Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘EdDevMOOC’ Category

Tomorrow my colleague from Oxford Brookes University, George Roberts, will be presenting a workshop at the OER13 conference – in Nottingham, UK. He will be joined on Skype, by Marion Waite.

OER13

This paper/workshop is one of the outcomes of the FSLT12 MOOC , which we worked on last year and will run again this year from 8th May to the 14th June. We have also worked on three further papers as an outcome of FSLT12.

  • Waite, M., Mackness, J., Roberts, G., & Lovegrove, E. (under review 2013). Liminal participants & skilled orienteers: A case study of learner participation in a MOOC for new lecturers. JOLT
  • Mackness, J., Waite, M., Roberts, G. & Lovegrove, E. (to be submitted 2013). Learning in a Small, Task-Oriented, Connectivist MOOC: Implications for Higher Education.  eLearning Papers
  • Lovegrove et al. (in progress) Moving online, becoming ‘massive’: turning the face-to-face ‘First Steps in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education’ into a MOOC. BeJLT

The OER13 workshop will follow a similar format to the presentation that George made to the ELESIG community  earlier this month, but will explore MOOC meanings more deeply from, threshold concept, community of practice and third space theory perspectives.

Having looked through the OER13 website, I can’t see that any presentations are being live streamed, but hopefully recordings will be uploaded, and there is a Twitter channel – #oer13

Read Full Post »

This was a question that came out of our FSLT12 Research Review meeting today. We were discussing what we have found out about the ways in which people participated and learned in the FSLT12 MOOC  –  and the extent to which this was constrained by the structure and curriculum we designed into the MOOC.

These questions have been timely for me. I have been pondering for quite a few days now about the approach taken by George Siemens and Rory MGreal to their Openness in Education MOOC, which I signed up for.

I was completely baffled at the start of the MOOC on September 10th when there was nothing on the site. Apparently this was down to technical failure, but I’m wondering how many other people were contacting ‘friends’ to find out what was going on. To what extent is communication a part of structure and curriculum? But even now that the MOOC has got going and has been explained as follows …..

This course is based on a connectivist model of learning that Stephen Downes and I have been developing since 2008. We will provide some readings each week, but the course is really driven by learner contributions and resources. Which means that if no one blogs, the course gets pretty boring :). Once you’ve submitted your blog, please include the course tag (oped12) in your posts and they will be aggregated into a daily newsletter. Please be patient as it typically takes a day or two to get ramped up with the course.

We don’t have a central discussion forum set up…learning happens in many places, sites, and tools. More on that here: http://open.mooc.ca/how.htm If you feel a place of interaction needs to be created, please create it and share with others using the course tag.

…. it’s quite difficult to find the content and it seems that there are not going to be any synchronous sessions, where people could gather/connect if they so wished.

David Wiley has made similar comments in a blog post, but brainysmurf  has responded in the comments on his blog

It’s really up to us as participants to decide what to do with the facilitators’ content (if anything), to develop our own live sessions if we want to and to share our resources as we see fit. That shift in power/control/effort is going to rattle more than a few people, I bet!

Am I rattled? Well, not rattled, but certainly questioning whether this extremely ‘hands off’ approach is in the best interest of learners.

Which comes back to the question of just how much structure and support should MOOC conveners provide. I know there are no right or wrong answers; and to come back to the initial question, I’m not sure how much or in what ways a structure/curriculum constrains learning, but then I’m also not sure how much a lack of structure/curriculum constrains learning.

Is structure counter to cMOOC philosophy? I don’t think so. I don’t see that the principles of connectivism – autonomy, diversity, openness and interaction across distributed platforms, or the key activities of cMOOCs – aggregate, remix, repurpose, feedforward, necessarily militate against structure or a curriculum.

Read Full Post »

People who participated in the FSLT12 MOOC this summer and who continue to very generously give their time to support the research the FSLT12 team are currently working on,  might be interested in our contribution to this year’s ALT-C conference in Manchester, UK.

Submission of a research paper for the conference came too early for us – we had not run the MOOC – but we were invited to do a short PechaKucha presentation.

If you have not heard of these presentations before, then this site answers 20 frequently asked questions

For ALT-C  the format was slightly altered in that only 9 slides were allowed in 7 minutes, with 3 minutes for questions, as follows:

Short Presentations (PechaKuchas) (10 mins – 7 for presentation and 3 for discussion)

This format was successful at our 2011 conference. A presentation consists of up to nine images in a “PechaKucha” (PK) style format. Each presenter will have a 7 minute slot with images automatically moving on at the end of a fixed 45 second time. Three questions only will then be allowed. Discussions can of course carry on after the presentation and there will be opportunities to have further dialogue both online and face to face at the conference.

