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2014 Proceedings

Charlotte, North Carolina

To MOOC or Not to MOOC:


Opportunities for Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) Use and Development
in ITAA and the Clothing and Textiles Discipline
Coordinators: Genna Reeves-DeArmond, Oregon State University
Jennifer Mower, Oregon State University
Panelists: Julie Becker, Eastern Michigan University
Melody LeHew, Kansas State University
Kathleen Rees, Texas A&M University Kingsville
Andre West, North Carolina State University
Purpose
The clothing and textile industry is international in focus, and universities with clothing
and textile programs attract students from all over the world. With the increasing presence of
online learning, it is important to understand all possible iterations available for use. Technology
and trends in education have contributed to the latest iteration, known as the Massive Open
Online Course (MOOC). Though instructors may have reservations about MOOCs, it is
important to understand how we, as educators, can best communicate, relate to, and educate our
students if they see this as a valid option. MOOCs have the potential to provide opportunities to
unify global learning communities, forge new partnerships with industry and organizations
worldwide, and build stronger connections among scholars within the discipline.
The purpose of this session was to discuss what a MOOC is and isnt, how they function,
and available opportunities for including them in our discipline and ITAA. This session stemmed
from interest following an oral research presentation by Genna Reeves-DeArmond, Jennifer
Mower, and Keith Nishida (2013) at the 2013 ITAA conference. The session featured a general
orientation to MOOCs, a panel discussion about available opportunities for the use of MOOCs in
ITAA and the greater clothing and textiles discipline, and a group discussion with attendee input.
Orientation to MOOCs
Genna Reeves-DeArmond, Oregon State University, USA
A MOOC is a Massive Open Online Course. More specifically, it is a type of online course
aimed at large-scale participation and open access via the web.
Attendees were presented with the following list of characteristics that define a MOOC, in
addition to misconceptions about MOOCs: open access, course credit, scalability, interaction,
professor involvement, learning theory, assessment, learning motivation, and cost (Karlen, 2013;
Online Learning Insights, 2012; Siemens, 2004).

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2014, International Textile and Apparel Association, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
ITAA Proceedings, #71 www.itaaonline.org

2014 Proceedings

Charlotte, North Carolina

Panelist Presentation Topics


Specific presenters covered the following:
Available MOOC platforms and an update on the MOOC initiative at Oregon State
University.
Presenter: Genna Reeves-DeArmond, Oregon State University

Differences between MOOCs and online courses from a development and teaching
perspective, target audiences for clothing and textile MOOCs, and MOOCs related to
clothing and textile topics that are currently being offered.
Presenter: Jennifer Mower, Oregon State University
Jennifer discovered that clothing and textile MOOCs are already being offered through
Marist College. Melissa Halvorson is in charge of the MOOC initiative at Marist College
and was able to join the session as a guest panelist to explain her experience with
developing and offering MOOCs.

The use of MOOCs as an advertising/branding tool to promote worldwide awareness of


clothing and textile programs and the discipline as a whole, the perspective of having
taken MOOCs as a student, updates on MOOC initiatives at North Carolina State
University and Eastern Michigan University, and the logistics of running a standalone
MOOC as opposed to via an existing commercial MOOC platform.
Presenters: Andre West, North Carolina State University & Julie Becker, Eastern
Michigan University

How ITAA can realistically engage in MOOCs, the proposal of POOCs (Professional
Open Online Courses) within ITAA, compensation for MOOC instructors within ITAA,
and setting up an honor/award/grant within ITAA that would cover instructor
compensation and serve as an incentive to participate in this initiative.
Presenters: Melody LeHew, Kansas State University & Kathleen Rees, Texas A&M
University - Kingsville
Presentation of Panelist Ideas for MOOC Implementation in ITAA
Genna Reeves-DeArmond, Oregon State University, USA

During preparations for this presentation, the panelists discussed and agreed upon some
key points that will help to legitimize MOOCs within ITAA. These points were presented to the
attendees prior to engaging in a question-and-answer session. First, the benefit of MOOCs for
ITAA can be characterized by three words: enhancement, supplement, and recruitment.
MOOCs can be used to enhance already existing programs where more special topics courses
could be offered. MOOCs could supplement core courses in smaller programs where a course is
only offered every two years and students need to graduate in a timely manner. Recruitment
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2014, International Textile and Apparel Association, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
ITAA Proceedings, #71 www.itaaonline.org

