MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) have entered the mainstream as a modern approach to learning. "The New York Times dubbed 2012 'The Year of the MOOC.'
Its most important characteristic is the idea that learning occurs best through connections. These connections may be concepts, people, or other elements in a culture. It places focus on an active process of learning where the learner has access to information from many sources and is free to learn based on their own needs. In connectivism, learning is the process of forming connections.
Because MOOCs can include so much content, and can draw from many sources, they are rich learning environments. "MOOC is the new textbook," according to David Finegold of Rutgers University.
There are two types of MOOCs. The more traditional course as prepared by a developmental team is referred to as xMOOC. The more connectivist MOOC as represented by Knowledge Avatars is referred to as cMOOC.
How is Knowledge Avatars a connectivist MOOC?
- Many people may collaborate to develop a Knowledge Avatar.
- You can share concepts and examples from other Knowledge Avatars.
- Within every Knowledge Avatar you can communicate and share with other participants.
- You can link and embed examples from freely available content on the Internet.
- Knowledge Avatars takes a multi-modal approach, allowing you to blend different media.
While Knowledge Avatars are cMOOCs, they also bridge the gap with more traditional courses. Knowledge Avatars automatically display relations via the Knowledge Holograph and makes it easy to see how concepts are related. This allows students to see the forest of a topic before delving into the individual concepts (the trees).
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