Ultimately it fell to George to deliver the presentation – none of the rest of us could attend the conference. I wish I could have been there to see this. I have never seen a PechaKucha presentation. I can’t imagine it’s easy to deliver and I wonder how much the audience gets out of it, apart from entertainment.

Here is the presentation made by George.

Conference delegates were asked to vote for the best PechaKucha presentation. Lindsay Jordan was one of the winners

 

Lindsay was an FSLT12 participant and has contributed to our research, so it was great news to hear she was a PechaKucha presentation winner. Congratulations Lindsay 🙂

Read Full Post »

The title of this post is taken from David Wiley’s blog post that he made earlier this year. And this week on Twitter Apostolos Koutropoulos commented that there is currently a lot of comment on MOOCs, but much less research.

David Wiley mentions that his PhD student is researching MOOCs and I know that Eleni Boursinou of the Caledonian Academy in Glasgow – is researching the FSLT12 MOOC, so I suspect there are many more PhD students who are investigating MOOCs.

I think it’s probably true that there is more comment on MOOCs than published research, but the body of research is slowly growing. Here are a couple of links which point to research and there are more:

A Wikipedia site

Rita Kop and colleagues’s publications

Recently I worked with George Roberts, Marion Waite and Liz Lovegrove (from Oxford Brookes University), Joe Rosa (Cambridge University) and Sylvia Currie, BC Campus Canada (see Tutor Team), to develop and run the FSLT12 MOOC earlier this year. A funding  requirement of this MOOC is to follow it up with research.

Yesterday we had a full day review/research meeting in Oxford, on an exceptionally hot day, which made Oxford’s yellow sandstone buildings look spectacular, but made concentration a bit difficult …… but we had a very enjoyable and ultimately productive day, fuelled by edible treats and celebrated at the end of the day with a bottle of Prosecco! Thanks George and Marion 🙂

We have decided on four research papers, which we hope will reach different audiences.

  1. What evidence is there for the ways people learn in MOOCs (I will lead on this one). Audience – Studies in Higher Education or BERJ
  2. How do you design and plan a MOOC? (George will lead on this one). Audience – JIME or JCAL?
  3. Differential participation and designing for differentiation (Marion will lead this one). Audience – IRRODL
  4. The First Steps curriculum – a case study (Liz will lead this one). Audience – BeJLT and Press release for ALT, HEA, SEDA, JISC ?

We are keen to get this research out as quickly as possible. This will be a challenge for me. I am naturally a ‘slow’ researcher, but I acknowledge that there is a balance to be achieved between reflective, well thought through research and ‘missing the boat’ in relation to the fast moving conversation and developments around MOOCs.

As I have experienced before, it is difficult to know how open to be about ongoing research, i.e. in what sense might openness in the research process compromise the research. I would like to keep posting about our progress and hopefully this won’t compromise the research. In particular I would welcome any thoughts about any of the questions we have and particularly welcome any references to others who have researched and published in similar areas.

Before finishing this post I am going to do a plug here for staying in Exeter College if you ever go to Oxford.

Exeter College, Oxford

My room was a bit noisy so be sure to ask for a room in a quiet area – or even next to the chapel where you might be treated to a Baroque Music Concert; you might even end up in the Chapel at 4.00 am because of a false fire alarm, as I did

The Chapel, Exeter College, Oxford

The Chapel, Exeter College, Oxford

but when you walk into breakfast in this setting, everything is forgiven.

Breakfast in Exeter College Dining Hall, Oxford

Breakfast in Exeter College Dining Hall, Oxford University

Oxford really is an amazing place.

I hope we will be able to show that MOOCs are not immune to rigorous investigation and add to the increasing body of respected research.

Read Full Post »

Last week I was at the HEA/SEDA day conference in Birmingham, UK

HEA/SEDA Conference on OER and Staff Development: Open Horizons: Sharing the future

I was there with my colleagues George Roberts, Marion Waite and Liz Lovegrove  because we had a slot in which we shared the work we have done on the FSLT12 MOOC. George has posted his slides to Slideshare.

What is Necessary and what is Contingent in Design for Massive Open Online Courses?

 

You will see that there are a lot of slides (48), but in fact we only got to slide 27 because there was so much interest in the MOOC and so many questions – and of course, so little time for discussion.

