If 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”.
After spending considerable time and effort on MOOCs in the past the Coursera / University of Edinburgh eLearning and Digital Culture MOOC (#edcmooc) was the first have been able to complete.
How I did this was quite simple … I knew I’d fade out after a week or so so I set a goal of one blog entry per week’s activity, including a pre-MOOC post and post-MOOC ‘submission feedback’ post. Now I had set myself this public goal I needed to follow and live up to it. It worked. This may not be to everyone’s taste or motivational style, but after 3 other failed MOOCs I wanted to finish one, just one.
- MOOCs were also presented at the 2013 Blackboard Users Conference (#durbbu) by Jeremy Knox: MOOC Pedagogy
Which now brings me to the nature of the different MOOCs available. By now just about everyone knows what a MOOC is – if not there are plenty of excellent resources to help you on your favourite search engine. With more and more MOOCs available, and the organisations offering them increasing all the time, just what types of MOOCs are they, and what do they mean for the student?
Day two of the Durham Blackboard started with an extremely useful insight into the roadmap Blackboard is taking with their product(s), as well as Blackboard’s own opinion on the conference theme: “Make Do or Spend?”. However, the Conference’s second keynote is from Jeremy Knox from the University of Edinburgh and was on “MOOC pedagogy: the challenges of developing for Coursera”.
What challenges, dilemmas, and opportunities do MOOCs offer:
- cMOOC (connectivist) and xMOOC (Udacity / Coursera / edX – Institutional led): what is the value to the distinction between each?
- MOOC tutoring & support is ‘light touch’ approach with low study hours per week, with certificates for completion and not credit.
- Udacity is more corporate association developing MOOCs (for-profit, independent of institutions). Continue reading