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The teacher bandwidth problem: MOOCs, connectivism and collaborative knowledge

Kotzee, Ben and Palermos, S. Orestis ORCID: 2021. The teacher bandwidth problem: MOOCs, connectivism and collaborative knowledge. Educational Theory 71 (4) , pp. 497-518. 10.1111/edth.12495

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Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have, in recent years, become increasingly popular. An important challenge facing MOOCs is the ‘teacher bandwidth problem’: In the MOOC environment, where there are potentially hundreds of thousands of students, it is impossible for a few teachers to interact with individual students—there is not enough ‘teacher bandwidth’. According to Siemens and Downes’s theory of ‘connectivism’ (Siemens, 2004) one can make up for the lack of teacher bandwidth by relying on collaboration between students; philosophically speaking, however, this theory is underdeveloped. In this paper, we consider the question of learner collaboration in online courses, and the theory of connectivism, from the perspective of social epistemology. We note the similarities between Siemens and Downes’s theory and virtue reliabilist theories of epistemic collaboration more broadly. Our paper has two main aims. First, we offer an illustration of how it is possible to conceptualise learner collaboration in online settings as analogous to collaboration between scientists. Second, we attempt to expand on and clarify what Siemens and Downes had in mind when they proposed the theory of connectivism.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
L Education > L Education (General)
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 0013-2004
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 4 August 2020
Date of Acceptance: 6 June 2020
Last Modified: 04 Mar 2023 21:58

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