[OLDS MOOC] [AK] [Scenario] [mLearning MOOC - Who are the learners?]

Cloud created by:

Apostolos Koutropoulos
17 January 2013

This is a Cloud to house the scenario for the graduate course in mLearning as to be offered as a MOOC. See link for the Cloud with the Description.




1. Picard is a graduate student in the Instructional Design and Technology program at University X.  He wants to learn more about the subject of mobile learning, and wants to continue to make progress toward his Master's degree in Instructional Design, while learning about the concepts of mLearning in new ways. Picard has little work experience in the field.

2. Troy is an independent professional. She has been working in the field for 7 years and wants to expand her skills, specifically in the area of mLearning.  A purely academic course isn't of much use to her because she doesn't need the graduate credit, and since she is self-employed, she does not get a reimbursement for course fees. 

3. Using the MOOC format, a course can run for credit for students like Picard, while allowing access and participation from students like Troy. These two types of learners, coming from different backgrounds can jointly pursue the same goal (learning about mLearning) while at the same time enriching each other's educational experiences, since Troy and Picard don't come from the same background, thus they are able to fill in other knowledge and professional gaps for each other.


Actors: (who is involved?):


  • Data, Lecturer, has been a lecturer for a few years. Knows about mLearning, and wants to experiment more with MOOCs to learn more about teaching in learning in MOOCs. Age 37.
  • Picard, age 30 - see above
  • Troy, age 39 - see above

Goals: (why?) 


  • Data: Wants to learn more about MOOC pedagogies...and as Yishay said --> the best way to learn about them it to run one.
  • Picard --> Student in the MS program in Instructional Design. Interested in the topic, but also interested in graduating and getting a job!
  • Troy --> Professional in the field. Wants to learn more to add to her repertoire in order to remain competitive.

Settings: (where & when?)


  • ONLINE: Most of the action will be happening online. The technology used to facilitate the course and communications in the course is still to be determined. 
  • CAMPUS: Since the instructor is also available on-campus, and some of the students are local, local study circles can come into being if learners are interested in meeting in person. These don't have to be formal lectures, but rather local coffee/tea/drink meetings where individuals discuss and debate materials, provide applications, work on applications, and then report out over the next.  There is a possibility of webcasting if interesting impromptu lectures happen with other Subject Experts.

Objects: (what things are involved?)


  • ONLINE components: In mLearning fashion, there will be an effort to have course components be mobile friendly, so that learners can participate (as much as is conducide to participate) with laptops, desktops, tablets, phones, PDAs and music devices.
  • CAMPUS: White boards! And cameras to take photos and video of what has been written or explained.

Actions:  (what do actors do?)


  • Picard sees a note from the MS Program Administrator and sees that he has to register for a course in the spring semester.  He goes through the Student Information System of his university and signups up for the course
  • Troy sees an announcement on Twitter and on Mooc.ca that there is a MOOC on the introduction to mLearning.  She decides to go to the MOOC group and sign up on the announcement listserv.
  • Data sees students registered on the campus SIS, and invites students to join the course's staging area, before the semester starts, as a way to get everyone on the same page, and talking to one another.

Events: (what happens to actors?) 


  • Picard freaks out at the massive nature of the course. He knew it would be a MOOC, but wow...this is a lot! He contemplates dropping the course, but finds Riker, Whorf and LaForge are also in the course and they decide to form a study group.
  • Data sees that those new to MOOCs are having a hard time, so he gets all campus based students in a seminar room to prepare them for MOOC learning.  Records this session for any new MOOC newbies on the interwebs.
  • Troy has been in MOOCs before and does her own thing the first week of the course. Sees some intersting people, but her contract work is preventing her from fully participating in the introductor tasks.
  • In the end, all is well!

Results: (what is achieved?)


  • For credit students receive a grade, and 3 graduate credits
  • Non-Credit MOOC students, who have completed certain assigned projects will get a certificate of completion (maybe not right away, but at some point ;-)  )
  • All learners will earn badges along the way to showcase participation in the course, and certain learned skills and knowledge.

Your design: (what role does your design play?) 


  • Content is content...assessments are assessments. They are important, but not necessarily always fallling into the category of "rocket science". The biggest issue for the design team will be helping learners find their way in the MOOC, to navigate relationships, and navigate applicable content.
  • Design is also important in designing certain recommended paths to complete.


