Tuesday, December 11, 2012

M & M s

Definitely Not A Hot Topic

Two puzzling phenomenon have been running around in my head for some time and I'm wondering if there is a connection between the them. If there isn't, let's make one.

I spend a lot of time working with researchers in the computer science education community, and I have at least one of my limbs firmly planted in computing education policy circles. There is, I suspect, no computing educator or affiliate who is not familiar with "the MOOC question". One of computing education's favorite topics of conversation for several years has been the Massive Open Online Course. Things are only heating up. Who is involved in their creation and propagation, who is not? Where is the quality and where is it lacking? What is the potential and what is the threat? How do we respond?

There are probably those who would rather sit this one out. In response to that and other burning MOOC issues, in my next column for the ACM Inroads Magazine, due to appear in March, I go on for about 1000 words about the importance of engaging  creatively with MOOCS. I don't hear too many people vocally advocating for ignoring MOOCS. That would be inherently contradictory.

The point is: in computing education circles, the hottest topic of the day is, arguably, MOOCS.

Not so in the private tech sector. I also spend a lot of time with people in the private sector and many of them barely know about MOOCS. Or they simply don't feel it is of concern to them. Having done a bit of asking around, I hear, and am told by well-placed friends as well, that the private tech sector isn't all that engaged with the MOOC question. There are a whole host of reasons why they should be engaged with it. Maybe I'll write a column about that...

On the other hand, one of the hottest topics in high-tech is Mobile. Mobile is not The Future. Mobile has Arrived, as one of my UX (User Experience) colleagues reminded me recently. The markets are hot, hot, hot in all sorts of places related to hardware, software, services based upon Mobile. If you aren't into Mobile you are behind the innovation curve. Those industry colleagues I know who aren't working with Mobile in some respect say, either aloud or quietly, they wish they were. Or, at the very least, think they should be. Whether for personal interest, professional mobility (ouch), or simply for not being perceived as behind the times.

As with the MOOC issue and computing educators, it is an endangered species of high-tech employee that will advocate for ignoring Mobile.

On yet another hand, computing educators and in particular computing education researchers don't seem to be doing much with Mobile. The primary discussions about Mobile are about how to get students to unglue from their devices and pay attention to their education.

Which brings me to the burning desire to ask:

What are the possibilities for getting the greater high-tech industry more actively engaged with MOOCS in creative positive ways? 

What are the possibilities for getting the computing education / research community more actively engaged with Mobile in pedagogically creative ways?

Mobile MOOCS? 
Not a far fetched thought at all. 
What else?

1 comment:

  1. I look forward to your Inroads article, Lisa. These are both issues here too.