This sounds fabulous to me. I'm looking for a PhD by published works in Political Science or History. My specialty is Jpan and East Asia. It is difficult to find someone to supervise this and that is affordable. I've been looking in the UK. But it's not as easy as one might think. I've taken some MOOC coures at Harvard and University of Hong Kong. But there is no path to a PhD via MOOC but there should be. As you mention above access and affordabilty. This something whose time has come.
George Alexander, Philmont, New York USA
- George Alexander
an unauthenticated user of the Landing May 9, 2013 - 1:11pm
Thanks George - that's encouraging to know! Some of the obstacles are quite large but we can take it a bit at a time. I've started talking with people in the UK about this, where PhD-by-publication is well established, so that might be one of the places we can start the process.
Jon Dron May 9, 2013 - 1:25pm
Jon: Keep me posted on this. I have papers and books published but no [affordable] university yet. I'm facinated with the MOOCs. What a brilliant idea and use of technology. The UN (and others) has a University of the People that brings education to people who are in either remote locations or can't afford a post secondary education. This a wonderful thing. But no PhD programme (they spell it funny in the UK). If you think about it "Why not a MooPhD program?" The time is a hand. If I can help in any way please let me know.
- George Alexander
an unauthenticated user of the Landing May 9, 2013 - 1:59pm
This is a brilliant vision, yes there are a lot of logistics to work out, but it could work. Certainly the first group of early adapters / learners are going to be up to the roller coaster ride. I certainy would be! I think the key piece to ensuring success for the learner is that they have a mentor relationship set-up from the beginning to help navigate the process.
- Rob Straby
an unauthenticated user of the Landing June 6, 2013 - 8:08am
Hello Jon! I totally agree with you on the idea that MOOC's are unambitious, I also believe that they are not that disrusptive as many people think. I've based my masters' thesis on that thought, departing from Charles Vest's meta-university concept to create a Drupal based plataform for creating "meta-universities", degrees and programs, you may give it a read here: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/2245435/Metaversia%20%E2%80%93%20A%20MOOC%20Model%20for%20Higher%20EducationTiagoSantos.pdf. Let me know if you need any help.
- Tiago Santos
an unauthenticated user of the Landing June 9, 2013 - 4:35am
Please see the Wikiversity page on PhD
- leigh blackall
an unauthenticated user of the Landing June 15, 2013 - 5:10am
Thanks Leigh - the Wikiversity idea seems very interesting - it's at http://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Doctor_of_Philosophy for others seeking the information. There's a link there to P2PU's version too - https://p2pu.org/en/groups/onphd-candidacy/
Jon Dron June 19, 2013 - 7:55pm
It is, of course, possible that some part of a phD could be conducted in this way, using current MOOC methods. However, until the issues of identifiation and ethical research are ironed out or a watertight method of security and accountability is produced, as much as I'd like to have one and think it's an excellent concept, I find it hard to see the quality assurance in a MOOphD.
- Phil McDonald
an unauthenticated user of the Landing June 21, 2013 - 4:44am
I don't think these are really problems at all, because the actual certification would fall to the usual processes. By-publication PhDs include a (normally oral) defence as usual, and typically involve the writing of a 10-20K statement that binds previous work into a single thesis, so this is not a way to get around the normal process issues. If people used unethical processes or impersonated someone else, then they would simply not get a PhD. A MOOPhD process would have to be designed to help avoid problems of that nature.
Having said that, I've been thinking a bit about subverting that, using crowd-based methods of accreditation. I haven't quite figured out all the details yet, but this is where I'm heading with the idea: I'm thinking that a combination of reputation metrics (involving things like h-index, OpenBadges, endorsements via things like LinkedIn, Academia.edu, etc, as well as engagement in peer review, conference organization, etc - the same kind of things we normally take into account when hiring or promoting academics) and a peer-based assessment process, with a public defence via a conference and/or open presentation through webmeeting tools, might be sufficient. The central issue that I have not quite figured out yet is how to ensure that those assessing the work demonstrably have sufficient reputation and lack of bias. PhD certification methods are essentially concerned with people and organizations that already have reputations non-rivally conferring them on others, based on their unbiased evaluations of the value of the candidates' work. It's all one big reputation network, so there ought to be a way to skip the middle-man/woman.
Jon Dron June 21, 2013 - 9:56am
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