Coursera Gamification MOOC vs GamesMOOC

Just wanted to put down a few initial thoughts on my experiences with the Coursera Gamification MOOC in comparison to the GamesMOOC that has been running for the last 6 weeks (and which resumes next week)

It’s pretty apples and oranges really – the Coursera offering, fronted by the perfectly personable Kevin Werbach (University of Pennsylvania) is highly polished and has attracted more than 70,000 participants. Ok, well 70,000 people have signed up for it – how many of these people will actively participate is another question. It is clearly from the big end of education town and has a quite conventional transmission based structure – a series of (informative and engaging) lectures, some multichoice quizzes and some written assignments that are to be assessed by crowdsourcing.

Given the massive size of the cohort, I struggle to see how it might be done any other way without descending into anarchy. Given Werbach’s background – Associate Professor of Legal Studies and Business Ethics – it’s understandable that the slanting of this course is more toward business applications of gamification though to this point, it has seemed to focus more on the concepts and what they mean (and why they are meaningful).

The sheer number of participants is kind of daunting, I got started a week after it began and there are already more than 100 pages of threads in the discussion board.  A quick glance over some of these posts has suggested that people are naturally trying to form into smaller, more digestible study groups to get around this.

The GamesMOOC addresses Game Based Learning, a smaller community of interest and this is perhaps its strength. It’s free to be a little more free flowing, with an overarching structure that seems to allow for diversions as they arise organically, driven by thoughts generated by the community. More of an unconference type vibe.

The Coursera MOOC seems a little easier to work with in some ways with a more unified and flowing structure but I have a feeling that the extra work and great sense of community (as well as the education focus) of the GamesMOOC will see it emerge as ultimately a little more valuable to me.

Then again, as I say, apples and oranges.

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