Conference PaperPDF Available

Online Learning and Higher Engineering Education: the MOOC Phenomenon



The purpose of this paper is to gain a better understanding of the phenomenon of Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) and other trends towards greater openness like Open Educational Courseware and Resources, and to think about the implications for Higher Engineering Education (HEE). A MOOC is an online course aimed to provide free access to university level education for as many students as possible. MOOCs differ from traditional university online courses in two ways [1] Open access, anyone can participate in an online course for free, and Scalability, courses are designed to support an indefinite number of participants.
41st SEFI Conference, 16-20 September 2013, Leuven, Belgium
Online Learning and Higher Engineering Education
The MOOC phenomenon
P. de Vries
Assistant Professor
Delft University of Technology
Delft, Netherlands
Conference Key Areas: New learning concepts; Information and Communication
Technology; Engineering Educational Research.
Keywords: Online learning, Engineering education, MOOC, Educational technology
The purpose of this paper is to gain a better understanding of the phenomenon of
Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) and other trends towards greater openness
like Open Educational Courseware and Resources, and to think about the
implications for Higher Engineering Education (HEE). A MOOC is an online course
aimed to provide free access to university level education for as many students as
possible. MOOCs differ from traditional university online courses in two ways [1]
Open access, anyone can participate in an online course for free, and Scalability,
courses are designed to support an indefinite number of participants.
The speed in the development of MOOCs is a novelty in the history of education as
well as the media coverage that exceeds any preceding innovation. Some consider
the situation to be explosive, but there has not been enough time yet to confirm early
experiences and to draw definite conclusions. The background of this phenomenon is
multi layered, but there are three connected elements that seem to be decisive: a.
The public discussion about the mere existence of higher education on the issue of
incompetence of the institutions to cope with today’s learning demands as the need
for higher productivity and more flexibility; b. The rising costs for and of students,
decreasing state support and multiplying debts of institutions, and c. The significant
acceptance of internet technologies in society in general and in education, increasing
the likelihood that the technology can serve as a problem solving opportunity.
Especially the discussion on the very different dynamics of education in the 21st
century play a role and the fact that most institutions very much relate to the factory
model of mass instruction which was the dominant model for centuries. An important
defect of this model is that most universities and colleges are essentially traditional
and conservative not being able to cope with the changing demands in society
appropriately. The fear is that if institutions do not respond, they will not survive [2].
Today’s reality is that new models of education are emerging initiated by a selective
group of high class institutions and investing companies with a history in education,
41st SEFI Conference, 16-20 September 2013, Leuven, Belgium
publishing and public media. This is quite a different arrangement with a strategy
focusing on online student centred approaches and the exploitation of smart personal
technologies for anytime and anywhere learning and partnering with an industry that
is looking for easy, efficient and low priced talent management [2].
In a sense this situation for HE is decades old. The British Open University started in
1971, the for-profit University of Phoenix is online since 1989 and MIT and lots of
other Universities including the Delft University of Technology have been posting free
online ‘open courseware’ since a decade. These developments were not considered
disruptive for the existing HE system, but with the emergence of Massive Open
Online Courses (MOOCS), this seems to change rapidly. In this context HEE has a
special position since the development of technologies that enable online learning
are at the core of the learning innovation business. HEE though is not a prominent
partner in the discussion on the perceived consequences of this development for
education and therefor this paper should help to extend the debate in the HEE sector
on the role to play in this arena for learning innovation.
MOOCS can be seen as an extension of existing online learning approaches, in
terms of open access to courses and scalability and a design that allows for large-
scale feedback and interaction. The increasing range of different MOOCs are
demarcated by two basic approaches: a crowd-sourced interaction and feedback by
leveraging the MOOC network e.g. for peer-review, group collaboration, the so-called
cMOOC and an automated feedback through objective, online assessments, e.g.
quizzes and exams, the so-called xMOOC. The cMOOC was the first type of MOOC
becoming available in 2011. This type of MOOC provides opportunities for non-
traditional forms of teaching approaches and learner-centred pedagogy where
students learn from one another. Online communities ‘crowd-source’ answers to
problems, creating networks that distribute learning in ways that seldom occur in
traditional classrooms in universities. The xMOOC represents much more a
knowledge transmission model and is in essence considered to be technology-
enriched traditional teacher-centred instruction [3]. Such systems offer an
individualised experience in that they allow students to take alternative routes
through material and offer automated feedback. However, they do not provide a
social learning experience or one of being dealt with personally. The c- and x-Mooc
represent more or less the broad spectrum of different models and usages.
