Examples of MOOCs to review, critique, and learn from

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Yishay Mor
26 June 2012

Please use this page to list other MOOCs we should be looking at and learning from. Please add a comment, with a link to a MOOC you've noticed and a few words about why you found it interesting.

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We have now also created a survey form in which you can record your experiences with MOOCs; about what MOOCs do well, potential issues or problems to watch out for and suggestions for designing MOOCs better. We would like to invite anyone who has participated in, designed, facilitated, tutored, or evaluated a MOOC (or many MOOCs!) to complete this survey.

MOOC Survey link: http://tinyurl.com/MOOCSurvey

MOOCs you may have participated or been involved in include: Change.MOOC, eduMOOC: Online Learning Today and Tomorrow, PLENK, DS106: Digital Storytelling, MobiMOOC, CCK11, Crypt4you, Georgia Tech MOOC, P2PU, bonkopen2012, etc.

We will  review the survey results and summarise these in a public document. We will also use the wisdom, lessons and advice offered in designing our Learning Design MOOC. In the meantime, please continue to use the discussion thread below to discuss your MOOC experiences and pass this link on to others.

Simon Cross
14:21 on 6 July 2012 (Edited 10:40 on 25 July 2012)

Thanks to everyone who has responsded to the survey and for recording your experience of MOOCs (http://tinyurl.com/MOOCSurvey). The following is an interim review of two of the survey questions based on the 40 responses so far recorded: what did you enjoy most about the MOOC you were involved with? and what advice would you give to someone designing a MOOC?

The survey results recorded so far reveal people enjoyed: engaging with other participants, the contributions of those providing teaching or facilitation, freedom for self-directed learning and the amount of information provided. Seven said they enjoyed ‘being part of a community’, ‘building professional networks,’ or ‘sharing and learning from front-runners in the field.’ This offered, as a further two respondents put it, a ‘glimpse of international communication’ and a ‘chance to interact with people around the world.’ Three others stated they had most enjoyed the contribution of the lecturer, tutor or facilitators who ‘put in a lot of time responding to student feedback and [creating] extra wiki notes and forum answers’. Another three mentioned they had enjoyed the freedom the MOOC offered for self-directed learning and tailoring information and the space it provided for reflection. The scale or range of resources on offer was also specifically mentioned as something people had enjoyed, whether this was the sustained focus of a single theme MOOC, live sessions, blog posts, or the ‘huge amount’ or ‘relevant information’ provided. For some, the MOOC also offered an opportunity to develop personal expertise in teaching online, for example, two used the MOOC to learn about the platform or develop skills in open academic practice.  

Respondents offered a variety of advice for designing a MOOC. One category of suggestions focused on the MOOC experience: five mentioned the importance of structure: ‘be very clear about where the main home page is’; provide ‘clear’ and ‘plenty of’ structure’; explain ‘what you see as essential and desirable and a luxury’ and don’t make it ‘too overwhelming.’ Whilst another five provided suggestions about the type and balance of tasks: have a balance between activities and the time required to develop them; set some interactive engagement; link to the curriculum and learning objectives; and set a variety of reading, doing and collaborating. One person suggested trying to ‘be disruptive.’ Synchronous sessions were mentioned by two: one stressing it was important to explain the reasons for having synchronous sessions and the other to ensure options for such activities that caters for different time zones. Two suggested having a co-ordinated communication strategy with participants: ‘don’t bombard participants with too much push emails,’ ‘keep communication steady’ and ‘keep the schedule up to date.’ Two respondents advised to keep in mind the expectations of participants and not to ‘assume all are at the same level of understand the tools.’ One final comment in this category related to ensuring the ‘pace and depth of topics [is] higher than a traditional course.’

A second category of advice related to what MOOC organisers should provide. Three stressed the importance of guidelines - for how to behave, how to pace yourself, and for how to do peer support – whilst another asked that instructions for tool use etc. are given ‘based at the lowest common denominator.’ One respondent advised that self-study resources should be included, and another that the team should have a policy on how to manage discussion forums. Three mentioned the importance of good tutors who needed to be ‘very communicative guides’ and ‘prepared to offer constant feedback and examples’ whilst one respondent also warned not to ‘underestimate the time and resource required.’ One person said it would be important to think carefully about how group interaction would work – thinking in terms of ‘cohorts and other usable group[ing]s’ and a final comment suggested the course designers consider how people will access the MOOC away from their desk on mobile devices.

The survey will remain open until the end of the project, so if you know of others who have been involved in MOOCs so please pass the survey URL on to them.

Simon Cross
13:46 on 24 July 2012

Thanks to all of you who have contributed to the survey so far. For interest, I've embedded an anonymised spreadsheet showing survey results to 25th July 2012.

*Apologies - problem with embed. I'll repost it tomorrow*

Rebecca Galley
10:39 on 25 July 2012 (Edited 17:58 on 25 July 2012)

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