Welcome to my blog on Quality, elearning, OER, OEP, OEC, and user generated content (UGC)

The posts in my blog will be both in English and Swedish.
Blogposterna kommer att vara både på svenska och engelska.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

MOOCs and Quality- A new project by EFQUEL


The MOOC Quality Project,launched by EFQUEL is designed to bring together a global group of experts and first movers in the field of MOOCs and with some different perspectives in the field of MOOC. During a period of 12 weeks, started the 8th of May 2013 they will write blog posts  to challenge on on how to discuss MOOC quality. The language of MOOC quality will be invented in this project - join us and see where it is leading. The initiators for the MOOC quality project are Ulf Ehlers, Ebba Ossiannilsson and Alastair Creelman, who will follow up the blogposts in the next couple of weeks

When Dave Cormier coined the term MOOC already in 2008 he described it as a moving target.  Together with Downes and Siemens they focused on creating mass communication and interaction with what today is known as cMOOC (connectivist MOOC) where the main set of characteristics is described as aggregation, remixing, repurposing and feed forward. At the same time other types of MOOCs were emerging, often referred to as xMOOCs. These are  usually by far more massive than cMOOCs and focus on content, often featuring famous professors from highly reputed universities, and are open to online participants who learn autonomously without (necessarily) much focus on creating social interaction. A MOOC offers at a base free access to a collection of educational resources that together form a logically linked progression. Quality here is the value and relevance of the resources and how they are linked. Many MOOCs have little or no qualified tutoring or guidance, only offering online arenas for student communication. These arenas can be quality assessed for their functionality but little more since what goes on there is out of the control of the organisers. Maybe the real quality issues of the MOOC phenomenon lies in the value-added services that are on higher layers than the course material. If tutoring, guidance, validation and examination are available at a price then these add-ons can be more easily assessed and quality guidelines set up (The MOOC quality project 2013). Donald Clark has listed the diversity of MOOC models where he describes eight types  MOOCs. The eight types are:
  • transferMOOCs
  • madeMOOCs
  • synchMOOCs
  • asynchMOOCs
  • adaptiveMOOCs
  • groupMOOCs
  • connectivistMOOCS 
  • miniMOOCSs
Androulla Vassiliou, (European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, 25th April 2013) express it like:

"MOOC is an exciting development and I hope it will open up education to tens of thousands of students and trigger our schools and universities to adopt more innovative and flexible teaching methods. The MOOCs movement has already proved popular, especially in the US, but this pan-European launch takes the scheme to a new level. It reflects European values such as equity, quality and diversity and the partners involved are a guarantee for high-quality learning. We see this as a key part of the Opening up Education strategy which the Commission will launch this summer "

As with all learning innovations, MOOCs first raised a lot of interest and hopes for a new approach to educatiion. MOOCs can also be seen as social innovation. Now the focus must change to evaluating if those promises can be delivered in the long term and on a sustainable basis. One aspect which, due to the infancy of MOOCs as learning innovation, has not yet been analysed and that is  the aspect of quality in MOOCs.

The MOOC quality project would like to challenge quality questions together with the international pool of  experts.
  • What are Moocs actually aiming at?
  • Can we judge the quality of MOOCs in the same way than we can judge any defined university course with traditional degree awarding processes - or do we have to take into account a different type of objecive with MOOC learners? 
  • Are the target groups mostly interested in only small sequences of learning, just made fit for their own individual purpose and then sign off,  and mybe jump into another MOOC because the own individual learning objective was fulfilled (The MOOC quality project 2013).
How can we think about quality, which are the dimensions to employ for a MOOC quality model, can we think of quality assurance methods in this field -  since MOOCs differ significantly from "regular" courses? So how can quality be discussed and defined. First as there are so many different types and there are a variety in between them it might be  difficult to discuss quality in MOOCs in general terms as it depends on which type of MOOC is discussed. Secondly the target group attending MOOCs worldwide is very broad, with an enormous difference in aims, interests, pre-understanding, and the list can be very long. Third, there area many stakeholders  who have interests in MOOCs, as is illustrated by   HOLDAWAY an  HAWTIN  where  all knowledge—and all the cash—are coming from?


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