1.1 The stakeholders
MOOC providers
The scale and open nature of MOOCs provide opportunities for large audiences and
creates a space for experimentation with online teaching and learning. This has
generated significant interest from governments, institutions and commercial
organisations. For institutions to invest in MOOCs the main reasons seem to be the
“enlarged access, experimentation and brand extension” [5]. MOOCs can expand
access to education, for those who are interested and extend institutions’ reach and
reputation internationally. The first to introduce these courses on a large scale were
leading universities like Harvard, MIT and Stanford operating in conjunction and
investing large sums of money. In the meanwhile others have joined this trend by
engaging in initiatives like edX, the non-profit venture from Harvard and MIT, Udacity
set up by a former Stanford employee and Coursera, initiated by some other
colleagues from Stanford. And sure there are other initiatives from small colleges, the
41st SEFI Conference, 16-20 September 2013, Leuven, Belgium
training business and from individuals, but most attention goes to the big ones. The
Open University in the UK started a consortium of British universities to develop a
new platform for free courses called Futurelearn, which is expected to be online
competing with the American initiatives in the fall of 2013. Where Universities tend to
take years to decide about anything, the MOOCS initiative seems to push decision
making to another level. No wonder this phenomenon gets a lot of attention also
because the media partners in this online endeavor know how to raise attention and
sell a product [3, 2, 6].
In table 1 an overview of the early and main MOOC initiatives and their user policies.
EdX is the MIT / Harvard not for profit initiative with a fee for ‘certification’, but without
credits. Coursera and Udacity are run for profit with the intention to qualify the
students with credits. Udemy has a restricted access policy and strives for crediting
the students work. The PeerToPeerUniversity (P2PU) harnesses the approach that
people collaboratively can do the job (learning for everyone, by everyone, about
almost anything)..
Table 1: Comparison of key aspects of MOOCs or Open Education initiatives [4]
Some see MOOCs as a powerful tool that will cause fundamental changes in the
organisation and delivery of HE over the next decade [6]. For politicians, MOOCS
help address the problem of HE budget constraints and help to lower the cost of
degree courses by enabling inexpensive, low-risk experiments in different forms of
HE provision [4]. Commercial organisations see MOOCs as a way to enter the HE
market by providing a MOOC platform and developing partnerships with existing
institutions and to explore new delivery models in HE. For example, Udacity has
teamed up with Google, NVIDIA, Microsoft, Autodesk, Cadence and Wolfram to
develop new courses, including HTML5 game development and mobile applications
development. For those organisations and the universities MOOCs seem to have a
viable role in selection and recruitment of talented employees [4].
MOOC learners
The MOOC has been hailed as the potent defence against the increasing debts of
students, the rising cost of education, the insular culture of HE, the ability to offer
large audiences lectures at no cost and a high level of flexibility. Up till now these
courses do not yet supply the learner with transferable credit and institutions struggle
41st SEFI Conference, 16-20 September 2013, Leuven, Belgium
with their online learning strategy for on and off campus students and how MOOCs
and similar developments relate to the curriculum. A fact is that MOOCs seem to
make learning more feasible and greatly attractive for students worldwide. Just to get
an idea of the size: a Harvard course on ‘How to reason and argue’ attracted over
180.000 students. A Udacity course by Google’s director of research Peter Norvig,
attracted 160.000 students. A group of 155.000 students registered for MIT’s
prototype ‘Circuits and Electronics’ course of which only 45% was aged between 18
and 25 and most students came from America, India, Britain, Columbia and Spain
and some 7.100 passed the course [7, 3, 6].
A survey at Duke University showed that student motivations typically fell into one of
four categories [4]:
1. To support lifelong learning or gain an understanding of the subject matter, with
no particular expectations for completion or achievement,
2. For fun, entertainment, social experience and intellectual stimulation,
3. Convenience, often in conjunction with barriers to traditional education options,
4. To experience or explore online education.
On the pre-course survey, fun and enjoyment were selected as important reasons for
enrolling by a large majority of students (95%) and on the post-course survey, most
reported that they have a general interest in the topic (87%). Students used the
online course to help them decide if they want to take college/university classes
(15%) while a significant minority of students claimed that they could not afford to
pursue a formal education (10%). Further research will be needed in order to
understand learner motivations at the outset, and also what maintains learner
motivation during a MOOC course.
