Category Archives: MOOC

MOOCs

MOOCs – 9 points on what I like, and what I don’t

Over two years ago I wrote about a few experiences I’d had with some online courses / MOOCs, and why I ‘failed’ (according to the general headline figures of engagement, attendance, etc. that are used in mainstream press).

I want to revisit this, in light of more experience in both designing MOOCs and being a student on them.

Disclaimer: This is based on courses I’ve taken on the FutureLearn, Coursera, Cloudworks, EdX, and WordPress (OcTEL) platforms. I also highlight whether is was a student on the course, or part of the development team.

1. Comments and Engagement: For the most part I’ve been a silent students. This is both deliberate and accidental. Where it’s been a deliberate choice to not engage in the comments and discussion it’s been because I knew I didn’t have the time or inclination to trawl through the hundreds of fairly uninteresting posts to add my two-pennies worth or find the one nugget of insight that is worth anything. It’s also because, for some courses, I didn’t have enough interest to take my engagement further.

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Badges - New Currency for Professional Credentials

Learning Providers (wk.4) #OpenBadgesMOOC

Badges - New Currency for Professional CredentialsHere we are at week four and challenge four. At the moment of writing I’ve earned three out of four badges that have been issued, with my response for the third challenge updated to take into account the feedback and comments about the lack of details I made about the competency framework and individual student ‘persona’.

You can read all my posts from this MOOC on the OpenBadgesMOOC tag, when I’ve written them!

Week 4 – Learning Providers
I can see the benefit of looking at badges for the soon-to-leave-education school leavers, and those already in work either actively looking for a new role or to up-skill themselves. But please don’t ignore higher education and both staff and students in it. Undergraduate degrees (and postgraduate degrees too) have as much to do with life skills as the specific subject of the degree award, and badges are a new and clear way to showcase these skills if, as I’ve said before, the criteria is selected and applied carefully and considerately.  Continue reading

Badges - New Currency for Professional Credentials

Employers (wk.3) #OpenBadgesMOOC

Badges - New Currency for Professional CredentialsHere we are, week three and challenge three. You can read all my posts from this MOOC on the OpenBadgesMOOC tag (when I’ve written them)!

Week 3 – Employers
The natural ‘end point for badges in any education setting is for those who have earned the badge to show them off for personal gain. This personal gain obviously will point to their employment prospects, at some time or another, and therefore employers will need to know what they are looking at, and why.

During the online session there was mention that “employers are in the early phase of early adopter stage for badges” (@sharonlflynn) but I have not seen evidence of this, and what type of employer (large, small, graduate employer, etc.)? Certainly Open Badges can only gain mainstream adoption in learning environments (MOOCs, degrees, adult education, social learning, etc.) if the employers recognise and value the output and badge criteria.  Continue reading

Anatomy of an Open Badge

Fundamentals (wk.2) #OpenBadgesMOOC

Badges - New Currency for Professional CredentialsHere we are, week two and challenge two. While we don’t have to keep to any timetable on the challenges, I decided I will – it’ll be a neater blogging experience this way.

MOOC: Badges – New currency for Professional credentials

You can read all my posts from this MOOC on the OpenBadgesMOOC tag, when I’ve written them!

Week 2 – Fundamentals
The context and concept for badges is being discussed and documented by those at Mozilla – Open Badges for Lifelong Learning – and those who, like me, see them as a tangible benefit for showing skills that are not assessed.

The paper by Antin and Churchill (2011) explores the gamification of social activity, through the rise and popularity of system like FourSquare, and more recently, although not covered in the paper, Get Glue (film & TV) and Lemon Tree (library game). This interaction with content and achievement has “popularized badges as a way of engaging and motivating users”, so why not as part of their learning? Why not indeed? Continue reading

Badges - New Currency for Professional Credentials

Openness (wk.1) #OpenBadgesMOOC

Badges - New Currency for Professional CredentialsWith the best will in the world I’ll be taking part in the Mozilla / BlackBoard MOOC called “New Currency for Professional Credentials”.

MOOC: Badges – New currency for Professional credentials

You can read all my posts from this MOOC on the OpenBadgesMOOC tag, when I’ve written them!

Why this MOOC?
Why is this MOOC interesting to me? I have posted about Open Badges a number of times, and how I feel the ability to demonstrate skills and knowledge obtained during a formal course of study (University) are not always easy to spot, and certainly not easy to show through the normal / formal certification received. If students can earn badges for skills, group work, ability, etc. rather than an overall ‘grade’ which is considers pass / fail then this is of use to prospective employers? Aren’t we always hearing how students are not being prepared for the modern workplace? With a Mozilla BackPack full of badges (here’s my Backpack: Mozilla Open Badges) the student able to show and demonstrate these skills will have an edge. Yes?

Now that the CourseSite has opened up the meatier sections we can see what the next six weeks is about. We’ll be looking at Openness, Badge Fundamentals, Employers and Learners, Providers, and Opportunities. There are a number of groups for us to join, no doubt to help us focus on the area(s) of most interest or importance to our own badge requirements (personal or professional). I joined the following groups:

  • Badges for Higher Education Instructor/Faculty Professional Development
  • Badges for MOOCs
  • Badges in Traditional Higher Ed Courses

Week 1 – “Openness” 
Week one is about ‘openness’ and the disparity between job descriptions and alignment of knowledge that formal courses have to the job specifications. This fresh approach (badges) could be viewed as a new ‘currency’ exchange “between job seekers, learning providers, and employers”. Continue reading

Badges - New Currency for Professional Credentials

Another MOOC – this time #OpenBadges and Professional Credentials

Badges - New Currency for Professional CredentialsAs if my MOOC failure rate isn’t bad enough, I’ve signed up for another MOOC in the vain hope that I’ll complete it (only 1 completion out of 6 so far). This one is run through the Blackboard CourseSites environment and is run available for self-enrollment now for a September 2013 start.

