MOOC: The Forums

October 12, 2013

Design : Umesh Modak

Design : Umesh Modak

For this post, I am going to post briefly about some of the forums and observations based on the discussions.  Remember, the course is being taken by people all over the world, so experience and language can vary widely.

Based upon our readings, videos, and lectures, these are the questions that I have followed most closely, some posted by the professor and others by students.  My opinions here are based upon browsing the posts of other students and my impressions of the prevailing opinions.

1. Would you pay for YouTube?

This seems to be fairly split between some feeling that YouTube does not offer enough valuable content for it to further monetize its content, and those who would pay for it like they do Netflix.  YouTube has some paid channels, which are very specialized, and many are geared to children’s programming.  Several people liked the idea of sporting events they cannot see otherwise where they live.  Several also said that they would pay to avoid advertising.  I personally would not pay at this time, but may pay on a per-view basis depending on the programs.

2. Do you trust online ratings….?

Many people do not trust online ratings, but it varied as to the type of commodity that was being rated.  As far as restaurant reviews, several people had the experience that reviews were often fake (see this article).  People were more likely to trust book reviews, particularly if they were more descriptive of the content.  Additionally, there were comments about the fact that some reviewers will give a bad rating based upon one small thing, but not looking at the experience as a whole. I found I trust these sites perhaps more than I should.

3. Will the print book disappear?

LOTS of discussion here. I would say it was split pretty much down the middle.  There were some VERY passionate defenders of the printed word, and lots of emotion.  Those who like the printed word talked mostly about the feel of the book, seeing it on the shelf, the smell (?), the familiarity.  A few spoke of how it is easier to read print for long periods than online for them. The faction that believe the print book will disappear soon love their digital reading devices and feel that the printed book may exist only as an artifact or for special collectors.  It was a very interesting discussion and it led me to believe that print will continue to exist at least for the next couple generations because that it what we are comfortable with.

4. When is the public better informed…?

This question was based upon a couple of videos we watched on both the 2012 Republican debates and a Google Hangout that Obama had before the 2012 election.  The heart of the question was whether the public is better informed with the ability of candidates to directly address a video question from the voting public.  Prevailing opinion on the forum was that this does bring the process closer to the voter; however, several people pointed out that these questions were still chosen and screened (and probably manipulated in some way.)  I feel that more dialogue is better, no matter the medium, so the public is probably better informed in some ways, but that (as with all information) you have to take it all in analysis with everything else.

5. Discussion about cheating on this course

Apparently someone copied and pasted a Wikipedia entry into the assignment box and a huge discussion of cheating ensued.  Of course, no one was condoning cheating, but several people (me included) felt that education on the topic may be warranted due to the cultural/language situation.  There was quite the vitriolic discussion, and actually sometimes I think a little tooself-righteousness going on, but it is  interesting to note how seriously people are taking this educational experience (me included.)

Stay tuned for more as we wrap up the last couple of weeks!  It has been intense!


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