Yorik de' Schmooc
The MOOC is dead... long live the MOOC
Did anyone really know him? Everyone claimed to know him. Bloggers all across the country wrote tall tales of his bold exploits. Many attempted to describe what and who he was, and predicted what he would become. Some called him Yorik de' Mooc, or Yorik de' xMooc, or even Yorik de' cMooc. Yet most of those stories failed to capture the essence of Yorik, and in fact seemed to describe someone different, someone who had very little in common with what Yorik really was.
Although I labor to portray the true story of this World-renown folk hero, few will listen. Even fewer will believe. Because the truth is not as glamorous as the myths that still abound... told by individuals who never actually met him. He was not the Messiah of Education, and never claimed to be. He never offered to solve the endemic problems of Higher Education or the pandemic outbreak of burgeoning student loans. He never addressed the elite business types and entrepreneurs who latched onto his misunderstood message and rabidly spread their own version of his gospel that morphed into an Internet Business Model for mass marketing. They never knew him as I did.
Yorik the MOOC was born in 2010 to George Siemens and Dave Cormier, with the assistance of midwives Alexander McAuley and Bonnie Stewart (McAuley, Stewart, Siemens, & Cormier (2010). Yorik was actually christened "The MOOC Model for Digital Practice." His purpose in life was to lead the quest for “Building Digital Skills for Tomorrow” as outlined in Canada's digital Magna Carta "Improving Canada’s Digital Advantage: Strategies for Sustainable Prosperity." The purpose of this quest was not to solve the US's higher education woes, but to aid in building and sustaining Canada's prosperity through its digital ecosystem by embracing both infrastructure and the collaborative social networks enabled by that infrastructure (McAuley, et al., 2010).
The overwhelming majority of myths and pseudo-MOOCs sweeping over the educational kingdom are in fact nothing like the original Yorik. They share little in common but the name stolen from this brave pioneer. One of his parents, and pioneer of Massive Open Online Courses (George Siemens of Athabasca University) has stated that the most prominent of MOOC imitations are "failing the ideals of the Open Education movement."
Too many uninformed business journals, politicians, and bloggers have perpetrated the myth that Yorik was some sort of revolutionary entrepreneur with a promise of massive revenue opportunities (see Link for a perfectly good BAD example)
You see, Yorik (rest his weary soul) was not a member of the Knights of Wallstreet nor did he attend Internet Entrepreneurs Anonymous. He was first and foremost committed to the learning theory of connectivism and the quest for OPEN educational resources (see Link).
Current Mythunderstandings about Yorik:
- MASSIVE - Not inviting 10,000 uneducated minions to absorb lectures or stare at videos, but inviting enough educated and knowledgeable individuals to develop a critical mass of subject matter experts who would then teach the rest (based on social learning theory and connectivist strategies) with limited "facilitation" by the event hosts.
- OPEN - Not open enrollment or unrestricted access, but open architecture, open resources, openly licensed content, and a transparent sharing of information (a fundamental aspect of connectivism).
- ONLINE - Not every event or activity that occurs online is a MOOC (see Wikipedia for enlightenment on webinars, social networking, online courses, online presentations, and massive role playing games). Distance Learning events online have been occurring for the last 35 years.
- COURSE - Not an online course by established standards. Perhaps it was a bad choice of terms, since the original events were more similar to free-play webinars. But then again, MOOWs doesn't have have the same panache, does it?