Homeboy & homegirl, come out more!


homeboyZhai Nan (宅男)stands for homeboy,Zhai Nv (宅女)stands for homegirl. The term refers to people (usually younger generation) who like to stay at home being alone, rather than to social with people. I was asked last night if MOOCs will produce more homeboys and homegirls in China.

The answer for my case is No. Staying at home watching MOOC videos does not jeopardise my social skills. On the contrary, it opens the whole new world in front of me.

Of course, the last C of MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) stands for COURSES. However, there is an increasing trend to interpret it as a COMMUNITIES.

  • Coursera’s [An Introduction to Marketing] course offered by Wharton business school uses LinkedIn group to organise students interaction.
  • edX’s [The Ancient Greek Hero] course invites students to the project community site. It sets up ongoing Google hangouts among scholars, project members and alumni students.
  • FutureLearn uses its own social platform. It recently piloted a peer review function to further the peer interaction.
  • NovoEd’s edge is in small group projects, to gather students around the world to work on real world problems together.

All these platforms DID see learning as a community experience and are making this happen. Therefore the homeboys and homegirls will find people around the world who share their interests. Personally, I approached amazing people from my MOOC courses, and have later on ‘met’ them in the coffee shop, on Skype, on Google Hangout, on smartphone chat tools. Many of them I kept in touch.

I found amazing communities in the world of MOOCs, and I can’t wait to invite everyone to share this awesome experience.


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