Because Moocs harness the best of IT, best of pedagogy and best of students from all around the globe, their enthusiasm, insights and energies; because they harness great power of collaborative learning; because they open up the barriers of exclusiveness ("This is my knowledge, I wont give it to you; only if you pay x or do y").
A good example to explain the difference between traditional university class and Mooc will be to compare Microsoft's Encarta Vs Wikipedia. Just think- suddenly anyone form a remote village in India can travel to USA, get admission to Stanford and attend the lectures of a famous professor.. That is what MOOCS have achieved in a short span of time.
I have just joined Udacity (statistics 101)- out of interest. I am able to compare Udacity and Coursera's interface now. Both have their own advantages..and probably depend on the subject being taught (peculiarities of Programming versus Social sciences for example) and also preferences of the professor teaching it.
Udacity Statistics course uses a neat white black board analogy with running audio of the professor. In the Coursera program, Prof McFarland occupied a little corner of the power-point slide in a video format. Udacity interface looks very clean, is very interactive- you cant go to sleep because every few minutes you have to do a smart quiz, right there on the white board. Both courses give credits. In my course at Coursera 60,000+ enrolled. Discussion forum was always abuzz with interesting and very valuable contributions by peers.
Another major difference: Udacity offers many IT oriented courses. Coursera is rich on social sciences, Business management, Humanities.. (do check out)
It seems that advances in IT and web applications have drastically reduced the hierarchy between knowledge producers and consumers- to a point where almost everyone is playing both the roles at some point.
So what are the implications for us at TISA? How can we empower average pws with more information? more information that is unbiased, peer reviewed, free and accessible? with more "say" in the matter of his/her therapy and recovery ? How can we put more and more pws in touch with other pws for collaborative learning? How about an online course (with credits) on awareness about stammering causes, symptoms, therapy options and outcomes? Please leave your comments on this ..
The top picture- Ravindra was here from Mumbai for about 3 weeks. It was nice to see a young man complaining of cold more than I did for a change! We had lot of fun. Bhuri (under the table), my dog, too had a lot of fun with him.