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xMooc feedback

Have just completed a Coursera course on World Music and have been asked to complete an evaluation survey. Most questions actually ask about a possible future ‘advanced’ course. ┬áIn the spirit of openness, here is my feedback from the Comments question.

I’m pretty shocked that you are discussing money for participation in the final questions above. Coursera is describing itself as a mooc platform and although the edublogosphere is already alive to ‘open’ only meaning ‘free’ as in beer in what Coursera and some others are offering, touting for money for participation – and also hinting at limited enrolment – negates any ethos or pretence to be free (as in puppies).
Going back to the course just past, I think that there a number of areas for improvement and also that there was some good stuff there, hard work by the TAs (Lee & Delia mainly) and a willingness to take on board the feedback that was coming through the forums – for that last one, kudos indeed.

1. Improve the communication to participants. 2. Be explicit about course and assignment requirements at the point of use. Don’t have people searching the site high and low to discover where it said that you needed to do 5 peer reviews or you would be docked marks. 3. Improve the socialisation 4. build on the existing knowledge of the participants (3 & 4 were evident in the Facebook group that self developed but less so in the course site) 5. Use Knowles ideas of andragogy to make it clear to people why you are teaching what you are teaching. I imagine that there will be a lot of feedback about the political aspects of the course especially from people who were expecting to have a focus on music. Having to design a new rubric for the number of assignments that could be answered with no reference to music was strange and unexpected! 6. Be less western-centric. We heard about music from around the world but heard it described and discussed in relation to what it meant to a western listener. It should have been essential to discover what it meant to the people and cultures making that music from their perspective. 7. Don’t deliver, engage. Employ (or get Coursera to employ) some online learning pedagogy experts. 8. Don’t claim Paul Simon discovered South African music!!! It insults South African musicians, it insults so many people.

As I said earlier, there was clearly some hard work done by Lee at least in the forums and a willingness to respond (e.g. no product placements after week 1). It was a big course but that is what the Massive M stands for! Make it longer, with looser timeframes and encourage fuller participation by true openness.

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