The MOOC technical platforms allow for using the technology to capture large data
sets that can deliver useful insights into online teaching and learning with very large
numbers of students at low or minimal cost. The opportunity to capture viable data for
research is practiced by for example others the edX institutions such as MIT and
Harvard to use the MOOC concept to understand “how students learn” and “improve
innovations in teaching and learning on campus”.
1.2 Issues and challenges
There is an extensive discussion going on about online learning which has been
spurred by the MOOC development. The media coverage is stunning and it seems
that everyone agrees at least on the fact that something very exciting is going on, but
how to deal with it? There is definitely no consensus about the way to go so there are
different objectives and different strategies also among the educational institutions.
Some consider the MOOC as an opportunity to learn more about teaching and
learning using different technologies and educational models. Others see it as an
opportunity to raise new organisational structures next to the existing institutions and
a series of industrial partners are interested in the MOOC purely as a business for
profit. So there are a lot of issues and challenges because all the stakeholders will be
affected by the initiatives of the others not knowing yet what these will be.
It is worth mentioning a couple of issues that dominate the discussion at this time and
blend this in with the rest of the argumentation.
If the MOOC becomes as popular as some like us to believe, than this could drive
down the cost of university-level education and potentially disrupt the existing
41st SEFI Conference, 16-20 September 2013, Leuven, Belgium
In one way or another the time and money spent on a MOOC will have to show
some profitability from an educational point of view or whatever perspective the
initiator claims. So the challenge will be to develop a convenient and sustainable
business model.
The use of ICT in education for online learning has not been very successful up
till now and it is surprising that hardly any reference is being made to the very
recent disappointing results.
It is unlikely that all institutions have enough staff with significant working
knowledge of online pedagogy to produce and arrange the quality that reflects the
status of the institution.
Elite universities, setting up open learning platforms such as edX and new
commercial start-ups as Coursera and Udacity strive for certification and for
credit. So the MOOC world might look attractive from that perspective, but what
about the other colleges, can they profit from the quality courses offered by others
when mentored locally?
The commercial interest of venture capitalists and major corporations such as
Pearson and Google which are planning to move into HE as global players and
are likely to adopt a MOOC-based approach as part of their plans.
The disruptive potential of the MOOCs forces the educational establishment to re-
visit online learning and open education as strategic choices for the future.
Most agree that online learning in some format contain lots of opportunities to
improve education and become in general a better fit for purpose in the
knowledge society.
Currently thousands of learners are being served by the MOOC offerings of
predominantly US origin while most European institutions are deliberating what to do
and what strategy to select. The MOOCs movement originated in the US and
Canada. Some European universities have joined US initiatives and recently the UK
and Australia have launched national initiatives. On a Europe-wide scale the
European Commission started in close collaboration with the European Association
of Distance Teaching Universities (EADTU) the ‘OpenupEd’ initiative. The intention is
to have 40 courses available by the end of 2013, covering a wide variety of subjects,
in 12 different languages. OpenupEd is coordinated by the EADTU and mostly
involves open universities.
The experiences on a European scale are moderate, but to be able to reflect on what
is happening a couple of experiences with MOOCs are being discussed here, that
relate to the working field of HEE. The first is from the University of Edinburg in
Scotland as an early adopter, presenting experiences with their first six courses. The
second example is the experience at MIT with their ‘Circuit and Electronics’ course.
The third example is about the proposition of Georgia Tech that one can acquire a
technical Master’s degree online for only one tenth of the costs of a regular on
campus program. The fourth example is the initiative of Siemens, a technical
company, offering initial IT courses for free.
2.1 The MOOCs @ Edinburgh 2013 Report # 1 [8]
The University of Edinburgh launched six MOOCs on the Coursera platform early
2013 with short fully online courses, each lasting either 5 or 7 weeks and with a total
initial enrolment of 309.000 learners. The courses offered were from Humanities and
Social Science (Introduction to Philosophy; E-learning and Digital Cultures), Science
41st SEFI Conference, 16-20 September 2013, Leuven, Belgium
and Engineering (Artificial Intelligence Planning; Astrobiology and the Search for Life
on Other Planets): Medicine and Veterinary Medicine (Equine Nutrition; Critical
Thinking in Global Challenges). AI Planning was at Master level, the rest were on
Bachelor level. Each team selected their preferred delivery which resulted in six
different course structures. Teams experimented with content delivery and
collaboration methods using the Coursera platform. One could enter and exit the
course freely and participate without active engagement with quizzes or social media,
allowing behaviour patterns distinct from those of on-campus degree courses.
