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What MOOCs can do for the Traditional Online Classroom (Part I)

ApostolosKoutropoulos

Introduction
ItsbeenafewyearsofextremesentimentsaroundMOOCs(MassiveOpenOnlineCourses).
2012wasproclaimedtheyearoftheMOOC(Pappano,2012).2013wastheyearthatMOOC
criticismwasthenewtrendyorinthing(Rees,2013).Perhapsin2014wellmoveawayfrom
suchdichotomiesandevaluatewhatsworkinginMOOCs,whatsnotandwhatwecanimport
intotraditionalonlinelearning.AwhilebackIreadapostonWCETaboutredirectingthe
conversationaboutMOOCs.Onelinethatreallycaughtmyeye,andthathasreallystruckme
uptonow,wasletsLearnfromMOOCsandrecapturethemicrophone(Cillay,2013).Now,
MOOCsarestillinanexperimentalmode,andwewillbeinthismodeforquitesometimeinmy
estimation.Afterall,classesneedtorun,sothatwecancollectdata,analyzeit,comeupwith
hypothesesandtestthem.Thenrinseandrepeatuntilsatisfactorilydesigningandimplementing
aMOOCthatcoversyourinstructionalneeds.Thisisreallyexcitingtome,butIrealizethatit
mightnotbeexcitingtoothers,orworseyettheymightfeeluncomfortablebythelackof
answersatthispointintime.

InthisthissetofarticlesIlljustrefertoMOOCsingeneral.cMOOCsarentknownbymany,
andxMOOCasatermseemstobeusedasaderogatoryterm(Moe,2013).Alsothetwo
extremepositionsdontnecessarilydescribethediversityofMOOCsetupstoday.Since
MOOCsareexperimental,andweveseenalotofexperimentingoverthelastsixyears(its
beenthatlong),IthinkitstimetostartthinkingaboutwhatcanbestbeadaptedfromMOOC
practicesintotraditionalonlinelearning.WevealreadyseenMOOCmaterialsusedasawayto
fliptheclassroom(McGuire,2013),butIsuggestwegofurtherandexperiencesomething
transformational,notjustseeMOOCsasanotherplacetofindcoursematerialsforourcourses.
Whenthinkingaboutthistopic,therearethreedifferentareas:materials,technology,and
practices.Inpart1IwillbediscussingOpenEducationalResourcesasas
materials,
peer
gradingas
practices
andbadgesforlifelonglearningasboth
technology
and
practices.

Open Educational Resources


IknowthatOpenEducationalResources(OER)arentsomethingnew,andarentsomething
thatisparticularlyuniquetoMOOCs.TheethosofMOOCsisquitecompatiblewithOERsin
thatMOOCs
Aggregate,Remix,RepurposeandFeedForward
,andOERsworkona
Reuse,
Revise,Remix,andRedistribute
framework.WhileitseemsthatMOOCLMSsystemslike
coursera,udacityandedx
seemtonothavethatsharingethos
oftheoriginalMOOCs,andthey
havebeencriticizedforthis(Wiley,2013beingonerecentexample),itisundeniablethatthey
areproducingsomereallyvaluablematerialsthatcouldbeusedasOERincourses,online,
blendedandevenflippedclassrooms.TheusecaseforMOOCcreatedmaterialsforaflipped

classroomhasactuallybeen
triedoutbySanJoseStateUniversity
.Thatsaid,ifMOOCLMS
systems,orconsortialikeedX,maketheirmaterialsavailableasOER,amoveIamconvinced
theyshouldmake,theneveryonebenefitsbecauseinstructorscanhaveawealthofadditional,
highquality,materialsthattheycanincorporateintheircourses.Forexample,inarecent
MOOCIparticipatedin,Iwasabletoseeshort,relevant,videolecturesontherelationshipof
gamesandeducation.AfewyearsagoIhadreadJimGees
WhatVideoGamesHaveto
TeachUsAboutLearningandLiteracy
(fantasticbook,bytheway).IfIweredesigningacourse
onthistopic,alongwithothermaterialsIwouldconsiderwhatMOOCgeneratedcontenthasto
offer.Afterall,theseareexpertsintheirfield,andiftheyhaventpublishedanymaterialsin
paper(orePaper)form,theonlywaytogetthemintoyourclassroomiswhattheyveproduced
fortheirMOOCs.NoteveryMOOChassuchanopenpolicyonreuseoftheirmaterials,butits
greatwhenMOOCprofessors,likeSteinkuhler&Squire,gotheextrasteptomentionthattheir
materialsarefreetoreuse.Additionally,movingawayfrom
just
borrowingOERfromMOOCs,I
wouldsaythatwhendesigningourowntraditionalonlinecoursesweoughttodesignour
materialsinsmallchunksthatcanbesharedandremixed.Thesecanthenbeusedbyour
peersinthesame,orother,institutions.Inotherwords,designcoursematerialswiththegoalof
reusing,andsharingwithothers.Thisshouldhelpbothuswhenweredesign,ortweak,our
courses,butalsoourcolleagues.

