MIT Sees Zombies And MOOCs In Education's Future - InformationWeek

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MIT Sees Zombies And MOOCs In Education's Future
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Michael Fitzgerald
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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
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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
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David F. Carr,
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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
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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
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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.


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