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

A long list of MOOCs in Class Central – https://www.class-central.com/report/new-online-courses-december-2016/

and MOOCs’ data

An academic article on the accessibility of MOOCs’ plataforms:


«Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) have become an accepted way to make learning opportunities available at large scale and with low cost to the learner. However, only if these are made accessible will they be able to offer flexibility of learning and benefits to all, irrespective of disability. Experience in providing accessible online learning at distance universities suggests that this can be best achieved through understanding different roles and the options in planning for adjustments to be made. To effectively apply similar approaches to MOOCs, it is necessary to understand the various viewpoints and roles of stakeholders and how these impact on accessibility. This includes educators who create materials and facilitate learning, and technologists who develop and maintain platforms. In this paper, we report the results from a study involving semi-structured interviews to investigate the perceptions and accessibility-related processes of MOOC platform accessibility managers, platform software developers and designers, and MOOC accessibility researchers. Our results show the awareness that MOOCs can be valuable for disabled learners, and indicate that legislation acts as a driver for accessibility. However, our investigations suggest limited progress to date in either producing universally accessible MOOCs, or tailoring MOOCs to meet the needs of individual learners with disabilities.»

An academic article on the MOOCs ofered by the UK platform FutureLearn


«During the last eight years, interest in massive open online courses (MOOCs) has grown fast and continuously worldwide. Universities that had never engaged with open or online learning have begun to run courses in these new environments. Millions of learners have joined these courses, many of them new to learning at this level. Amid all this learning and teaching activity, researchers have been busy investigating different aspects of this new phenomenon. In this contribution we look at one substantial body of work, publications on MOOCs that were produced at the 29 UK universities connected to the FutureLearn MOOC platform. Bringing these papers together, and considering them as a body of related work, reveals a set of nine priority areas for MOOC research and development. We suggest that these priority areas could be used to develop a strategic approach to learning at scale. We also show how the papers in this special issue align with these priority areas, forming a basis for future work.»

Tony Bates’ year review – http://www.tonybates.ca/2016/12/19/online-learning-in-2016-a-personal-review/

«I indulged my obsession with knowing the extent to which online learning is penetrating post-secondary education with five posts on this topic. In a field undergoing such rapid changes, it is increasingly important to be able to track exactly what is going on. Thus a large part of my professional activity in 2016 has been devoted to establishing, almost from scratch, a national survey of online learning in Canadian post-secondary institutions. I would have written more about this topic, but until the survey has been successfully conducted in 2017, I have preferred to keep a low profile on this issue.

However, during 2016 it did become clear to me, partly as a result of pilot testing of the questionnaire, and partly through visits to universities, that blended learning is not only gaining ground in Canadian post-secondary education at a much faster rate than I had anticipated, but is raising critical questions about what is best done online and what face-to-face, and how to prepare institutions and instructors for what is essentially a revolution in teaching.»


Open Education

Posted: December 22, 2016 in Moodle MOOC posts

An e-book on Open Education and International Perspectives on Higher Education:


«The main purpose of this volume is to examine the emerging trends and common themes taking place in open education around the world and to provide education professionals, policymakers and interested readers with a global overview of the open education movement. Each chapter investigates a different aspect of open education within a different cultural and institutional context. Using case study data, this volume addresses the following questions: What are the global macro pressures impacting open education? What are the more granular micro pressures underlying the emerging trends in open education? What are the major changes occurring in tertiary education as a result of these pressures? How can we best interpret and explain these trends and themes to develop a plausible theory of open education?»