There were 203 countries represented with 28% living in the USA, 11% in the UK;
33% were between 25-34 years of age. The highest current employment was 17% in
‘Teaching and Education’ and 15% as Student. The educational background of the
participants was degree-level academic (over 70%) and postgraduate degree (40%).
In the exit survey 98% indicated that ‘they felt they got out of the course was what
they wanted’ and the pacing in the course had been about right. Of the total
enrolment 12% accomplished the course, which was 21% of the active learners. The
main reason for participation was interest in the subject matter and curiosity about
the MOOC and online learning.
It took the staff approximately 10 months to prepare and test. The findings were
promising and the staff was pleased with the overall outcome. The attraction of
mainly adults with high educational attainment seems to be related to the publicity
that was largely through educational media channels.
2.2 MIT: research into edX’s First MOOC [9]
The research looked at the Circuits and Electronicscourse (6.002x), which began in
March 2012. The course attracted nearly 155,000 students and the study particularly
focused on the 7,100 students who earned a certificate for passing the course, which
was composed of video lectures, interactive problems, online laboratories, and a
discussion forum. The researchers started analysing the data this course generated
after the end of the course in June 2012 and published the findings in May 2013.
The researchers examined the time spent by the students on the resources, they
looked at who these students were and how their background and capabilities related
to their achievement and persistence and how their interactions with the curricular
and pedagogical components contributed to their level of success in the course.
Student came from 194 countries with the USA, the UK, Columbia and Spain as the
main suppliers. Participation and performance do not follow the rules by which
universities are traditionally organized which was a complicating factor in the
research. A large number of students may not have any interest in completing
assignments and assessments. Of the learners 67% spoke English and 16%, the
next largest group, Spanish.
The focus of the research was on the behaviour of the successful students in order to
identify common traits or behaviours. There was no correlation between motivation
for enrolment and success in the course. Success was defined as in the traditional
college setting, by the grades students earned. One striking observation was that
collaboration with another person, whether a novice or expert, strengthens learning
and in this case led the learner have a predicted score almost three points higher
than someone working by him or herself. Troubling is the low completion rate with
less than 5% of the students who signed up completed the course.
41st SEFI Conference, 16-20 September 2013, Leuven, Belgium
The issues that MIT wants to cover in future research relate to research-based
comparisons of instructional strategies; the social context of education, how to help
students to learn more per unit of time and the more political questions like the
possible certification, changes to the traditional cost structure, access and equity.
2.3 Georgia Tech offers an online low cost alternative [10]
The Georgia Institute of Technology will soon begin offering an online master's
degree in computer science at an unusually low cost. Georgia Tech works with
Udacity, one of the MOOC supplier companies. AT&T is donating $2-million to help
get the program started, and the company will play an active role in some courses,
offering guest speakers or suggesting class projects if the professors agree. The
courses in the program will be free through the Udacity's site, made up of video
lectures and computer-graded homework assignments. Students who want the
possibility of credit or a degree will have to apply for admission to the university and
pay tuition, and those students will get access to teaching assistants and, in some
cases, have their assignments graded by people.
The fees are about $134 per credit, compared with the normal rates at Georgia Tech
of $472 per credit for in-state students and $1,139 per credit for out-of-state students.
The program is expected to take most students three years to complete, and cost
less than $7,000. This sounds like a bargain compared to the regular costs at any US
The university and Udacity will split the revenue from the paying students, with 60
percent going to Georgia Tech and 40 percent to Udacity. The expectation is that
technology will help reduce the cost of instruction without reducing quality. Students
on the degree track will have to take tests in person at one of 4,000 proctored testing
centers run by Pearson VUE. By the end of the three-year pilot, officials hope to have
thousands of students enrolled.
Georgia Tech is unique in that it is trying to reduce costs by adapting teaching for an
online setting rather than simply transferring traditional methods online. An issue
mentioned is the involvement of AT&T in relation to the academic integrity of the
program. AT&T main goal seems to preserve a pipeline of qualified applicants and
not to downgrade the program into a business course. The general opinion is that by
harnessing the power of MOOCs, Georgia Tech hopes to embark on a new era for
higher education and increase the contribution to the development of a highly skilled
work force.
