Wishing to take a longer view of the impact of students as change agents, the current study focuses on their role in the evolving design of a specific online course. A pre-arrival online course for international students preparing for study at the University of Southampton was initially conceived, designed and delivered in 2005 as a SPOC (Small Private Online Course). Through the agency of successive cohorts of international student participants it evolved and has now changed into an online course reflecting key emerging features of current MOOCs (Bayne and Ross, 2013; Watson 2014) and increasing multimodality in approach to address changing student needs and preferences. As its primary research question, this study seeks to identify the ways in which the international student community has operated as agent of change in the evolving course design since first delivery. As a secondary question, it also aims to identify other agents of change that have impacted on the course design.
Findings include a shift away from didactic (tutor created) and static content to a more connectivist approach reflecting dynamic student-generated content; a move from text-based towards audio-visual resources; the gradual subordination of the online tutor’s role and corresponding ascendancy of the self-led learner; and a radical change in the time and method of course delivery. In all of these changes the agency of the student community has played a key role. Other factors such as teaching and learning innovations arising from Web 2.0 and MOOCs have also influenced the evolution of the course design.
This presentation provides an overview of the online course and charts the evolution of its design. It will trace the sources of change between 2005 and 2015, highlighting the role that the international student learning community has played.
Bayne S. & Ross J. 2013. The Pedagogy of the Massive Open Online Course: the UK view. The Higher Education Academy. Available at http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/assets/documents/elt/HEA_Edinburgh_MOOC_WEB_240314.pdf [Accessed 11 March 2015]
Watson, J. 2014. Sizing up the online course: Adapting learning designs to meet growing participant numbers. In S. Jager, L. Bradley, E. J. Meima, & S. Thouësny (Eds), CALL Design: Principles and Practice; Proceedings of the 2014 EUROCALL Conference, Groningen, The Netherlands (pp.408-412). Dublin: Research-publishing.net. Available at http://reference.research-publishing.net/publication/chapters/978-1-908416-20-9/254.pdf