MOOC Basics

If you are still getting up to speed on MOOCs - maybe you haven't even heard of Massive Open Online Courses - here are some resources to introduce them to you.

The Wikipedia page for MOOC is constantly being updated - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massive_open_online_course

Here are some videos, slide presentations and articles on aspects of MOOCs.

Video "What Is a MOOC" youtube/eW3gMGqcZQc

Video "Knowledge in a MOOC"  youtube.com/watch?v=bWKdhzSAAG0

Video "Success in a MOOC"  youtube.com/watch?v=r8avYQ5ZqM0

"What a MOOC Does  halfanhour.blogspot.com/2012/03/what-mooc-does-change11.html

Slideshare: How to Organize a MOOC slideshare.net/Downes/how-to-organize-a-mooc

Audio: How to Organize a MOOC  downes.ca/presentation/278

Slideshare: Facilitating a MOOC slideshare.net/Downes/facilitating-a-massive-open-online-course

Education as Platform: The MOOC Experience halfanhour.blogspot.com/2012/03/education-as-platform-mooc-experience.html

Video George Siemens: Interview vimeo.com/30589659

Video Howard Rheingold: Interview youtube.com/watch?v=VMfipxhT_Co

Keith Devlin: Math MOOC devlinsangle.blogspot.com/2012/05/math-mooc-coming-this-fall.html



 


Include Mobile When Blending Courses

blender

Blended learning is not a new course design concept. It refers to a mixing of different learning environments. Usually, that means blending traditional face-to-face (F2F) classroom methods and class time with online and computer-mediated activities.

There is not one definition of blended learning. In fact, I hear the terms "blended," "hybrid," and "mixed-mode" used interchangeably.

In blended learning, technology always plays a bigger role than in the traditional classroom. As schools "allow" and actually encourage the use of smartphones and tablets, these devices allow the F2F experience to overlap with the experiences outside the classroom.
diagram Students bringing their own devices to campus (known as BYOD) changes things. It changes technology policies and it lowers the cost of technology for blended-learning. Statistics are always changing but at least 75 percent of teens now own cellphones, according to a Pew Research Center report. Is there a socio-economic, racial "gap" with mobile technology as there was in the early days of personal computers and Internet access? Another Pew study reported that African Americans and English-speaking Hispanics are slightly more likely than whites to own a cell phone.

Remember 1:1 computing? Mobile devices, particularly smartphones, bring us much closer to that as a reality. And that also makes blended learning more viable.

The real blending may occur when students don't see a big difference between the experience in a classroom and the experience outside.

Mobile doesn't eliminate all the issues with blended courses - and many of those issues have been around since the earliest days of online learning. Some things are harder to do - maybe impossible - to do online. Assessments on mobile devices require considerations of academic integrity.

But anyone considering designing or teaching in a blended setting needs to be be making mobile part of the design.


Free Apps Dominate Downloads

apps


If you look across all mobile platforms, nearly 90% all app store downloads this year will be free apps.

Add to that information from a report from Gartner that says that 90 percent of the apps that users pay for will cost less than $3. The report, "Market Trends: Mobile App Stores, Worldwide, 2012."

App downloads in 2011 were at the 24.94 billion mark from Google Play/Android Market, the Apple App Store, and others. Of those, 88.4 percent (about 22 billion) were for free apps, while about 2.9 billion were for paid apps.

This year? The forecast is for 83% growth with annual growth projected at 50 to 79 percent each year through 2016.

What does this mean for educators? As mobile continues to move into classrooms, sometimes only because students bring it there, we will find ourselves using more and more free and cheap apps rather than traditional, expensive software.

That makes money available from school budgets and from students' budgets that could be used in other ways. It also open the door to using more mobile technology without considering software cost as a critical factor.

Read more: Free Apps To Make Up 89 Percent of Mobile Downloads This Year



Humanizing Technlogy: NJEDge.Net Conference 2012



NJEDge.Net's Conference 9.0 has the theme this year of "Humanizing Technology." The conference is always a vibrant forum for the NJ K-20 community to showcase, discuss and explore best practices on today's campus.

Plenary speakers include:
Jon Landis, Assistant Professor, Ed. Leadership & Ed. Technology, Millersville University
Brett Bixler, Lead Instructional Designer with Training Services, Penn State University
Ellen Wagner, Executive Director for WCET
Kevin Kelly, Co-founder and Senior Maverick at Wired magazine

Also presenting will be Steve Abubato, the renowned NJ broadcaster, who will lead a provocative discussion on issues pertinent to CIOs, CAOs, presidents and provosts at the invitation-only Executive Dinner on Wednesday evening.

On Friday the 30th, there will be a round of Ignite sessions with some of the most innovative educators in the state to motivate attendees to take new ideas away from the conference and into their schools.

And there are many breakout sessions in tracks such as learning innovations, mobility and assessment.

The NJEDge Annual Conference package deal is discounted by 10% off last year’s registration cost. How often do you hear that a conference is lowering prices in this day and age?

Register at conference.njedge.net/2012/register/

More Free Courses

Saylor.org is a free and open collection of college level courses. There are no registrations or fees required to take courses. You will earn a certificate upon completion of each course, but because they are not accredited, you will not earn a college degree or diploma.

It's another example of learning for the sake of learning. Experienced college professors design each course and you can achieve the same learning objectives as students enrolled in traditional colleges. Saylor started three years ago, when the foundation began hiring faculty members on a contract basis to build courses within their subject areas. The courses were built using both Open Education Resources (OER),and newly created video lectures and tests.


Measuring MOOCs

Are you already suffering from MOOC fatigue even though you have never taken or taught a massive open online course?

One valid criticism of these courses is that we don't know if they actually work. Well, there is a lot of anecdotal information. And people are impressed by the schools doing them and the numbers of students they attract.

But any data that has appeared from schools or providers has offered little insight. We know the number of students enrolled and sometimes we know how many completed the work and from what countries they are accessing the content.

Now, some new data from edX (a nonprofit MOOC platform financed by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology) has given some more info on the demographics of a key population: students who not only registered for a particular MOOC, but who performed well.

edX’s first course, a virtual lab-based electrical engineering course called Circuits & Electronics, had 155,000 students registered for the course when it opened. Only 23,000 earned a single point on the first problem set. It is down to 9,300 who passed the midterm. 8,200 students took the final exam and a bit more than 7,000 earned a passing grade and the option of receiving an informal certificate from edX.

30 percent of the students surveyed said they did not have a bachelor’s degree and 6% claimed a doctorate, 28% a master’s degree, and 37% a bachelor’s degree. Of the "completers", half were 26+ years old and 45% were traditional college-aged students, with 5% in high school. The age range appeared to be 14-74.

There is more detail in an article on insidehighered.com but edX and others cautions that "extrapolating larger truths about MOOC students from such narrow samples is similar to a blind man trying to describe the dimensions and habits of an elephant after touching one square foot of its hide. The profile of the successful student in an adapted MIT course in electrical engineering is likely different from the profile of a successful student in an introductory computer science course, or a course in sociology or world music. Like any online course, the ability of a MOOC to match the outcomes of the traditional version will probably vary by course and professor"