In 2016, The Physiological Society issued a call for proposals to work with a university partner to develop an introductory MOOC, intended for 16-19 year-old students. Aiming to introduce this demographic to key aspects of the Physiology discipline, and supporting their transition from further education (FE) to higher education (HE), the MOOC will introduce concepts encountered in the first year of undergraduate study of Physiology, and many other related degrees. In developing such a course with a university partner, The Physiological Society wants to encourage learners to think about the benefits of studying Physiology (or a related discipline) at a higher level.
Drawing on the authors’ experiences in the design and development of a MOOC for the first time, this presentation is framed from the perspective of a ‘subject’ academic, highlighting the key challenges faced in engaging with such a project. The authors’ will present some of the key questions that were addressed during the initial planning stages of the MOOC, which can often be taken for granted in the design of a ‘traditional’ HE course. These included:
- What does the planning and design entail for the subject expert?
- How can you encourage learners to ‘stay the course’ and participate?
- How do you select the ‘right’ content?
- How can you present the content in the ‘right’ way?
- What are the technological implications for delivering the content?
In answering these questions (and others), we plan on giving an ‘honest’, reflective account of our approach to the development of a MOOC, and hope to inform other ‘first-timers’ about the potential challenges that may lie ahead of them.
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