Badges for Lifelong Learning


ItshouldbenotedthatnoteveryMOOCisprovidingbadgesforlifelonglearning.However,
thereareanumberofMOOCs,bothwithinLearningManagementSystemslike
Blackboards
coursesites
,andMOOCsthatarecobblingtogethertheirownMMS(MOOCManagement
System)usingavarietyofWeb2.0andhomegrowntools,thatareawardingbadgesforlifelong
learningthatarecompatiblewith
MozillasOpenBadgesinitiative
.Inadditiontoafew
coursesitesMOOCsthathaveawardedbadges,suchasthe
MOOConOpenBadges
,weve
alsoseenbadgesonMOOCslike
OLDSMOOC
,
GamesMOOC
,and
BlendKit
justtonamea
few.AlloftheseMOOCshavetakendifferentapproachestoawardingbadges,withdifferent
criteriaanddifferentsignificationstotheawardedbadges.Itwouldbeworthwhiletopay
attentiontoactualusecasesofbadgesinthesecoursesandthinkabouthowwecan
incorporatetheminourtraditionalonlinelearning.Ifwelookatthestatedlearningobjectivesfor
ourcourse,doanyofthoselendthemselvestoabadge?Whatwouldabadgesignifyinthe
grandschemeofthings?Woulditaddvalue?Ifitdoes,whynotimplementit?

Lookingbeyondourcourseobjectives,arethereskillsthatwewanttofoster,orbehaviorsthat
wewouldliketoencourage,buttheyarenotpartofourlearningobjectives?Forexample,in
thecourseIteach,
thedesignandinstructionofonlinecourses,
IletstudentspicktheLMSof
theirchoicetoimplementtheircourse.Whatifstudentswhoimplementedacoursein
Blackboard,Desire2Learn,Moodle,orCanvasgotanoviceMoodlerorcanvasartistbadge
toindicatewhateverlevelofproficiencytheyhaddemonstratedinusingthatLMSwhilethey
wereworkingontheirfinalcoursedeliverable,whichjustsohappenstobeafullydesignedand
mostlyimplementedonlinecourse.Whatif,asaninstructor,Ivaluecollegialityamongstmy
studentsandIwanttoencourageorrecognizepeoplewhoaregeneroustotheirfellow

students,whohelptheirfellowstudentsgrowaslearnersandasinstructionaldesigners.Such
asbadgecouldbeusefulbecausesuchsoftskillscouldbevaluedbyorganizationswhowant
teamplayers.Badges,inthiscontext,areonlyacoupleofyearsold,andMOOCscertainly
predatethem,buttheyaresomethingthatcertainMOOCsseemtohaveembraced,andthey
are,Iwouldargue,valuableinourtraditionalonlinecoursesaswell.

