Monday, 10 March 2014

Quality, participation, and the 'openness' of MOOCs

An overview of some recent writing regarding the design and delivery of MOOCs, enrolment on them, and their position within the open education movement.

'MOOCs', or Massive Online Open Courses, have been the educational trend of the past two years. Although media reporting has now died down to some degree, this does mean that we're starting to see some more thoughtful and evidence-based writing on their successes and failures. The following articles pose some interesting questions with regards to how we might develop our approach to and delivery of such courses.

The Quality of Massive Open Online Courses by Stephen Downes
In this excerpt from a longer piece produced for the EFQUEL MOOC Quality Project, Stephen Downes looks at how we might assess the overall quality of a MOOC, given that the term itself and purpose of such courses is still not entirely clear. If we decide to deliver a MOOC the reason for doing so must, however, be clear, and the question of quality and success is heavily linked to use of this model over other, more traditional methods of teaching.

MOOCs: Young students from developing countries are still in the minority by Adam Palin, ft.com
One rationale behind the development of MOOCs is to democratise and extend access to learning materials from elite, global institutions to students across the world. Research to date has indicated that enrolments don't necessarily reflect this, with many participants already holding university degrees or significant work experience in developed countries. This article reports on enrolment trends from developing nations, in addition to potential evidence for these shifts.

MOOCs must move beyond open enrolment and demonstrate a true commitment to reuse and long-term redistribution by Leo Havemann and Javiera Atenas
This post, published in the LSE Impact of Social Sciences blog, looks at the duality of MOOCs' position as open enrolment programmes whilst at the same time not necessarily facilitating open practices through provision of Open Educational Resources (OER) to be shared and reused elsewhere. The authors raise wholly relevant questions regarding how we might make content used within these courses more available, and whether rules imposed by MOOC platform providers such as Coursera and FutureLearn prevent us from doing so.

Originally posted on the LSHTM e-Learning blog. Reproduced by the author, Jo Stroud.

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