Ron Fredericks writes: I will present my idea for a 7 layer service classification for MOOC’s (Massive Open Online Courses) and the new opportunities it might create. I propose that the responsibility assumed by the supporting web platform(s) would depend on what service layer of the network-student-teacher is being addressed.
Dividing MOOC’s into three types: Network, Task, and Content (see Lisa M Lane http://lisahistory.net/wordpress/2012/08/three-kinds-of-moocs/) is a useful description of the infrastructure behind these platforms. This breakdown does not supersede or conflict with dividing MOOC’s into two application types: Collaborative/Constructivist cMOOC’s and Information Dissemination (following edX style) xMOOC’s as a description of the educational process used in a MOOC (see Dave Cormier http://reflectionsandcontemplations.wordpress.com/2012/08/23/what-is-a-mooc-what-are-the-different-types-of-mooc-xmoocs-and-cmoocs/).
I believe we are going to eventually divide MOOC’s into perhaps 7 stages following an abstraction of the typical network hierarchies – such as the 7 layer OSI (Open System Interconnect) model: physical, data link, network, transport, session, presentation, and application. Here is an example of how multiple software products work together at multiple layers to produce an effective network…
Some of these layers may seem benign to a three-way web service provider-teacher-student educational process. For example: can a MOOC platform include data mining content so researchers can probe results of prior courses to quantitate learning efficacy or design new cognitive models. That data and the search API might be optimized at one of the layers in an OSI-like metaphor of no direct interest to the student-teacher relationship short term.
Another example might be to use one layer of a MOOC hierarchy for corporate/university sponsorship with reciprocal benefits such as identification of future employment or PhD candidacy without waiting for an elaborate certification process down the line. Yet another API for MOOC’s at a particular layer might be a technology transfer unit based on new ideas generated during a MOOC course with benefits enriching the participants involved.
I imagine there are many other examples based on the reality that there is more than one student and sometimes no specific one teacher and many web services loosely integrated into the MOOC platform with many global borders spanned. Each layer in a MOOC classification would allow participation from other service to meet these needs uniquely.
Yet through all this, I believe there are many ways to classify MOOC’s. It would be helpful to have a layer system from which to sub classify MOOC’s as in the three way definition at the infrastructure layer or the two way definition at the application layer, presented earlier.
The responsibility of the platform provider under my proposed multilayer (say 7) classification would be for each of them to support the API’s being created from the layer below, layer above, and other service offerings by other vendors at the same layer.
These are just my initial thoughts – but I hope to read more discussion around platform responsibilities and how this translates into more opportunity and reusable information on multiple layers.
For more information on the etmooc project: http://etmooc.org/
To discuss this further with other education professionals, consider joining my LinkedIn group: http://www.linkedin.com/groups/MOOC-Massive-Open-Online-Courses-4652870