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Massive Open Online Courses: Interview with Howard Rheingold

Howard Rheingold is a highly regarded thinker/theorist on the social impact of technology (see his book Smart Mobs). Recently, he’s been exploring on how social media influences learning – see Social Media Classroom project and he’s working on a new book on this topic (couldn’t find a link, though I’m sure it exists).

Howard contacted me for a short interview (that I stretched out to more than double the length intended by saying too many words all in a row) on my experiences with massive open online courses (MOOCs). Video below:


  1. monika hardy wrote:

    George and Howard – bravo. thank you for sharing your insight/findings.

    i see in fractals, i have a hard time not connecting things.
    what you are doing/discussing in higher ed appears to be very similar to what we are experimenting with in our local community (you could say – our district’s k-12 ed – but we envision it simply as life, within community)

    in experimenting this year, one of my biggest mistakes was thinking it could happen with virtual mentors – in k-12. our goal next year is one to one face to face mentors first.
    then to unleash the chaos coming from choice, with an interdependent status, facilitated through natural spaces – like you say George – brought by the learner
    ie: youtube, wikipedia, facebook, virtual realities to try on passions. realizing the need for this to be similar to massive multi-player games, virtual and/or real.

    Sunday, May 8, 2011 at 7:18 am | Permalink
  2. peps mccrea wrote:

    G – what you are engaged in is truly fascinating, although I wonder whether it will be a while before the significance of your endeavours are fully appreciated.

    Perhaps most interesting was H’s last Q: what next? One tack worth exploring might be how the learning experience of participants in your MOOCs can be ‘through’ some sort of positive community engagement/contribution. For example, running a 24hr open math workshop as an aggregator.

    For me, the most profound kind of learning is that which is rooted in the improvement of our social experiences.

    If you still need academics for your week-by-week fall MOOC let me know – I would love to have a crack at realising the ideas discussed here, and would frankly bite your arm off for a chance to be part of it!

    Saturday, May 14, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Permalink
  3. Rosa Ojeda wrote:

    Thanks, George, for sharing! One of my master students, Mayra Soto (the one who developed a Blog based on connectivism for your visit to Puerto Rico last year), just finished a pilot “mooc” for her thesis. I will keep you informed of results from this experience.

    Sunday, May 15, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Permalink