2.4 Open Technical Education Classes for Students from Siemens [11]
To assume that the MOOC phenomenon is a purely academic issue is wrong. Not
only venture capitalists and other businesses try to enter this potential market, also a
technical company like Siemens is interested and launched a MOOC initiative for
students interested in IT, using an informal learning environment within an open
forum. The Enterasys Networks, a Siemens Enterprise Communications Company in
the education and networking field, offers these technical classes at no cost and
provide technical skills in fundamental areas around IP data networking, wireless
technologies and security concepts, all key areas of recognized growth within the IT
sector. Unlike traditional MOOCs, the Enterasys MOOC is self-paced and students
can attend the weekly scheduled module when it is best for them.
41st SEFI Conference, 16-20 September 2013, Leuven, Belgium
The MOOC runs a total of four, sixteen week sections, with eight modules per
course (a total of 32 modules) based on courses like: Data Networking
Fundamentals, Wireless Fundamentals, Security Concepts and IPv6 Networking
Courses are open to all students globally, although the lecture materials are
delivered in English. No background knowledge or prior skills are required, just an
interest in the subject matter.
The communication and transcript tracking mechanisms are all based on Twitter.
Students can view their current course completion transcripts and compare their
ranking to other students via leaderboard statistics. The top student for each
section will be awarded a prize for his/her success. Student interactions among
peers or teachers are based on the Twitter hashtag #ETSMOOC.
Delivering the modules are industry certified instructors, who are versed not only
within the technology for discussion but also across the breadth of wired and
wireless standards and solutions.
Students who successfully complete the section of modules will receive a
Statement of Accomplishment. Efforts are underway to achieve college credit for
attending these MOOCs.
It very much looks like Siemens aims to recruit the best students through this MOOC
initiative and prepare others to maybe join the company, but then well equipped with
knowledge and skills acquired in their own free time. This feels like an innovative
boarding policy to acquire talent on the competitive labor market for engineers.
The four examples of MOOC activities clarify that although the academic world might
be in the lead, it is a shared playing field with very different participants, intentions
and expertise that not always fit, but obviously support the vision that something
promising is going on. For all players goal setting seems to be the most urgent action
to avoid disappointment. Especially the academics are slow decision makers and
have been very reluctant to follow the innovation trail that has been so obvious in
other parts of society. In that sense HEE has not yet positioned herself as an
innovator as such, but that could change since technology is inherent part of the
From the little overview of experiences it becomes clear that online learning will not
work without looking closely and learn from the different initiatives outside traditional
institutions that are developing new business. The need for new and other financial
models and revenue models are evident to meet the needs of new learners in a very
different HE market place. At the same time it is true that Open education will open
up new opportunities for innovation and to explore new online learning models and
innovative practices in teaching and learning. At a national and international level,
new frameworks for HE funding structures, quality insurance and accreditation to
support different approaches and models for delivering higher education will be
required [4]..
Looking at the actual situation the most common revenue stream for the major new
MOOC providers is to charge fees for certificates. EdX is a not-for-profit MOOC
platform but will in the long also need to be self-sustaining. Coursera and UDACITY
are for-profit organisations developing a variety of business models which include
strategies as: selling student information to potential employers or advertisers; fee-
41st SEFI Conference, 16-20 September 2013, Leuven, Belgium
based assignment grading; access to the social networks and discussions;
advertising for sponsored courses; and tuition fees for credited courses [5].
This purpose of this paper was to supply an entry to the MOOC phenomenon and at
the same time feed the discussion in the engineering education field and raise
additional questions. The short analysis clarifies that MOOCs are supposed to have
an important impact in improving teaching and learning and encouraging institutions
to develop distinctive missions. It is also clear that to be successful one needs a
clever design and a well-organized technical and organizational setting to achieve a
viable and sustainable level of innovation.
At this point the main concern is that the online learning hype could very quickly turn
into a solution provider for various kinds of deficits in the European educational
system. The learning providers though are not necessarily European and this means
that the European institutions should take the prospect of being daringly innovative
using their academic freedom and creativity to develop new educational models, new
learning arrangements and new opportunities for knowledge reliance with the
Industry at large [2].
[1] Wikipedia (2013). Massive Open Online Course. Accessed 2013-05-14.
