MOOCs in Psychology in the Pacific - Block 2, Activity 12

Actually I have been thinking a lot about this mainly because where I live (it’s in the middle of paradise, but holidaying here is different from working and living here), where the need for psychology has been poorly implemented (in my opinion, but also that of others that were tasked to audit the courses) by the one university that I used to work for, and is totally ignored by the other two universities in this country, and I am unaware of any programmes in any of the other tertiary institutions.

I want to say upfront that I think there’s a difference is MOOCs standing for ‘massively open online courses’ vs. ‘programmes’. I think most authors refer to it in the latter (a complete integrated suite or courses) but I think of MOOCs as standing for individual courses. In a sense another name for OER.

Psychology as a discipline is woefully needed, but perhaps not in the way that the original people that wanted to bring in psychology to the region, mainly as a service course to other undergraduate programmes, particularly for education.

There is a bizarre state of affairs then where in most reasonably sized western universities, psychology first year programmes are monstrously oversubscribed and in the modern money spinning world of tertiary education as a business, is a money earner. Partly because many disciplines see the value in students taking at least introductory courses in psychology, but also because most people think that the study of (the behaviour) of people, is inherently interesting. Yet the single institution that does offer the programme seems to, in my opinion, flop in delivering a timely and contextually relevant programme.

MOOCs offer a different pathway for individuals to get a psychology education WITHOUT large institutional organisational set up costs and infrastructure.

For the most part, the first two years of a psychology programme are pretty standardised. You need to learn about experimantal methodology, and the 5-12 (depends how you count them) domains of psychology. It’s really in the final year or two years of a four year programme where specialisation and more one on one instruction is required. 

Absolutely MOOCs can be used and adapted to provide basic instruction for the main first two years of study. The courses can be taken en bloc for whole ‘years’ of instruction so in that sense more like a year programme rather than an individual course. Tutorials and assessments can then be made and tailored in country/region from these resource materials. Final years of study can provide the necessary hand-holding and more intense seminar/tutorial based instruction. 

The question is then who would accredit or recognise such an educational programme?

Another thought just occurred to me: what is ‘Plan B’ if suddenly the MOOCs I’m relying on, simply close shop?

Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.  -Will Durant