Luminaria: Rise of the MOOC

by on November 19, 2013 in Luminaria with No Comments »


(To view a PDF of the print copy, click here)

IN THIS ISSUE

  • Welcome Letter from Dwight Hodgson
  • I Took A MOOC
  • Interview: MCNY President Vinton Thompson
  • Learning To Learn
  • MOOCs At MCNY?
  • Low MOOC Completion Rates
  • A Brief Tour of MOOC Providers
  • MOOCs And Math
  • LEC Students on MOOCs
MOOC cover
Welcome Letter from Dwight Hodgson

As the new Coordinator of the Learning Enhancement Center (LEC) and Mentor & Leadership Development Program (MLDP), I am excited to welcome you to another edition of Luminaria. This edition seeks to unfold the MOOC phenomenon. Recently, I have found myself thinking about my past professional experiences in non-conventional environments, which have given me an array of perspectives on education and learning. As the Education Center Coordinator for an adult basic education center, I analyzed issues ranging from the residual effects of a flawed K-12 system to the impositions of family life on the adult learner. As the Coordinator of a CUNY access program charged with getting young minorities involved in biomedical research and the world of STEM, I worked with students at the top of their undergraduate classes—students who didn’t need remedial intervention but who needed to be introduced to, and guided through, research opportunities, internships, and summer programs. And as Associate Director of Diversity and Inclusion at a premier city high school, I promoted diversity within an intelligent and articulate but, from the perch of interpersonal engagement, socially and culturally uninformed student body.

In each of these situations—and in many more like them—MOOCs have the potential to fill an education gap by giving students the time and space to step in and out of the classroom experience without interrupting their work flow. Having seen early college students selflessly offer up their naivety in exchange for an introduction to different cultures, I imagine students will bring that same innocence and yearning to the global, virtual MOOC classroom. I like to think that, in the same ways my former students strung their life experiences outside the classroom into an applicable learning device when they worked with their tutors, students enrolled in MOOCs will use their experience to enhance the experience for all. And I also believe that the communal MOOC environment will foster an opportunity for students to chime in on topics they never imagined they could have anything of substance to offer.

I am not concerned, and do not think, that MOOCs will replace the traditional classroom. More likely, they will supplement the brick-and-mortar education system richly and robustly . . . with many hiccups along the way. And that brings me full circle, to my role with the LEC and MLDP here at MCNY. As online classes and MOOCs continue to expand throughout higher education, support services—where confused and introspective students converse with real, live human tutors and mentors—will become all the more vital. As you survey the perspectives of this issue, I hope you take a moment to consider how the digital MOOC model might add to the analog nature of your education and your life. Happy reading.

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How to Boost Self-Confidence in Mathematics

by on October 16, 2012 in Reflections with No Comments »


Introduction

Many recent high school graduates are experiencing certain difficulties in dealing with college undergraduate mathematics. A lot of researchers on students in college performance reveal that many first-year students are coming underprepared for college life and are frequently frustrated by sequential failure in remedial math sequence and drop out of college. “For some, it may be that their confidence has been severely dented by someone who taught them maths [sic] in a forceful or unsympathetic manner, so that they came to believe that they were ‘no good at maths [sic]’” (Fewings, 2011).

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Fraction Myth Debunked

by on June 29, 2012 in Reflections with No Comments »


Introduction

The hottest discussion topic among mathematic educators within Metropolitan College of New York revolves around the idea of what mathematic skills our students should have. The biggest concern arises when students face failure with fraction concepts. The advancement from secondary to post-secondary education demands that students should have already mastered these skills in elementary school and demonstrated computational proficiency during the Accuplacer entry examination. However, newly admitted and even some continuing students continue to struggle with concepts of fraction addition and fraction subtraction. So, many students believe that mastery of fraction skills will never be achieved. This belief is a myth.
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Math Phobia

by on April 18, 2012 in Reflections with 1 Comment »


Introduction

Math is the most feared subject in the American school system. Students ranging from lower-level to college-level seem to dread the subject.

Math phobia is serious issue in America, and many cartoonists and other individuals seem to communicate the issue in funny cartoons to remind us continuously that it’s not an individual problem but the entire county’s problem. The more people become aware of widespread math phobia, the more likely that they will take the necessary steps collectively to address it.

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Solving Brain Teasers

by on March 8, 2012 in Must Sees with No Comments »


Introduction

Society expects teachers to successfully facilitate students’ cognitive development. But cognition occurs when taught material makes sense and is affected by emotional development. Recognizing that neither teachers nor students are educated in pieces, but rather as part of a larger educational system, we must address many variables that affect students’ attitudes, morale, and school performance. One of these variables is the ongoing training in problem solutions in a classroom setting. Lately, I have been thinking about how a student’s intellectual growth and confidence are improved via finding solutions to brain teasers.

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