However, there was one very interesting, topical and pertinent question, which was,

What was the business model for the FSLT12 MOOC?

And it seems that this question is currently being considered by others on and off the net – see for example the article in The Chronicle of Higher Education

Inside the Coursera Contract: How an Upstart Company Might Profit From Free Courses

It seems that many institutions think about business models in terms of how much money they can make from MOOCs and certainly Oxford Brookes is thinking of accrediting the MOOC and charging for assessment next year.

But I wonder whether it would be better to think of the benefits and strategic advantages of offering MOOCs in non-direct monetary terms.

I was very interested at the conference in the session presented by Melissa Highton on OERs and Staff Development at University of Oxford. In her presentation she talked about the development of OERs – iTunesU – at the University, what this had involved, how lecturers had been encouraged to share their work and the benefits to Oxford University.

Through their iTunesU open lectures (videos and podcasts) Oxford University now has strong links with their alumni and prospective students. iTunesU thus helps the University to meet many of its institutional goals. The iTunesU site effectively markets and broadcasts the high quality teaching practice at the University and provides access to the expertise of Oxford University lecturers and the latest research.  The University has a quick turn around time for creating and uploading videos of lectures and podcast. For example they were able to upload a response to the Higgs boson discovery within 24 hours.

ITunesU also puts Oxford lecturers and researchers in the limelight. A video of a good lecture can get up to 100,000 hits a week and a lecturer can become widely known for his/her work in a matter of years or less, rather than it taking anything up to a lifetime as in the past. This has also had the effect of raising the status of teaching/lecturing in comparison to research.

The situation at Oxford University (and Cambridge) is different to some other institutions – because at Oxford the lecturers own their teaching materials and work, unlike at other Universities where anything produced by a lecturer as part of their work belongs to the institution. So through iTunesU and providing OERs in the name of the academic staff, the University is able to openly market the expertise of its staff. The reward for staff who do this is a high quality resource in their name which is open to the whole world. Both the institution and the lecturers benefit.

Clearly Oxford University must have the money to be able to produce these high quality OERs so quickly, but these resources are open access, clearly licensed through Creative Commons and free.

Whilst iTunesU is not a MOOC, the non-monetary benefits, or non-direct monetary benefits (since attracting increasing numbers of students from across the world will ultimately bring monetary benefits), are probably those that can be gained from running a MOOC.

Perhaps Universities who wish to run MOOCs need to take a fresh look at what they mean by ‘business model’.

Read Full Post »

As others have noted – most recently Bon Stewart in her Inside Higher Ed article  – everyone seems to be jumping on the MOOC bandwagon at an alarming rate.

This week the JISC (Joint Information Systems Committee, UK ) has jumped on it with a webinar entitled

What is a MOOC – JISC Webinar 11-07-12

Four speakers were invited. Here is the programme and here is the recording
12.00 Definitions of MOOCs (Martin Weller)
12.10 Tutor perspective (Jonathan Worth)
12.20 Learner perspective (Lou McGill)
12.30 MOOCs and online learning (David White)
12.40 Q&A

Martin Weller presented a useful overview of the history of MOOCs and some thoughtful ideas about the benefits of MOOCs and the associated concerns in relation to Higher Education.

Jonathan Worth told us about his ‘open’ photography course in which he uses Twitter with his students to reach a wider network of experts. I was not sure that this is a MOOC in my terms, although it was clearly an ‘open’ course. It got me thinking about whether using different technologies necessarily means that the course is distributed across different platforms, which according to Stephen Downes is a necessary condition for a MOOC (at least a connectivist MOOC).

Lou McGill is a staunch advocate of the DS106 MOOC, in which she has been a learner and she shared her experience of authentic learning in this MOOC. She is also working with Strathclyde University to research learner experiences in the Change11 MOOC.  I was a participant in Change 11 and was also interviewed by Lou McGill for the research – an interesting experience in which I realized that my understanding of ‘What is a MOOC?’ stems from CCK08, but many, many people who are discussing MOOCs today were not in that MOOC and appear to be coming from a different place.

Dave White pondered on why the Stanford MOOC attracted such large numbers and thought it must be to do with their credibility and brand name. He raised the question of the role of the teacher/facilitator in MOOCs and suggested that this is important if MOOCs are to be inclusive. This is a topic we have been discussing in our review the FSLT MOOC.

These are my reflections as a result of attending this webinar.

There are still plenty of people who have technical difficulties accessing a site like Blackboard Collaborate. We cannot make assumptions that people have the technical equipment or skills to engage in MOOCs.

