by Shannon Holden
MOOCs, massive open online courses, have been all over the news these days as a new way for anyone in the world to engage in free online learning presented by faculty from some of the most elite American universities.
edWeb.net, an open online learning platform for educators, is better than a MOOC – it’s a mini-MOOC. edWeb provides personalized online learning that is connected, and intimate, even though it is online. Our participants stay fully engaged in our programs – and keep coming back for more! Just read the comments.
Here are ten reasons why edWeb.net is better than a MOOC:
1. When you register for a MOOC, you are told not to email your instructor, become “friends” on Facebook with your instructor, or otherwise try to communicate with them. Your MOOC instructor is only slightly more accessible than the Pope. On edWeb, you can “friend” your webinar presenters on the edWeb platform, friend them on Facebook, and follow them on Instagram and Twitter. When you become friends on edWeb, you can send a private message to any of your webinar presenters 24/7! Here’s the best part – they will reply!
2. In an attempt to be more accessible, one MOOC professor held a lottery where 10 lucky students could join him in a Google Hangout to discuss the course. With 14,000 students taking the course, your odds are not good. On edWeb, EVERY person who wants to interact with a webinar presenter can do so! All you have to do is join a live webinar presentation and type questions to your heart’s content in the chat box at the bottom of the screen. You can also type questions on Twitter to the hashtag #edwebchat and webinar presenters will answer the questions after the presentation.
3. Millions of people have signed up to take MOOC’s, but the course completion rate is around 11%. There are approximately 50,000 educators signed up for edWeb.net, and over 90% of the people who log in to view a live webinar stay until the very end! Those who do receive a Continuing Education certificate in their email inbox the very next day.
4. Visit the discussion board of any MOOC, and you will notice it is inhabited by a large number of trolls – people who find joy in posting negative comments about the instructor, the course, the instructor’s appearance, accent, lack of instructional delivery style, and a variety of other gripes. The trolls will even post negative comments about YOUR comments! When you visit a community on edWeb, you will find a huge number of people who genuinely want to interact with you in a positive way. People are so willing to share useful instructional strategies, words of encouragement, and links to cool web-based resources…it’s like having a committee of researchers that will help you find what you need to succeed in implementing ANY initiative.
5. Trying to form relationships with ANY of your fellow students taking the same MOOC is an exercise in futility. No one is interested in meeting you, getting to know you, or interacting with you –they are only interested in getting to the end of the course (well, the 11% of MOOC students who ACTUALLY finish a course!) When you join edWeb, you can interact and network with thousands of educators who have the same interests as you do!
6. When you watch presentations on a MOOC, they are recordings of lectures that happened months ago. Webinars on edWeb.net are recorded also, but you have the option of joining LIVE webinars every month!
7. When you enroll in a MOOC, the only time you receive communication from them is when you get a grade for a quiz or assignment you completed. edWeb.net emails you to let you know about upcoming webinars in your communities of interest. You also receive an email digest each day listing all of the input given by members of your communities. edWeb.net even emails you when webinar recordings are available for viewing!
8. MOOCs are stand-along courses, but learning programs on edWeb.net are sponsored by companies and organizations that really care about educators and want to learn from educators what is needed to improve teaching and learning, so then educators participate on edWeb they are having a direct impact on the very transformation of education itself.
9. MOOCs haven’t won any awards as of yet, but edWeb.net was awarded the Edublog award “Best Free and Open Professional Development for Educators” in 2012. edWeb.net was a finalist for a 2013 CoDIE Award for “Best Professional Learning Solution for Education”. edWeb is ranked the #1 professional social network specifically for educators by the SIMBA Pre-K – 12 Professional Development Market Forecast 2012-2013, CoSN’s K – 12 Leadership Survey 2013, and the 2012 Survey of K – 12 Educators on Social Networking, Online Communities, and Web 2.0 Tools.
10. When an educator signs up for edWeb.net they become part of a network of colleagues who are motivated and interested in new ideas and ways that technology can improve education – they become part of the solution to improve teaching and learning for everyone!
Join on one of the edWeb.net professional learning programs to see for yourself why edWeb.net is better than a MOOC – it’s a mini-MOOC.
Shannon Holden has been a teacher and administrator in North Dakota, Texas, and Missouri for the past 22 years. He builds educational websites, apps for school districts, and online courses in his spare time – and hosts two communities on edWeb.net. You can reach Shannon at firstname.lastname@example.org.