz, a former professor at the University of Virginia, claims that online discussion is not enough to quickly exchange ideas. You print is always slower than you say.
A couple of times, my fellow students in modern history and I had a video conference on Google Plus. We discussed how Haitians are gaining independence. It was a wonderful international discussion and it was worth taking part: a Filipino scientist spoke about the educational system in the Philippines and a Brazilian entrepreneur spoke about social inequality in Brazil.
But can these conferences compare to midnight disputes in the dormitory of my real (in the sense of non-virtual) college for the new year, 1981? Is it just that I long for my youth? Well, let’s hope that technology is https://argoprep.com/blog/kindergarten-math-online-math-activities-for-kindergarten/ not standing still and that in five years we will be able to chat on Skype with a holographic classmate sitting in a chair across the street.