Whilst MOOCs might be the new buzzword in Higher Education, there are still plenty of people who have never heard of them, only just heard of them, have no idea what they are, or who completely misunderstand what they are.

The original connectivist principles of MOOCs are getting lost in the plethora of offerings which now bear the name MOOC, e.g.

  • CCK08 (the original MOOC) was an experiment in getting people to think about learning differently;
  • the idea was that learners could be in control of their learning and meet in learning spaces of their own choice  according to the principle of distributed environments (see slide 33 in this presentation by Stephen Downes) and see his LMS vs PLE video
  • learners would experience learning in the massiveness of the network – so they would not be able to rely on the tutor/convener/facilitator – instead they would need to make connections and seek peer support. In the light of this our understanding of the relationship between teacher and learner would need to change
  • the purpose of learning in a MOOC would be to create knowledge and artefacts through exposure to a diverse network, rather than have it centrally provided. This would, through the aggregation, remixing, repurposing and feeding forward of resources shared and created, enrich the learning experience
  • MOOCs were never intended – despite the name – to be ‘courses’ ( see this blog post  and this response from Stephen Downes ); they were intended to be a challenge to the traditional notion of a course – in the form of learning events. If they don’t do this then they are ‘open courses’ (with some of the attributes of MOOCs), but not MOOCs in the terms of how they were originally conceived.

This is my understanding of what is meant by MOOC – now renamed (in the light of different interpretations) a connectivist MOOC. Many of the most recent courses which have been called MOOCs are not MOOCs in these terms, but fall somewhere along the continuum from connectivist MOOCs with these principles, to the Stanford AI type of centrally located MOOC (see Stephen Downes’ LMS vs PLE video for an explanation)

It is evident that there is room for all these different types of MOOCs or ‘open courses’.   But I hope we will not lose the principles of the CCK08 type of connectivist MOOC, as it is the connectivist MOOCs that are really pushing against the boundaries and challenging traditional ways of thinking about teaching and learning, which is of course why many people feel uncomfortable with them and why we are now seeing efforts to somehow tie them down and bring them into line.

Read Full Post »

On reflection #fslt12 was a SmOOC – a small open online course. I suspect that just as the number of Massive Open Online Courses of the Stanford type will proliferate – at least in the short term – so too will SmOOCs.

SmOOCs have a lot going for them, principally in terms of the relationship between size, diversity and openness.

We had 151 people register for FSLT12 and 168 register for the Moodle site.  Canada, USA, South America, Africa, Europe, India, the Far East and Australia were all represented and at the time of writing 60 people have accessed the Moodle site within the last 3 weeks. We haven’t yet examined the data in any detail, so these are just rough estimates and we don’t know how many people accessed the Moodle site as a Guest. We had 28 people add their blog to the course WordPress site, but again we don’t yet know how many people blogged about the course, without aggregating their blog.  12 people completed the assessment activities.

So in my terms, compared to some of the MOOCs I have been involved with, this was a small MOOC.

As a result of this experience, my perception is that in SmOOCs, ‘openness’ is safer. It was interesting to observe this in FSLT12, which was open enough to ensure diversity, but small enough to ensure that ‘cliques’ didn’t form and that there was a very good mix between novice and experienced participants, different ages, disciplines and cultures. This in itself is interesting, as in the early days of MOOCs it was thought that large numbers were required for diversity. I have thought about and discussed this before – see

Mooc principles and course design

Change 11- massiveness and diversity

For me the question remains as to how massive does a MOOC have to be to hit the ‘sweet spot’ of diversity and openness. In 2012 Roy Williams, Sui Fai John Mak and I published a paper about the Ideals and Reality of Participating in a MOOC, where some of these tensions were discussed.

In FSLT12 I was surprised at how much diversity there can be in a much smaller MOOC – and equally surprised at how this did not lead to sub groups or cliques but to an apparent genuine desire to interact with this diversity.  In past MOOCs I have been involved with it has been the different cultures and resources that have offered the diversity, but in this MOOC, although it was enriched by different cultures, it was the mix of experts and novices that worked so well. This was particularly evident in the microteaching activity where both novices and experts engaged, supported and learned from each other. My feeling is that this was made more possible because of the smaller numbers and also because the smaller numbers made the learning spaces (Moodle and Blackboard Collaborate) feel more intimate, supportive and safe.

So I can see that SmOOCs can offer diversity with relatively ‘safe’ opportunities for connectivity, interaction, autonomy and openness, but do they avoid ‘group think’? This is something that I need to think more about.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »