A Mooc is a network of people, texts, connections, information, etc. Every person in the MOOC is part of networks, with persons, texts, information, etc. The Mooc and the other networks are connected. We could argue if a MOOC is only one network or a complexity of networks. (network of information, network of people, network of texts, learning network, etc.)
These networks do process information, connect, are learning, etc.
Out of these networks “something” emerges, new information, learning, texts, and maybe even new persons, that never-ending story of mankind.;)
We cannot know the total outcome, what emerges out of the complexity of the MOOC and all adjacent connected networks all over the world. Here I do think of a rhizome, connecting the multitudes. (Deleuze)
What emerges out of the complexity of a MOOC could be learning, could be “creative” inventions or products.
Creative is a quality-word. We use words like ‘creative‘ when we do like something, when something surprises us, when we qualify the thing as new, or artistic or cool. Creative is a rather subjective, personal quality-word, because people often do not agree on which thing is creative and which is not. In the history of art ‘creativity’ was invented when craftsmen became artists. Creativity is part of the still very strong romantic myth of the Artist as a special kind of human. The Wikipedia article about ‘creativity’ is an illustration of the misty and fuzzy and different definitions of the word.
How could one possibly know all that emerges out of a MOOC? We could say change is what emerges, but that is tautology.
This is not the same question whether a MOOC was a success. Measuring success needs goals and expectations. If we expect a MOOC to have certain effects, and the effects come true, could we say our MOOC was a success?
Why would one want to know what could emerge from a MOOC?
When someone wants to learn a subject, agreement or a view on the content of the subject is needed. This we could call the curriculum. This curriculum is either formal or informal. For most subjects a kind of standard curriculum exists. These curricula do differ in different cultures and countries, as you will know when you research on school materials used around the world.
A student in a MOOC could make a curriculum or write down goals and expectations, or just start doing the MOOC and afterwards we could write down the curriculum, the subjects and choices, for this student.
As education is more than teaching a subject we need to know what is the best way to educate a child and guide it to maturity. When a person is teaching English irregular verbs the subject is more or less clear. The curriculum is more or less written down. But the way of teaching and the social and cultural influences on the child are complex. We could not predict what will emerge.
The emperor and the painting of a bird
Chinese emperor wanted a painting of a bird. He did ask a famous painter to paint the bird.
The painter went home.
After a week the emperor send a messenger to the painter to ask for the painting. This messenger came back and said: the painter is busy, he did paint a lot of birds, he send me back.
After a second week the emperor send a messenger to the painter to ask for the painting. This messenger came back and said: the painter is busy, he did paint a lot of birds, he send me back.
This lasted a year. Then the messenger come back with a painting. Beautiful. The messenger: I asked about the painting of the bird. The painter took paper and ink and he draw this painting.
The emperor was very angry and send for the painter. You only needed some minutes to draw this painting, why did you wait a year.
The painter: Lord, I did work a year on painting a bird, after a year a knew I would be able to paint a bird. Then your messenger came and I did paint it.