I feel the same regret watching how MOOCs are turning on to business and replicating the traditional assessment models to issue certificates.


«As MOOC providers focussed on finding a business model, they started putting certain aspects of the experience behind a paywall, hoping to get more people to pay. MOOCs went from free to free to audit (nevermind that the concept of auditing a class is completely foreign in most parts of the world).

Free certificates were the first items to be shifted from free to pay. Then the graded assignments were put behind paywall. Now all the major MOOC providers have (or will soon have) some courses that are completely paid (even the videos).

This shift to a freemium model, with more and more chances to up-sell, seems to be working for the providers, with the top three players earning more than $100 million combined last year.

Each provider has a different model, and that can be really confusing to students. So here’s a summary of what free means for the four biggest MOOC players.»



Open Education in Sweden

Posted: March 8, 2017 in Moodle MOOC posts

A report on Open Education in Sweden – https://oerworldmap.wordpress.com/2017/03/06/open-education-sweden/

«Sweden has a longstanding tradition of high quality education and it has dedicated great efforts into opening up their educational models and materials. Here you will find an overview on education in Sweden, the historical and political background, and a summary of Open Education Initiatives in Sweden. This country report for Sweden was written by Dr. Ebba Ossiannilsson, a Swedish researcher, advisor, and consultant with great expertise in open education and e-learning. This Article was written on 2017-02-07.»

Social Networks and the Building of Learning Communities: An Experimental Study of a Social MOOC – http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/2630/4039

The conclusions of the article are natural because a course has a duration and participants, even if they are engaged, tend to stop when the course reaches its end.  It’a already a success when effective participation takes place in the discussions along the course  because some courses have very little interaction, poor feedback, just resources to be consumed.

«This study aimed to analyze the student’s behaviour in relation to their degree of commitment, participation, and contribution in a MOOC based on a social learning approach. Interaction data was collected on the learning platform and in social networks, both of which were used in the third edition of a social MOOC course. This data was then studied via statistical methods and analysis of social networks. This study assumes that social communities would arise around the course, would remain over time, and that participants would even contribute with new proposals. The findings indicated that social learning communities are built and continue only while the course is open and while the teachers are involved in fostering participation. Although this study is limited, the design criteria of the course, the pedagogical model on which this is supported, and the methods applied for this analysis provide other researchers and educators with clues for better understand the dynamic process of social learning in social MOOCs.»


Posted: March 2, 2017 in Moodle MOOC posts

The University of Iowa and its International Writing Progrm launched his Distance Learning MOOC-Packs, the core content of the MOOCs of the last three years.



These MOOCs have a model of active learning meant for participants to practice writing, so this initiative is welcome.

«In order to support access to education for all, every time we create a MOOC, we also create a MOOC-Pack. A MOOC-Pack provides a MOOC’s core content, packaged with a how-to guide and extra instructional materials. Using a MOOC-Pack, anyone can lead a writing class or a study group.»

An excellent article on open source resources and the example of a teacher at the Univ. California who built his repository together with his students along the years – https://www.edsurge.com/news/2017-02-08-a-growing-but-controversial-idea-in-open-access-textbooks-let-students-help-write-them

OER should by now be generalized but unfortunatelly publishers have delayed the process.

A Sense of Belonging

Posted: January 23, 2017 in Moodle MOOC posts

«Study finds completing a 10-minute activity at the beginning of a MOOC can lead to significantly improved outcomes for certain at-risk learners.»- https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2017/01/20/study-finds-simple-interventions-can-help-certain-online-learners-persist

«The study, “Closing Global Achievement Gaps in MOOCs: Brief Interventions Address Social Identity Threat at Scale,” doesn’t focus on the structural challenges that keep those learners from finishing massive open online courses, such as insufficient English language skills or internet access. Instead it looks at what MOOC designers and instructors can do to create an environment in an online course that tells learners they are able to do well regardless of their background.»

iterating toward openness

Posted: January 17, 2017 in Moodle MOOC posts

An article by David Wiley, a well known advocate of open education – https://opencontent.org/blog/archives/4859

Summary of Key Principles
  1. Education is sharing. Ideas, knowledge, skills, and attitudes are public goods. This means they are nonrivalrous and nonexcludable, and therefore easy to share.
  1. Expressions of ideas, knowledge, skills, and attitudes captured in physical artifacts like books are private goods, meaning they are both rivalrous and excludable, making them difficult to share.
  1. When concrete expressions of ideas, knowledge, skills, and attitudes are converted from a physical into a digital format, this changes them from private goods back to being public goods, once again making them easier to share.
  1. Copyright law places artificial limits on our ability to use technology to share educational materials. This changes these public goods into club goods, once again making them difficult to share.
  1. Educational materials published under an open license are called open educational resources (OER). When digital educational materials become OER, they are converted back into public goods. Over 1 billion openly licensed materials are published online.
  1. Open educational resources are far better aligned with the core values of education than materials published under an all rights reserved traditional copyright. This closer alignment creates opportunities for less expensive, more flexible, more effective education.
  1. Because of their close alignment with the core values of education, adopting OER in place of traditionally copyrighted educational resources provides unique opportunities and benefits to faculty and students. Instructional designers, faculty, and other educators and administrators should develop a basic understanding of OER.

An academic article by several authors of different universities



Diversity is hard

Posted: January 16, 2017 in Moodle MOOC posts

An article in the blog of an english researcher on diversity – https://jennymackness.wordpress.com/2017/01/12/diversity-is-hard/

«But why is diversity ‘desirable’? dana boyd points to more diverse teams outperforming homogeneous teams and claims that diversity increases cognitive development. In my own field of research into learning in open online environments, this point of view is endorsed by the call for more interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary and cross global, international working (see for example Haywood, 2016 and Eynon et al., 2016).

However, Cilliers (2010) suggests that there are deeper reasons. These are related to viewing the world in which we live as a complex adaptive system. Complex systems are heterogeneous, asymmetrical and full of non-linear, unpredictable interactions, which means we cannot fully know or control them. Complex environments exhibit the following characteristics (and more!):

  • Distributed knowledge
  • Disequilibrium
  • Adaptive
  • Self-organisation
  • Unpredictable
  • Emergence
  • Connectedness
  • Diversity
  • Openness
  • Co-evolution
  • Interaction
  • Retrospective coherence

Cilliers tells us that diversity is a key characteristic of complex systems and is essential to the richness of the system, because it is difference not sameness that generates meaning.

An abundance of difference is not a convenience, it is a necessity. Complex systems cannot be what they are without it, and we cannot understand them without the making of profuse distinctions. Since the interactions in such systems are non-linear, their complexity cannot be reduced. The removal of relationships, i.e. the reduction of difference in the system, will distort our understanding of such systems. (Cilliers, 2010, p.58)»

An article of The Economist – http://www.economist.com/news/special-report/21714173-alternative-providers-education-must-solve-problems-cost-and

Alternative providers of education must solve the problems of cost and credentials