[2] Moropoulou, A. & De Vries, P. (2013). On the Problems, Challenges and
Prospects for the European Higher Engineering Education arising from the Global
Economic Crisis. SEFI. Brussels. In print.
[3] Daniel, J. (2013). Making Sense of MOOCs. Musings in a Maze of Myth, Paradox
and Possibility. Academic Partnership. Pp. 1 22.
[4] Yuan, L. & Powell, S. (2013). MOOCs and Open Education: Implications for
Higher Education. A white Paper. JISC Cetis. London.
[5] Educause, (2012), What Campus Leaders Need to Know About MOOCs, Accessed 2013-05-28.
[6] Jacobi, R., Jelgerhuis, H., Van der Woert, N. (2013). Trend Report: Open
Educational Resources 2013. Surf. Utrecht.
[7] Economist (2012). ‘Free Education: Learning new Lessons.’ Issue 22nd of
December, p.89 90. London.
[8] MOOCs @ Edinburg Group (2013). MOOCs @ Edinburgh 2013: Report.
[9] Breslow, L. ,Pritchard, D., DeBoer, J., Stump, G., Ho.A,.Seaton, D. (2013).
Studying Learning in the Worldwide Classroom. Research in edX’s First MOOC. In
Research and Practic in Assessment. Volume eight, Summer 2013. Pp. 13-25.
41st SEFI Conference, 16-20 September 2013, Leuven, Belgium
[10] Young, J. (2013). Georgia Tech to Offer a MOOC-Like Online Master's Degree,
at Low Cost. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Accessed 2013-5-15.
[11] PR Newswire (2013). Enterasys Unveils Industry-First Massive Open Online
Course (MOOC) Initiative.
Assessed: 2013-06-15.
... The University of Edinburgh launched six MOOCs on the Coursera platform in January 2013 [10,11,12]. The information in this paragraph is obtained from a published report on these MOOCs [11]. ...
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... Learning analytics provides unprecedented level of feedback support to students in a digital learning environment. With learning analytics analysis, researchers could narrow their studies on the satisfaction of students in their studies by measuring how specific interactions affect their learning achievements [19,20]. ...
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Nowadays, the digital learning environment has revolutionized the vision of distance learning course delivery and drastically transformed the online educational system. The emergence of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) has exposed web technology used in education in a more advanced revolution ushering a new generation of learning environments. The digital learning environment is expected to augment the real-world conventional education setting. The educational pedagogy is tailored with the standard practice which has been noticed to increase student success in MOOCs and provide a revolutionary way of self-regulated learning. However, there are still unresolved questions relating to the understanding of learning analytics data and how this could be implemented in educational contexts to support individual learning. One of the major issues in MOOCs is the consistent high dropout rate which over time has seen courses recorded less than 20% completion rate. This paper explores learning analytics from different perspectives in a MOOC context. First, we review existing literature relating to learning analytics in MOOCs, bringing together findings and analyses from several courses. We explore meta-analysis of the basic factors that correlate to learning analytics and the significant in improving education. Second, using themes emerging from the previous study, we propose a preliminary model consisting of four factors of learning analytics. Finally, we provide a framework of learning analytics based on the following dimensions: descriptive, diagnostic, predictive and prescriptive, suggesting how the factors could be applied in a MOOC context. Our exploratory framework indicates the need for engaging learners and providing the understanding of how to support and help participants at risk of dropping out of the course.
... There is also a range of differently designed courses that more or less can be described by the MOOC concept. Nevertheless, it is noteworthy that it is mainly large companies that are active in cooperation with the providers of the platforms (de Vries, 2013), although several articles describe the MOOCs as being highly relevant also for SMEs (Hamburg et al., 2013;NOU, 2014). Two questions that are outside of the scope of this study are first whether the design and pedagogy of open courses will contribute to the fulfilment of an ambition to replace other forms of online course models with open courses, and second whether they will succeed in this or not. ...
