Background to MOOCs – Week 10 Act 12 H817

To kick off Week 10 of H817, we were asked to watch a video and reflect on the role of MOOCs in our current roles.

VIDEO: George Siemens and Dave Cormier interviewed by Martin Weller about MOOCs:

My work at the OU – FutureLearn

MOOCs feature strongly in the OU. The expansion of the FutureLearn platform has mimicked that as outlined by Liyanagunawardena (who wins long surname of the year award!):

Future learn moocs


This article takes it to a more recent date: “The last time I spoke to FutureLearn boss Simon Nelson, the social learning platform was about to hit its first major milestone – one million registered users. Now, just eight months on, more than 2.5 million people have signed up to take part in one of the platform’s Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). “That first million took us 18 months, the next million and a half have taken us just over six months,” explains Nelson.”

Currently the OU has a broad range of courses available on the platform it created (see HERE). The OU is continuing to invest in the platform, both from a financial underpinning perspective but also from a course development one. I do not think for now that this process will stop. It is starting to develop its financial model and as value grows and it clarifies its certification and exam process on the platform this can only increase. I also see opportunities here for the OU to co-brand and internalise in corporate universities or provide content on a licensed basis for third parties to use and/or translate for local adoption.

As an Associate Lecturer, I have not been engaged with FutureLearn, and whilst I see occasional requests for support, I am simply too focused on B629 to be able to give time to the MOOCs. It is certainly something I may consider in the future.

Outside of the OU – Business Model Me (SMALL OER)

I certainly think, going forward, I would be interested in creating or co-creating a MOOC.The challenges that I see are:

Time – Creating content and managing a course could potentially be a big time sink.

IP – Whilst I have a short list of potential MOOCs I would like to develop, some of these intersect with the other peoples IP. This may require a huge amount of time and effort to resolve and receive permission to use their concepts.

Technology – Whilst a basic platform is easy to set up on something like Moodle or WordPress, making it secure, robust and scaleable in terms of users is probably more complex than my capability (at the moment at least).

MOOC type: There are many different models of MOOCs emerging ( Donald Clarks 8 typologies is worth a read HERE). I am really unsure, from a pedagogical perspective, which are more effective (a potential PhD study?). I would need to investigate what would work best for the learners and the content.

Other reflections – General thoughts and questions

A) Is a email responder course a form of MOOC? If people sign up to a 10 Week course on a topic and get blasted by an email a week is this a simple form of MOOC? (This is a good resource on autoresponders). This process could really be improved with the additional of a forum to discuss ideas (or closed Facebook or G+ group).

B) If similar was done via 10 YouTube videos, could that be a MOOC? particularly if viewers were asked to comment in the comments section?

C) Just thinking about the above, this seems an interesting way of creating “Small OER”.

D) I am curious if any people in my network are interested in doing some work on creating a MOOC.

E) This might also align well with the Working Out Loud project (which is on a bit of a back burner at the moment).

F) What is really clear is that MOOCs are here to stay, their form and delivery method may change / evolve, but the high investment and appetite for learner to learn via these courses, will ensure I think, that they will continue to grow.

Thanks for reading “Background to MOOCs” – Feedback greatly recieved!

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