Friday, 27 September 2013

What would a MOOC be like if the BBC made one?

This post is completely of the cuff. I haven't had a search around on this one, its just something that's been buzzing around in my head.
I've been taking a few MOOCs recently, lets face it who hasn't dipped there toes in to get a feel of the experience. Out this comes many questions, but one is about old media an new media, old broadcasting and new social engagement with media. It's not escaped anyone's attention the phenomena of tweeting while watching TV. It's Newsnight on BBC being a typical example. This is a new mass social experience of media and interaction. Lets not focus on the detail of the quality of that experience, because it is a live programme, the reaction to it on social media from the viewers has to be instant, which can make it difficult to sustain concentration and analyse at any great level. Old media and broadcasting is not in conflict with this audiences desires to interact, but it's far from perfect.
What would be better, is debate and discussion happened over a longer period, and the various streams of information were less distributed over different platforms and discussion spaces.

Now there are many design faults within the MOOC platforms yet to be solved, but the experience of listening and reacting to content is far slower and more contained that the example above. What would a MOOC be live if the BBC made one

1. Content would be far more creative. Like it or not, unis are not great at producing sophisticated content, the visuals are a little stayed, the joke awful, the budgets just a little too small. 
2. It would super inflate the interest in the general public of engaging in this kind of educational experience as MOOCs my provide. It's still a niche market, by the BBC have always had a remit to educate.
3. The chosen topic would be overwhelmingly populist, and disregard the academic approach to knowledge and fields of study
4. There would be a few errors in there, the BBC are getting better, but the academic rigour would just not be there
5. It wouldn't happen because of there fears of control over the discussion spaces, public broadcasting has distanced itself over the years from social media, particularly ones that encourage debate. A fall out this would mean, more quiz elements than discussion and losing the whole meaning of the process.
6. Certification. There is no university of the BBC, so would anyone else step in to offer a badge of the area being studied. Open Uni would be ideal, and I'm sure somewhere the discussions have gone on.
7. Licencing, open content is still very difficult for companies particularly the BBC to adapt to

Never the less it's an interesting idea. The gap between old and new media is growing, leaving most large media corporations desperately exploring ways to reconnect with some audiences.
But if we turn this on its head, if all a MOOC is, is a space for collective learning and a badge to follow, are there not other spaces where this is already happening. Is the MOOC just offering a poorer experience to the wider social Internet?

If it did happen, what would be the first subject, I'm thinking cake baking, how about you?

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