#change11 Massiveness and Diversity

In a previous discussion about the massiveness of MOOCs, Jenny considered two types of diversity:

“I’m wondering whether diversity should have two lines? One for people and one for resources — when thinking of course design?”

Can lacking massiveness be somehow compensated? For example, can the consequential lack of participants’ diversity be compensated by a diversity of resources?

I doubt this. I think diversity has to be authentic, unpredictably and statistically emergent from random, is uncontrolled, and not generated, ensured, enforced by always biased facilitators. A controlled, “curated” diversity looks to me like a circus, or at best a zoo, rather than a field trip or the authentic wilderness.

It would also have negative consequences for autonomy because the freedom of choice would be limited, if not by insufficient offerings, then at least by the teacher in order to enforce some balance to guarantee the residual diversity. And in any case the challenge of choice, which is crucial for the new critical literacy of picking and filtering, would be hampered.

If diversity is also intended to increase breadth (in conjunction with a desired depth) then a teacher-curated diversity might be problematic for yet another reason. As Stephen pointed out (in a comment at Jenny’s), “One person’s breadth is another person’s depth.” So, optimal breadth cannot be curated, either, but needs authentic diversity.

If diversity needs the massiveness attribute of a MOOC, and autonomy of choice, in turn, needs diversity, then massiveness follows from the 4 principles of a MOOC (autonomy, diversity, openness, and connectedness), and need not be added as a fifth principle. Or is there something wrong with this argument?

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3 Responses to #change11 Massiveness and Diversity

  1. Hi Matthias – I agree that maybe ‘massiveness’ should not be added as a fifth principle, but it definitely needs to be considered and its relationship to the other 4 principles understood.

    If I understand you correctly you are saying that the principles of autonomy, diversity, openness and connectedness cannot be fully experienced without massiveness.

    In one sense I agree – but my feeling is that the principles of autonomy, diversity, openness and connectedness are so important for effective learning that course designers should consider them even in the absence of massiveness – although I appreciate that the experience will not be the same.

  2. x28 says:

    Thanks, Jenny, I can agree with this, too. The experience in the zoo is not the same as in the authentic wilderness, but it’s still very valuable.

  3. x28 says:

    See also Glen‘s posting.

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