Creating a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) is a team endeavour (Scopeo 2013). Scanning MOOC directories reveals large numbers of finely focused subject offerings, and the literature documenting production suggests a predominance of small production teams, often closely linked to the content authors and presenters. Coordinating all of the individual team members towards producing a homogeneous end product is a challenging task due to both the variety of roles involved and the wide range of backgrounds and areas of expertise. Typically, MOOCs have been created with either one or two key academics within a single subject area. This challenge gains even greater significance when the total number of academic content producers exceeds double figures and they come from a range of diverse disciplines.
As one of the first Universities in the UK to create a MOOC delivered on the FutureLearn Platform, we had no choice but to develop the content agilely and we were learning to ‘ride the giant’ literally one step ahead of the wave the whole way through the course.
This presentation is important to the field as it presents an early evaluation of our learning design and production journey and we reflect on when we were at times close to falling off and getting wet and what measures we put in place in order to avoid repeating this during the second and third runs of the MOOC and in subsequent development of MOOCs.
Our reflections are likely to be of interest to practitioners, researchers and project managers.
We have found that the major challenges encountered in any MOOC’s learning design and production processes include mediating between the platform requirements and the desired learning outcomes of the course; dealing with copyright issues, consent forms, and other legalities and adapting specialist materials for a non-specialist audience
Unique to this type of MOOC is the interdisciplinary nature of the subject area (Hendler et al, 2008), and the multidisciplinary team who developed the content. These academics operate with different ontologies and epistemologies, that is, they classify the knowledge they aim to share in different ways, and they approach this knowledge from different angles. They also assess with different methods, they have different expectations from their students, and they structure the information in different ways. Here we use the metaphor of ‘herding cats’, to acknowledge that this task of conferring consistencies of approach to the ensemble of materials provided by the educators has been a completely different type of challenge.
In this presentation we introduce the iterative process that we have developed and share our early evaluation and reflections with you.
Hendler, J., Shadbolt, N., Hall, W., Berners-Lee, T., & Weitzner, D. (2008). Web science: an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the web. Communications of the ACM, 51(7), 60-69.
SCOPEO. (2013). MOOC : Estado de la situación actual, posibilidades, retos y futuro. SCOPEO. Informe n.2 (p. 266). Retrieved from http://scopeo.usal.es/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/scopeoi002.pdf
|Affiliation||University of Southampton|