2014 Proceedings

Charlotte, North Carolina

could occur in bringing more students into a program, but also in bringing colleagues forward to
collaborate with other scholars. MOOCs can enhance the discipline by bringing greater
recognition to the diverse work that is done, which is more than simply shopping or sewing.
Enhancement could occur through visibility and may assist the clothing and textiles discipline in
gaining credibility among the greater scholarly community.
Second, ITAA could be used as a home base for MOOC endeavors within the clothing
and textiles community. ITAA members could create series of MOOCs based upon their areas of
expertise that can be used by students in the classroom or by scholars for continuing education.
ITAA-specific content could also contribute in this way. For example, distinguished lecture
presentations could be used to develop a course around a concept or specialized topic to promote
practical application. Knowledge or visuals acquired through ITAA-sponsored study abroad trips
could be used in a similar manner. Third, the panelists received clearance shortly before the
session from Mary Lynn Damhorst (President of ITAA) to convene an Ad Hoc MOOC
Opportunities and Development Committee.
Questions and Comments from Attendees during Discussion
Facilitator: Genna Reeves-DeArmond, Oregon State University, USA
The following questions and comments were posed by attendees during the discussion
portion of the session:
A MOOC is a class? Because it sounded as if the panelists were discussing the use of
archived videos simply for viewing and not so much for course content.
o How can archived ITAA lectures be turned into a course?
How does ITAA get the platform established if Coursera (a commercial MOOC platform
provider) doesnt support it? What are the other options?
It would be great if ITAA could draw from the experts in our field for topics such as
global sourcing and how to use social media in the classroom. This content could then be
used as continuing education for academics who have not taught a certain course before
or in a long time. Such units or mini-courses could also be used as part of a course where
the instructor has less confidence on the topic or wants to add expert knowledge.
Attendees expressed great interest in MOOCs for professional development (i.e., a peerto-peer system of professional development).
Modules of continuing learning credits could be available, and this could possibly link
with the accreditation that is currently being sought by ITAA.
Attendees expressed that they saw the greatest challenge as providing an adequate
incentive for those who participate as contributors and instructors of record.
What will the juried process be? A juried process should be in place for the promotion
and tenure process. MOOC contributions need to be peer reviewed for this purpose.
Building a single MOOC course will take a substantial amount of time, so a group of
ITAA members could collaborate and each create separate units that comprise a full
course. Or, mini-MOOCs could be offered that dont constitute a term-long course.
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2014, International Textile and Apparel Association, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
ITAA Proceedings, #71 www.itaaonline.org

2014 Proceedings

Charlotte, North Carolina

A decision needs to be made about how to record and cite the MOOC contributions
and/or instructor on a Curriculum Vita.
The Impact Factor needs to be considered. This could be accomplished with the use of
a page view counter or number of students enrolled in the course.
A survey should be created and distributed to the ITAA membership to gather further
opinions about the use of this technology and what topics/courses should be offered in a
MOOC format.
Conclusion

Interest in MOOC opportunities and development was expressed by attendees and


panelists alike, but there is still considerable skepticism about the time commitment,
compensation, and official recognition as scholarship. Further surveying of ITAA membership is
needed on these topics.
The Ad Hoc MOOC Opportunities and Development Committee was announced during
this session and attendees were invited to join. This committee is versatile and could work with
other committees (e.g., Curriculum Development and Teaching Innovation and Resources). The
MOOC initiative also compliments the work of Jung Ha-Brookshire, who convened a group of
ITAA members to envision the future of the clothing and textiles discipline; resulting themes
were presented during a Special Topics Session at the 2014 ITAA conference. The comments
and questions posed by attendees of this session will be addressed by the Ad Hoc MOOC
committee in the coming year.
References
Karlen, J.M. (2013). What can you do with a MOOC? Presented at The National Institute on the
Assessment of Adult Learning Annual Meeting, Atlantic City, New Jersey. Retrieved from
http://www.tesc.edu/national-institute/documents/2013/TANK2/ Fri_Session_1What
_Can_You_Do_With_MOOC.pdf
Online Learning Insights. (2012, May 29). MOOC mythbuster what MOOCs are and what they
arent [web log post]. Retrieved from http://onlinelearninginsights.wordpress.com/2012/
05/29/mooc-mythbuster-what-moocs-are-and-what-they-arent/
Reeves-DeArmond, G., Mower, J. M. & Nishida, K. H. (October 2013). Student and faculty
perceptions of the development and use of Massive Open Online Courses in clothing and
textiles education. Presented at the International Textile and Apparel Association Annual
Meeting, New Orleans, Louisiana. Abstract published in online Proceedings
(www.itaaonline.org).
Siemens, G. (2004, December 12). Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age.
Elearnspace: Everything elearning. Retrieved from http://www.elearnspace.org/
Articles/connectivism.htm

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2014, International Textile and Apparel Association, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
ITAA Proceedings, #71 www.itaaonline.org