Following on from my previous article in February, around Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), this article looks further into what has happened in this area over the past few months. MOOCs have been mentioned on BBC’s Newsnight to conferences. The number of providers and courses have increased. This article examines what role, MOOCs can play as a technology that could bring about a wider change in the higher education sector.
A new UK based MOOC provider, FutureLearn launched on the 18th September 2013 at the British Library in London, with guests including the Universities Minister David Willetts. FutureLearn joins some of the biggest US providers such as Coursera, EdX and Udacity.
By Dr Maria Toro-Troconis
E-Learning Strategy and Development Manager, Faculty of Medicine Centre
Mobile and web 2.0 technologies are changing the way we access information and learn in the 21st century. On one hand, mobile technology makes access to factual information possible on the Internet anywhere, anytime. On the other hand, social media is harnessing the use of mobile technology providing access to powerful online community experiences.
Factual information that used to be owned by educators and was only available in a limited number of books in the library, is now available at our finger tips on the Internet. This phenomenon is clearly having a knock on effect on the way learning is delivered.
The Learning Landscape is changing and not just in the title of the Higher Education Academy’s Programme entitled ‘Changing the Learning Landscape’. Central to some of this change is the role of technologies to facilitate learning and teaching. There are many examples of this from the rising universities in the east (in Singapore for example) and the more established universities in the west (in the US for example).
Last month, Professor Daniel Tan, Director, Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) from the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore gave a keynote presentation entitled ‘Learning that clicks and connects’ as part of Education Day, which illustrated many aspects of how changing learning spaces and using technologies such as lecture capture set ups in these new spaces and the use of virtual learning environment activities are allowing learners to learn not just from the lecturer but also from each other in a way that wasn’t possible but the advent of technology and therefore learning at a much deeper level.
Whether you are teaching a small class or a large co-hort of students or training staff, the ability to know what they have understood is crucial to good teaching or training and allows you to pitch your sessions better in the future. This is why physical clickers several years ago were so beneficial in teaching. Despite being really useful in many situations, they are largely expensive, sometimes difficult to set up and for these reasons the purchase and take up of such devices has not been widespread in many universities.
With the rise of various mobile devices form factors and the culture of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) from students and staff alike, using their smartphones and tablets to access institution systems, the idea of having a virtual voting application (also referred to as ‘audience response system’) that can be accessed on any mobile device becomes increasingly desirable.
This post is both a brief summary of thoughts and my reflects on the MOOCs movement which I have observed and continue to observe as a participant, including talks I have attended. If you are in Learning Technology (or even if you are not), then you will not have failed to see the rise of the MOOC (that’s Massive Open Online Courses). Here’s a video explaining the concept too.
The Annual Draper’s Lecture at the Teaching & Learning Conference at Queen Marys, University of London was the first MOOC themed talk I attended on the 16th January, presented by Vice Chancellor of the Open University, Martin Bean, entitled “MOOCs, Napster and the Tyranny of Conventional Wisdom: Where’s the Next Giant Leap for Higher Education?” The talk highlights many of the challenges to the higher education section in the UK and some examples of how other industries where change has been slow have seen their customers go elsewhere.
Happy New Year! Skipped posts in December! I thought I’d write a post about Learning Technology trends for the new year. Newspapers, Magazines and websites such as the BBC are awash with predictions of things to come!
Anyone interested in education couldn’t have missed MOOCs – Massive Open Online Courses, first brought to our attention in this country by the three main US providers Coursera, edX and Udacity. The idea is simple, a mass participation in a course using the web. Seems like the next step in distance learning? Maybe. The idea of the MOOC has been criticised by several educationalists.