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The NEWS forum only allows posts from me, not comments from you, so I have created a new forum for Summaries. If you have some after-thoughts or additional information to add, please do.

As a participant in the first ever MOOC Massive Open Online Course, and many others since, I am surprised and pleased that others are adopting the name and promoting it. However, I am dismayed by the degree of commercialization of a concept that is all about OPEN – available to anyone anywhere for free. Many of these so-called recent MOOCs miss most of the fundamental process, expectations and participant contributions.

The folks who came up with the idea for Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) wanted to offer an alternative to formal education – some thing that could only exist using current technologies with innovation and learner input. There are facilitators, guest experts, regular “live” online presentations with questions and answer segments with real-time backchannel chats but more importantly, many ways for “participants” to participate. Using some home-grown technology, discussion forum posts, tweets, videos, blogs, comments were “harvested” and formatted into daily emails, RSS feeds, web pages and course management system content.

More than 800 people from all over the world took responsibility for their own learning. They contributed their time, their ideas and their efforts as they wished. Some participants were “lurkers” and just observed from the sidelines. Most of us blogged, commented, “attended” some of the online presentations, and contributed to some of the discussion forums. A few people took the initiative and provided research and amazingly detailed materials that are now public record on the subject to the benefit of everyone.

Unfortunately, in most of the regular press articles, what they are describing are not-very-good online courses using proprietary software by institutions looking to extend their brand name. These are nothing like MOOCs.

There was lots of good discussion this week about Education, college degrees, and employable skills. Several of you have friends and family with college degrees and no jobs. This is a big concern for all. On the other hand there are 1000s of jobs that can not be filled because no one has the skills required. In some cases, no one will do the jobs for what the employer can afford to pay to have the job done. Internships and apprenticeships used to be a great way to discover more about working in particular companies and organizations. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

Several posts mentioned the need for immigrants in high tech jobs because the U.S. does not have enough people with these skills. And yet, there are many people with college degrees that can’t fill these jobs. How did this happen? This is a big question for the U.S. that needs to be resolved.

I noticed that the posts with links that will bring up the site they link to get more replies than those that don’t. Learn to make the links in your posts “hot”. Just copy the web address including the “http” part, highlight the link and click the link button in the edit window. Then paste the web address into the dialog box that comes up. Save and it should now appear to everyone as a clickable link.

Next up – the MidTerm project. This is a bit different than previous assignments. Be sure to ask questions if you need to. The information provided should be enough to get you started. But it is difficult to guess where you are going to need help. It is better to have this be more interactive. Ask questions and we can discuss the project requirements from there.

Thanks to all. Your hard work is making this an especially dynamic and informative class. It is a great pleasure to have all this participation.

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