Develop a narrative scenario/s

note: I am only developing the Picard profile since I am more familiar with on-campus students.  While there is no "typical student", I think that the program-based students are less illusive as a group than the MOOC student (until we do some more broad cross-cMOOC-research to identify who takes MOOCs and why)

Picard is a graduate student in the Instructional Design and Technology program at University X.  He wants to learn more about the subject of mobile learning, and wants to continue to make progress toward his Master's degree in Instructional Design, while learning about the concepts of mLearning in new ways. Picard has little work experience in the field.

Picard signs up for the MOOC through his department's academic advisor and is excited about the course.  He doesn't know what this "MOOC" thing is, but he is eager to try out new things. A month before the course beings, Picard gets an email form the instructor welcoming him to the course and requesting that he participate in some preliminary introductions and readings online, just so that Picard knows a bit more about MOOCs.

Picard freaks out a bit and wonders if this format is right for him.  It seems to alien, and while he has had the ability to work in non-lecture environments, this seemed too unstructured for him.  He was having lunch with his classmates one day, Riker, Whorf and LaForge who all are in the same course.  He shared his apprehensions and they decided to form a learning circle. All for one...

Data, the instructor, hears of this arrangement and the apprenhensions and decides that it's a good idea to have a preliminary meeting, in person, with all the signed up students (for credit) to prepare them for self-directed MOOC learning.  The session was a moderate success.  People will still uncomfortable, but they were less scared.

Picard, and the team, introduced themselves online and they met some non-credit MOOC students who had similar intererests. Among them Troy, our instructional design consultant.  They invited her to the learning circle, even though she was across the pond. The semester progressed with few major issues (at least for those signed up for credit). The team worked out well for those learners because they had created a schedule to check in on the MOOC, and had a concrete plan to work on their project.

Scrutinize your scenario & revise as necessary

I am claiming that:

  • Traditional learners will be intererested in taking a MOOC
  • mLearning provides a broad appeal to pick for people to join the MOOC (non credit).
  • Instructor (with/without) assistants will be able to assess certain aspects of the course to provide a certificate of completion to non-credit MOOCers.
  • Learners, on-campus, will self-organize to for study circles, even though there is carrot or stick requiring them to do so.
These are some lofty claims!  The MOOC would run as a special topics course at University X, and historically special topics courses can be hit-or-miss as far as enrollment goes. The topic is certainly important, but special topics courses count as elective courses in student's studies, so students might want to get "core" course requirements out of the way before they go for electives.
The assessment piece, a certificate of completion, may also be a crazy amount of work.  I think that the certificate would be nice, but I may actually go with the David Wiley/BlendKit2012 Model (see cached version of OpenEducation.us: http://web.archive.org/web/20120321123208/http://openeducation.us/badges ) where learners can earn a  variety of badges, and a certain collection means that they have also completed the course. It's going to take a lot of brainstorming to figure out what the appropriate badges are, and what combinations mean that you have completed the course.
(note to self - this is 40 minute mark)

Extra content

Please use the comment box below to provide any feedback you'd like to provide.  This is very much a project in "sketch mode", so you won't be seeing a ton of detail, even at the end of OLDS MOOC :-) Feedback is welcomed!

Apostolos Koutropoulos
14:37 on 17 January 2013

Embedded Content


Joshua Underwood
9:13pm 19 January 2013

Hi Apostolos, there is a lot that interests me in your scenario some of which I think may be particulalry useful to explore in a little more detail. Some things I was particularly interested in are: Study Circles, and the preparation session and the Results/Outcomes.

For study circles and the MOOC preparation session telling a little more about what happens in those sessions may help explore quite what the help is that those will give participants. Similarly, with respect to the results - the certificate, course badges, telling a little more of the story might help explore why participants want those things and what they finally get out of them. Personally, I think thinking about 'authentic assessment' that will be discussed in week 7 may be useful. Perhaps, for an mlearning course with a few to employment in that area producing work for a portfolio may be more useful than badges or even certification?

I was going to suggest that you might use the EoR approach to further explore the kind of help that might be provided by the study circles, the pre-course briefing but I think I have spotted that you have already started to do that...

Guess you are aware of MobiMOOC but thought I'd mention it just in case.

Apostolos Koutropoulos
4:02pm 20 January 2013

Thanks for the feedback :)

Yes, I am quite familiar with MobiMOOC (participant both times :-)  ).  This use case (intro to mLearning) happens to be my go-to guinea pig course for improvement and alteration.

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