I'm playing with a new model to help both describe emerging technology pedagogy, but also to help teach mobile learning (as an emerging pedagogy). The model divides the emerging pedagogy into three categories:
(1) Replacement: Using the technology to replace what you are currently doing, without changing how you do it. For example, using eBooks on tablet computers to replace textbooks. Here you are teaching the same way you have always taught (with a textbook), but you are using the technology as a replacement tool. There is no new pedagogy in this, just new technology.
(2) Enhancement: Using innovations in the technology to enhance what you are currently doing or to enhance the learning tools you currently have. This represents a slight shift in pedagogy that takes advantage of some of the unique features of the technology. For example, using interactive eBooks – specifically textbooks that include embedded audio or video to increase learning.
(3) Transformation: Using the technology to teach in a novel way. This represents a new way of teaching that was not feasible prior to the technology.
Now, lets think about MOOCs within this context. A MOOC – or Massively Open Online Course – has been touted as this great new way to teach which will revolutionize higher education. All the hype about MOOCs began not at the emergence of a new pedagogy, but rather when the new technology was used as a simple Replacement for existing technology. If we look at the beginning of the MOOC hype, it all happened when Stanford University offered a "free" open online course Introduction to Artificial Intelligence, which enrollment quickly became truly massive (approximately 160,000 students). When you look at this MOOC – you don't see any change in pedagogy. The content is delivered through lectures and a textbook. Learners are given exercises or assignments. There is nothing new in the pedagogy, but rather, technology is used to replace the face-to-face lecture hall, and the hand-marking of assignments.
If we step back to the earlier MOOC – yes, indeed, MOOCs existed well before the Stanford AI MOOC – to the Connectivist-base MOOCs such as Connectivism and Connected Knowledge – CCK08 – led by George Siemens and Stephen Downes, what we see is actually Transformation. Teaching / learning occurs through new pedagogies, that were afforded by the technology.
If we look at technology adoption in educational settings, we see recommendations (Ertmer, 2005; Brown, Benson, and Uhde, 2004) that technology adoption programs begin by using the technology to support familiar activities before introducing changes that challenge teachers belief systems.
Taking these two concept together, we see that the hype about MOOCs occurred when a MOOC was offered as a Replacement. Well before the Replacement model, MOOCs were being used as a means to provide transformative pedagogy, and yet those MOOCs are still relatively unknown outside of those who specialize in this area of emerging educational technology.
In a typical adoption cycle among teachers, we would see teachers evolving from using a technology as replacement, to enhancement, and then finally to transformation. As such, I propose that the next phase of MOOC hype will occur when we start to see MOOCs used as ways to enhance pedagogy.