The MOOC aims to expand flexible learning opportunities and authentic evidence-based assessment with the use of the Mozilla Open Badge system for “accreditation and employer recognition”. The participating organisations plan to use the MOOC to

“… convene and moderate an international discussion on the role of badges as a new currency of exchange for high value, post-secondary credentials for the new workforce … [and] will explore the ecosystem for a new credential economy based on badges and surface aspects of what would be required to adopt such an approach.”

YouTube: Badges for Lifelong Learning: An Open Conversation

Starting on September 9th this will run for 6 weeks, so hopefully I’ve done what I need to before I start on my Masters degree with Grainne Conole at the University of Leicester. I do however see one very large downside to this MOOC – there are regular synchronous online sessions planned each week and, being on the other side of the Atlantic, means they will running at an awkward time for those in the UK or Europe.

MOOCs and Mobile Access

This is an excellent post  from Inge Ignatia de Waard on the impact of mobile access on learner interactions in a MOOC as part of her progress towards a PhD. I’ve added her slide deck below for you as this has some excellent findings and figures.

I am also (still) reading Inge’s book ‘MOOC Yourself‘ and hope to have a report/review of it posted up soon, but the short bio can be read here.

“Open Course in Technology Enhanced Learning” #ocTEL

Week 1: TEL Concepts and Approaches #ocTEL

  • Firstly … yes, I know the ‘error’ in the title! This one is called ‘Week 1 …’, and so was the last one: “Week 1: Induction #ocTEL”. I made a mistake, last week. While last week was technically the first week of the MOOC it was not assigned a numerical identity as it was the orientation / induction week. That’s why, if you’re reading this MOOC series back there are two ‘week 1′ posts!

I want to continue the style I started in my previous post by highlighting each activity as the ocTEL website/email introduces us to it …

… and I start with an confesison. I think I’m all read out. I’ve been reading so much recently, and with Inge Ignatia de Waard’s ‘MOOC Yourself’ (2013) book just added to the list, I’ve had enough. So this week I’ve taken some time ‘off’ and just done the bare minimum.

Activity 1.0: “If you only do one thing … “
Deciding on two of these resources to concentrate on was easy. Do I review Helen Keegan’s PELeCON keynote that I loved at last year’s pelc12 event because (a) I was in the audience during the recording and remember the gasps from the audience as we realised how risky and brave she’d been throughout the project, and (b) enjoyed the whole ARG-thing. Do I look into the ‘technology of touch‘ and the work of haptic technology that enables learning in a safe tactile environment? I want to stay away from something I’m familiar with (so that drops Sugata Mitra off the list, I’ve blogged about this work too), so that leave Eric Mazur and Stephen Downes / George Siemens references.

Eric Mazur, talking about peer instruction (three minutes from where the below video starts) is not familiar to me. Eric talks of the ‘ah ha’ moment that happens outside the classroom, and which is the hard part of ‘learning’ – is it the “information transfer” or the “assimilation of knowledge”? Continue reading

the grabbing hands

Week 1: Induction #ocTEL

So, we’re here! The ‘Open Course in Technology Enhanced Learning’ started this week and we’re in for a fun and busy 10 weeks of MOOCing, hopefully.

  • Registration is still open so, if you’re not one of the 900+ soles already involved and engaged, why not pop along to octel.alt.ac.uk and join in?

What can we expect, now we have more details than were previously available? Weekly emails, weekly webinars (including archived recording as well), and an email providing an overview to the week ahead. This is exactly the kind of student engagement and signposting I’ve been highlighting and pushing through my work and writing before. It is nice to see that I am in tune with ALT and those who are creating/running this MOOC! Thank you.

“ocTEL aims to accommodate your communication preferences as far as possible, so wherever you feel most comfortable writing – as long as it is not behind a password login – we will do our best to collect it up and add it to the general mix.”

Well, the first extended week is set aside for an induction to this MOOC, MOOCs in general, and the platform itself – Continue reading

Futurelearn

FutureLearn: Can they do it?

FuturelearnIf you’ve been away (for a long long time) you may not have heard about Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). If you’ve been away for only a short time you’ll know of these things, but you may not have heard of Futurelearn.

In short, Futurelearn is the first UK-led “multi-institutional platform for free, open, online courses” whose aim is to “increase access to higher education for students in the UK and around the world by offering a diverse range of high quality courses through a single website.”

All good stuff so far. With the experience and weight of The Open University behind it, and partners including the British Library, the British Council and other leading UK Universities (Leicester, Bath, Warwick, Cardiff, etc.) it poses a significant investment of time and energy to ‘do it right’. Futurelearn

“believe there is great potential to change the way people access high quality higher education. With our partners, we are seizing the opportunity to create amazing new learning experiences, twinned with a clear pathway to qualifications for those that want them.”

In this article on the Times Higher Education website today – “Futurelearn’s boss on breaking into MOOCs” –  Simon Nelson (Futurelearn CEO) claims the course platform “has the potential to become a social networking site for the student community as popular as Facebook”.

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