Why I have withdrawn from two MOOCs

I have withdrawn from two Coursera MOOCs in the last week. The reason being that neither of them grabbed my interest.

Being as I am a retired person, I have no real interest in gaining badges, certificates or awards for any particular course I do. I am purely motivated by the desire to learn.

The validity of a course to me is, did it transform my thinking, inform me, make me read and look at brilliant videos or was it full of dull lectures and un-understandable readings? I would also add that the better MOOCs I have done in the past year have widened my Personal Learning Network and allowed me to participate in genuinely uplifting online discussion.

I can therefore say that my feedback to MOOC providers would be that they cannot succeed if they replicate boring lectures, supported by dull and difficult texts. The learner learns best by being motivated. You need to make lectures that include more than one talking head, plenty of visual and verbal material and you need to link lectures to the readings.

I really like the peer support, peer marking and the use of forums. The best forums work in small groups where students can really get to know and interact with each other.

So far I have been impressed by my first Coursers course on global issues, I loved my course from the Media Lab at MIT “Learning Creative Learning”, I felt that Jo Boaler’s course from Stanford on “How to Learn Math” was excellent and my most recent MOOC , a course called “Why Open” from P2PU was very interesting and taught me a lot about the need to promote open access of information.

If a course grabs you in terms of content, interests and good organisation then you will persevere, otherwise you will vote with your finger and hit the “Un-enroll” button, after all it hasn’t cost you anything!

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