First Steps to Planning a MOOC

We started planning for this MOOC last week – I blogged about it here – https://jennymackness.wordpress.com/2012/02/11/a-new-mooc-for-mayjune-first-steps-into-teaching-in-fehe/

There has already been a lot written about planning and running a MOOC. Stephen Downes has written a lot of blog posts about this and done many presentations.  (See for example,  http://halfanhour.blogspot.com/2009/02/access2oer-cck08-solution.html ; http://change.mooc.ca/how.htm and http://www.slideshare.net/Downes/how-to-organize-a-mooc )

There is also the MOOC Guide Wiki  – initiated by Inge de Waard

….. but there’s nothing quite like having to do it yourself for learning! George Marion  and I had our second Skype planning meeting yesterday to discuss the MOOC that we are planning for May/June this year.

The full Title of this MOOC, which is being offered by Oxford Brookes University,  is:

First Steps into Learning and Teaching in Higher Education

This will be a MOOC for:

  • New lecturers in HE/FE
  • PhD students who are teaching in HE,
  • teachers in schools who want to move into HE/FE,
  • people in industry etc. who want to move into HE/FE,
  • Educational Developers who want to know more about Oxford Brookes University’s approach/resources
  • and … because it’s a MOOC, anyone who is interested enough to join us

Keywords associated with the MOOC are:

open education development resources oer mooc higher learning teaching pcthe further academy pgcert hea 

(We felt that these words in various combinations would probably fulfil most search term requirements)

Key issues at the moment, which we hope to finalise by early next week are:

  • a hashtag for the MOOC
  • registration – how will this be organized, especially for participants wishing to take the assessments
  • a web conferencing system. We hope to be able to use Blackboard Collaborate
  • a course home site. We think we will use Brookes’ WordPress site
  • a discussion forum area. We think we will use Brookes’ Moodle site
  • an aggregator. We are looking into Google Reader for aggregating blogs and paper.li for a daily online newsletter
  • Video. We will probably use the Oxford Centre for Staff and Learning Development (OCSLD) YouTube channel
  • Collation of Resources. We are thinking of using Cloudworks
  • Assessment.  Those who sign up for and complete assessment will receive an OCSLD certificate.

Organising a MOOC really brings home the difficulty of planning for an unspecified number of people, especially in terms of the choice of technologies. For example, we need a robust web conferencing system, which works just as well for large numbers as for small numbers.

It has occurred to me to wonder whether just this one element of running a MOOC means that many groups who could really benefit from MOOC-like activities, such as charities, would not be able to afford to run synchronous sessions.

This begs a second question – what would be the effect of not offering synchronous sessions in a MOOC? Are MOOCs reliant on synchronous sessions? Do synchronous sessions dominate to the detriment of other modes of learning in a MOOC?

So we are nearly there in terms of decisions about the technologies to use. Next week we will finalise these and move on to focusing on the content of the MOOC