Details are scant, but MIT is venturing more firmly into the world of online continuing education for professionals (including but not limited to their own alumni). They are beginning with a four-course (certificate?) systems engineering program in partnership with Boeing and NASA.
Given the pace of innovation, really, if you got a computer science degree 10 years ago, are you still prepared for the real world?
Sherry Turkle, professor of social studies of science and technology at MIT, argues against a technologically integrated classroom and cautions against the widespread use of digital technologies in the service of learning, asserting that these technologies lead to unimaginative (if efficient) multitasking. Turkle argues that “unitasking,” focusing on one topic at a time, allows for a deep engagement with curriculum content and peers, which is necessary to a quality education. In addition to degrading the in-class experience by constant checking of mobile devices, Turkle argues, outside of class students use tools like GChat and Google Docs to complete their assignments, avoiding in-person collaboration. Further, they miss the “serendipity” of spontaneous ideas that occur when people talk in person (but not digitally?).
“[A tool like GChat] doesn’t leave room for what I want my students to experience when they collaborate. I call it intellectual serendipity. It may happen when someone tells a story or a joke. Or when someone daydreams and comes back with an idea that goes in a new direction. None of this is necessarily efficient. But so many of our best ideas are born this way, in conversations that take a turn.”
This article addresses recent research of student behavior through an analysis of data from 1.9 million course participants in 115 MOOCs offered by HarvardX and MITx from fall 2012 to spring 2015. In a small number of cases, the researchers uncovered a unique from of cheating, that can be stopped by a few simple steps.
The researchers are ultimately hoping that course content creators will put some of the prevention strategies in place. “One of the most interesting lessons from the paper is that there are ways to mitigate cheating that are straightforward and implementable by the teams creating online course content,” Chuang said. “We also expect platform improvements, such as virtual proctoring, to help reduce cheating.”