Mobile // Mobile Devices
News
5/31/2013
02:56 PM
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

MIT Sees Zombies And MOOCs In Education's Future

MIT's Sloan School of Management is one of several universities using AvayaLive Engage to meld real and virtual classrooms.

To really engage people in a collaborative learning environment, an interface like Avaya's may be needed.

"The MOOC idea, and I respect Khan Academy and EdX and Coursera and Udacity, they're great for conveying knowledge, but when it comes to high-engagement, high-trust kinds of programs, they're left wanting," said Paul McDonagh-Smith, Avaya's learning practice leader.

He said there were not currently discussions between Avaya and existing massive open online courses (MOOCs), or online learning environment producers like Blackboard, about adopting its interface.

"I see a fantastic opportunity to create a whole new generation of products and services for this technology," he said. He thinks that an interface like his will be truly disruptive for higher education, in a way that current MOOCs are not.

That may be true, said Michael B. Horn, co-founder and executive director of the Clayton Christensen Institute. Horn, who cautioned that he has not seen the Avaya platform in action, called it "intriguing."

The Christensen Institute just published a report on hybrid online and classroom learning in K-12 schools. The report argued that currently the hybrid model, also called blended learning, is largely a "sustaining innovation," Christensen's notation for an innovation that improves an existing field, but does not disrupt it.

Horn said some school districts, such as Summit Public Schools or the Touchstone schools are using online technologies in disruptive fashion. But schools and campuses aren't going away anytime soon.

"We're still going to see students learning in schools," Horn said.

Previous
2 of 2
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Michael Fitzgerald
50%
50%
Michael Fitzgerald,
User Rank: Moderator
6/4/2013 | 9:10:50 PM
re: MIT Sees Zombies And MOOCs In Education's Future
okay, we're getting hung up on the avatars. What matters is communication. I taught an online course this past spring, and the inability to engage in something approaching a conversation with people was a problem. The ability to have real conversations online would've have been a tremendous help. Think of the avatars as a placeholder for video or something. Or think about this: people get deeply invested in 3D avatars in gaming, so why couldn't they do so in other types of programs?
Thomas Claburn
50%
50%
Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
6/3/2013 | 10:42:08 PM
re: MIT Sees Zombies And MOOCs In Education's Future
I have to say I'm profoundly skeptical about 3D avatars for anything other than online gaming.
David F. Carr
50%
50%
David F. Carr,
User Rank: Author
6/3/2013 | 6:19:52 PM
re: MIT Sees Zombies And MOOCs In Education's Future
Interesting. I always thought the tech had the best potential for teaching something like architecture, where you might be touring the virtual representation of a building that doesn't exist yet, or maybe engineering representations of an aircraft or a rocket.
Michael Fitzgerald
50%
50%
Michael Fitzgerald,
User Rank: Moderator
6/3/2013 | 6:07:31 PM
re: MIT Sees Zombies And MOOCs In Education's Future
Hi David,

I probed on that same point. What people told me is that the three-dimensional audio, the ability to hold conversations that are much like you could have at an actual seminar, changes the dynamic in an important way. I agree that it seems like a small thing, but we've all seen an iterative change transform a failed technology into a groundbreaker. I'll see if Erik Brynjolfsson will comment on this.
It also is a system designed for collaboration, so it's more focused than Second Life. I'm going to file something today about MIT expanding its usage of this system, so we'll have a better sense of its effectiveness over time.
MIchael
David F. Carr
50%
50%
David F. Carr,
User Rank: Author
6/3/2013 | 4:48:14 PM
re: MIT Sees Zombies And MOOCs In Education's Future
The Second Life phenomenon has faded dramatically, so I don't get why imitating that style of interaction would make sense for educators trying to innovate. There were all sorts of experiments with teaching on Second Life islands a few years ago, but now that's an old enthusiasm people laugh at.
Building A Mobile Business Mindset
Building A Mobile Business Mindset
Among 688 respondents, 46% have deployed mobile apps, with an additional 24% planning to in the next year. Soon all apps will look like mobile apps – and it's past time for those with no plans to get cracking.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Tech Digest September 18, 2014
Enterprise social network success starts and ends with integration. Here's how to finally make collaboration click.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
The weekly wrap-up of the top stories from InformationWeek.com this week.
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.