Peer Grading
MOOCsgetabadreputationwhenitcomestopeergradingasmeansoflearnerevaluation.
SinceinMOOCsitsnotpossibleforoneperson(usuallytheinstructor)tomeaningfullyread,
evaluateandprovidefeedbackformassiveamountsofwrittenwork,mostMOOCsseemtogo
therouteofpeerreviews.Whiletheremaybemanyouttherethatwonttouchpeerreviewsand
peergradingwithatenfootpole,peerreviewsandpeergradingareactuallyneithernewasa
toolforlearning,noraretheyaninappropriateinstrumenttouseinyourcourse.Ifyouhavean
instructor,amoreknowledgeableother,providingthefinalevaluationofyourlearners
accomplishmentsthepeergradingmechanismisa
learningtool
youshouldconsiderusing.If
youcreateareallygoodassessmentrubricfortheassignment,peerscangradeeachother
usingthesamecriteriathattheinstructorwilluse.Thisaccomplishestwothings:First,it
providesthelearnerbeingreviewedawaytogaininsightastohowhisworkisbeingperceived
bysomeonewhoisusingthesamegradingrubricastheinstructor.Thishelpsthereviewee
receivevaluablefeedbackabouttheirworkfrompeers.Ontheotherhand,thereviewergets
intotheinstructorsmindset.Thereviewercanthen,bydivingintothedifferentpartsoftheir
peerswork,gainalevelofknowledgetoallowthemtoselfassesstheirownwork.Bybeinga
revieweryourlearnersshouldbeabletoalsogainanabilitytocriticallyreflectontheirown
work,andthusimproveit.Oneofthekeythingshereisinstructorpresence.Youcantjustgive
learnerstherubricandhavethemtakeonsuchabigtask.Learnerswillrequireboth
scaffoldinginordertogetuptospeedwiththerubric,andalsoreceivepostreviewfeedbackin
ordertoseehowaccuratelytheevaluatedtheirpeers.AsmallmarginoferrorshouldbeOK,but
alargeonemightpointtomisunderstandingabouttherubricortheassignment.Thiswillhave
animpactonthereviewersownsubmissionanditwouldbegoodtorectifyany
misunderstandingsoftheassignmentbeforeitstoolate.

Conclusion
SinceMOOCsareexperimentalandtheygiveustheopportunitytotestnewpedagogies,and
newtechnologies,inenvironmentsthatdontnecessarilyjeopardizeourexistingconceptsof
credithour
or
academicrigor.
Thuswefindourselvesinaplacewherewecanreallytakeastep
backandnotonlyexamineourinstructionaldesignpracticeswithregardtoMOOCs,butwecan
alsoseehowtheresultsoftheseexperimentsininstructionaldesigncanbenefitotherfacetsof
onlinelearning,suchasthoseintraditionalonlinecourses.InPart2ofthisarticleIwilldiscussa
whatIseetheroleofMOOCelementssuchaseastereggs,distributedlearningandopen
communitiesintraditionalonlinecourses.Staytuned!

References:

Cillay,D.(2013).ItsTimetoRedirecttheConversationaboutMOOCs.
http://wcetblog.wordpress.com/2013/09/26/redirectmoocconversation/
McGuire,R.(2013).EdXandSanJoseStateAnnouncePartnershipforMOOCsIn
BlendedClasses.http://moocnewsandreviews.com/sanjosestateedxpartnership/
Moe,R.(2013).MOOCseums:UsingtheOpenMovementtoInvigorateLocalMuseums.
OpenEducation2013Conference.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Chr0VKXN0_E
Pappano,L.(2012).TheyearoftheMOOC.Retrievedfrom:
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/04/education/edlife/massiveopenonlinecoursesare
multiplyingatarapidpace.html
Rees,J.(2013).AntiMOOCisthenewBlack.Retrievedfrom:
http://moreorlessbunk.wordpress.com/2013/08/14/antimoocreallyisthenewblack/
Wiley,D.(2013).SJSU,edX,andGettingitRight/WrongonMOOCs.
http://opencontent.org/blog/archives/2832
Wikieducator(n.d.).DefiningOER.
http://wikieducator.org/Educators_care/Defining_OER

Links:
BlendKit:
http://blended.online.ucf.edu/blendkitcourse/
CCK11HowTo:
http://cck11.mooc.ca/how.htm
ElearningandDigitalCultures
[Coursera/KnoxSaybeRossSinclairMacleod/Uof
Edinburg]:https://class.coursera.org/edc002/class
GamesMOOC:
http://gamesmooc.shivtr.com/
MobiMOOC:
http://mobimooc.wikispaces.com/
OLDSMOOC:
http://www.olds.ac.uk/
OpenBadgesMOOC:
http://badges.coursesites.com
OpenBadgeInitiative:
http://openbadges.org/
VideoGamesandLearning
[Coursera/Steinkuhler&Squire/UWWisconsin]:
https://class.coursera.org/videogameslearning001/class/index