MOOC, is it about education, or … ?

the word MOOC is running around my ears for the past week or so. so what does MOOC really offer? din have time to dwell too much into it, so let me just capture some thoughts based on quotes from a WSJ article “The Opportunities—and Risks—in the MOOC Business Model“. some quotes that caught my eyes:

“… the uncertainty that surrounds the nature of MOOCs as viable businesses.”

– should any institution embark on MOOC if it’s not to earn money from it? becos …

“High-quality ones are expensive to produce but well suited to efficiently broadcasting knowledge to large, distributed crowds.”

– knowledge is described as distributable entity. how much of a teacher’s knowledge belongs to static ‘distributable’ stuff? is knowledge broadcastable to begin with?

“… Why should a student listen to her local professor profess, if the same topic is available online from a more compelling instructor halfway across the globe?”

– lecturer’s ‘pull factor’ is extremely important.

“There still is too wide a gap between the idealistic promise of MOOCs as a means to democratize education and the ideological practice of using MOOCs as means to cut costs in already underfunded public universities”

– the ideal vs. implementation gap, as ever. looks like cost-cutting rules the day.

“They reduce the potential for teacher-student interaction, lessening the ability of the professor to provide individualized instructional support.”

– MOOC doesnt stamp from a social constructivist view of learning anyway. not it’s current form at least.

“Those best educators work at institutions that might benefit from their courses being sold online, as the competition crowds out all but the stars.”

– institutions sell and benefit from MOOC

“MOOCs have the potential to bring higher education and generate revenue from millions of students who don’t have access to today”

– again, it’s abt money-making for the institution

“MOOCs are globally accessible, so a weak MOOC can have adverse reputational consequences for its creating institution.”

– an institution’s reputation hangs in there. $$$ hangs in there too i supposed?

and one key reminder for myself, MOOC is a Higher Education entity. if our day-to-day affair concerns Teachers’ PD, how much does MOOC belong? these are entirely two different contexts with different needs; an attempt to plug-n-play like plugging in USB devices is dangerous.

kindle paperwhite chinese english dictionaries

kindle paperwhite has many built-in dictionaries. for a learner of both English and Chinese language, you may want to make full use of this feature. if you have a kindle running in English (US) as your default language like me, your should have no difficulty locating the “Modern Chinese-English Dictionary”. This dictionary is hardly enough for a keen learner, for e.g. it doesn’t even have the pronunciation (hanyu pinyin) of the words!

Sometime having access to a full Chinese-Chinese dictionary is useful. To get this, you will need to do a ‘workaround’. The option for 现代汉语词典 (Xian Dai Han Yu Ci Dian) appears in my case after I:

1. set the language of my kindle to 简体中文
2. reboot into 简体中文 interface (with internet connection enabled)
3. go to ‘default dictionary for each language and you should now see 现代汉语词典 under the Chinese section.
4. select 现代汉语词典 as default dictionary
5. set the language of my kindle back to English (US)
6. reboot back to English (US) interface

and you should now have access to BOTH 现代汉语词典 and Modern Chinese-English Dictionary (:

a photo of my kindle with English interface with 现代汉语词典 activated:
140726-kindle chinese dictionary

[update 27/7]
i may have found a FASTER and easier way to install the dictionaries.
1. logon to your amazon account
2. go to “Manage your content and devices”
3. click on Show –> Dictionaries and User Guides
4. select the dictionary you want, and “Deliver” it to your kindle
5. enjoy (: