Anne-Marie Fiore has cultivated a career of over 20 years in educational and instructional technology. Anne-Marie has worked as an instructional technology facilitator, Cisco-certified instructor, network administrator, and professor of web technologies. Anne-Marie has worked in K12 academic and vocational settings, as well as higher education.
Named as one of the Top 100 Most Social K-12 Tech Leaders on Twitter 2015 by the Huffington Post, Anne-Marie Fiore was the recipient of the Extreme Network Award based on her educational commitment to implementing a personalized 21st century learning environment and embodying the best in American education. Four winners from North America were selected on how well they instituted a one-on-one or mobile learning environment, facilitated individual instruction, and encouraged curricular growth. Additionally, Anne-Marie was selected in the first cohort of the nationally vetted "Leadership in Blended and Digital Learning" program by MassCUE, which offers a job-embedded professional learning experience to prepare administrators to lead a digital and blended learning transition in their school and district.
Academicians are cognizant that theory driven by research directly related to practice is beneficial in any field of study. Theory provides an explanation of a problem portraying the distinguishing features of that problem, and providing data accordingly. In education, application of theory can inform practice and research to school and classroom circumstances considering societal, cultural, and ethical issues. This paper will explore theory to practice through the lens of connectivism and the issues of translating theory into practice.
Connectivism refers to a theory of learning that stresses the contribution of cultural and social context in the learning process. Connectivism is closely linked to activity theory proposed by Engeström (Dunaway, 2011). The association between knowledge, education, and experience is an important aspect of connectivism. In the digital era, connectivism refers to a learning theory that stresses technology and communication and their effects on a student’s education.
Compared with conventional courses that charge tuition, issue college credit, and have enrollments of 20 to 30 students, MOOCs are free and do not issue credits to participants (Pappano, 2012). Since anyone with an Internet connection can register, enrollments can be enormous, occasionally numbering into the thousands (Rodriguez, 2012). Due to the large number of students, faculty cannot respond to each student individually. Students work collaboratively in study groups organized into online forums. The primary instructional medium is the video lecture. Assignments, homework, tests, and final exams may also be included.
Rodriguez (2012) studied an artificial intelligence (AI) MOOC given at the University of Stanford that had an enrollment of 160,000 students. The MOOC was taught by Sebastian Thrun and Peter Norvig, two leading experts on AI (Rodriguez 2012). The MOOC was an experiment by the Stanford University computer science department to increase technology and innovation education worldwide. Norvig and Thrun issued a certificate of accomplishment to students who completed the course (Rodriguez, 2012). The Stanford University computer science department caused a controversy in higher education with their participation in a MOOC that drew an unexpectedly large number of students taught by two of the world’s leading experts on AI (Conole, 2013). Conole (2013) noted that the AI MOOC controversy caused higher education to investigate new methods of developing online courses that would not only make more effective use of technology but also would attract a more diverse student body due to technology. Jenkins (2009) cautioned that students participating in MOOCs needed to possess adequate technology and literacy skills to find and use information effectively as is often present in connectivist learning theory. Continue reading “What is a MOOC?”