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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to analyse if open courses, including massive open online courses (MOOCs), can be used as professional development despite their openness since the openness not only brings together individuals from different organizations but also may make the results of collaboration public. Design/methodology/approach – The setting is eight companies in different sectors and networks, collaborating with Higher Education Institutions in developing open courses in externally funded projects. The opinions of managers and HR-specialists in the companies are investigated and analysed. Findings – The managers and HR-specialists are positive to open courses that deliver professional development. They consider the openness in this kind of course to be of no significant problem. The employee knows what can be shared and what can be kept secret. The conditions are, however, different depending on the kind of company and the kind of inter-company relationship that exists. Research limitations/implications – Several interesting questions arise for future research about the use of open courses as professional development in different categories of inter-firm relationship and trust. Practical implications – If the openness is not a hindrance open online courses would appear to meet the requirement of flexibility; they have the potential of being suitable for professional development for individuals who want to increase their competence, but also as organized professional development in organizations and businesses. Originality/value – This is one of the first studies of the openness as a potential hindrance when open courses including MOOCs are utilized as professional development.
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Bu doktora tez çalışmasının amacı bağlantıcı kitlesel açık çevrimiçi derslerde (KAÇD) etkileşim örüntülerini ve öğreten-öğrenen rollerini belirlemeye çalışmaktır. Bu amaç doğrultusunda araştırmada karma araştırma yöntemi ve sıralı açıklayıcı desen kullanılmıştır. Ayrıca veri toplama ve analiz amacıyla sosyal ağ analizi, görüşme, gözlem ve doküman incelemesi kullanılmıştır. Araştırma bulguları bağlantıcılık, rizomatik öğrenme ve sosyal ağ kuramı bağlamlarında yorumlanmıştır. Araştırmanın demografik bulgularına göre, bağlantıcı öğrenme ortamlarında öğrenenlerin zaman ve mekan bağlamında küresel çapta dağıtık oldukları, çoğunun İngilizce konuşulan ülkelerden katılım gösterdiği, öğrenenlerin %89’unun düşük bağlamlı kültürlerden %11’inin ise yüksek bağlamlı kültürlerden olduğu gözlenmiştir. Katılımcıların çoğunun bir nedenle eğitim alanıyla ilgili veya yükseköğretimde öğrenci veya öğretmen olan bireyler olduğu saptanmıştır. Demografik bulgular KAÇD’larda çeşitliliğin birçok boyutta mevcut olduğunu göstermektedir ve bu bulgular KAÇD’ler için “küresel mega sınıf” ifadesini doğrular niteliktedir. Bağlantıcı kitlesel açık çevrimiçi dersler etkileşim örüntüleri bağlamında incelendiğinde birleşik-sıkı bağları olan bir ağ örüntüsü yapısı gözlenmiştir. Bu türdeki ağ yapısında yer alan düğümler kendi aralarında ve alt-gruplar arasında köprü görevi gören önemli bağlar oluştururlar. Bu ağ yapısındaki öğrenenler sıklıkla iletişime geçme eğilimindedirler ve ortak ilgi alanına sahiptirler. Bu ağ türleri genellikle iletişim ve etkileşimin bir girdap gibi merkeze doğru yoğunlaştığı ve farklı öğrenenleri farklı zaman dilimlerinde içerisine çeken birkaç tane yoğun ve/veya yoğun bir biçimde birbirlerine bağlı alt-gruplardan oluşurlar. Araştırma bulguları ayrıca bağlantıcı öğrenme ortamlarının iletişim ve etkileşim kurmak için az sayıda adım gerektirdiğini, öğrenme ağının Küçük Dünya Fenomeni ve Küresel Köy kavramlarını doğrulayan bir yapısı olduğunu göstermiştir. Azalan öğrenen sayısına ters orantılı bir şekilde ağ yoğunluğu değerinin arttığı gözlenmiş ve öğrenme ağında yoğun etkileşimin olduğu görülmüştür. Düğümlerin derece merkeziliği dağılımı incelendiğinde uzun kuyruk ve güç yasasına uygun bir dağılım gözlenmiş ve bağlantıcı ağların ölçekten bağımsız ağlar olduğu bulunmuştur. Bilginin üretimi ve tüketimi bağlamında öğrenenlerin 80/20 kuralı, 90-9-1 kuralı ve Pareto Yasasındakine benzer bir şekilde hareket ettikleri görülmektedir. Öğreten ve öğrenen rollerinin belirlenmesine yönelik yapılan analiz ve çözümlemelerde toplam 25 rol belirlenmiş, ortaya çıkan rollerden 12 tanesi öğreten, 11 tanesi öğrenen ve 2 tanesi öğreten-öğrenen ortak rolü olarak tanımlanmıştır. Ortaya çıkan roller incelendiğinde öğreten ve öğrenen arasındaki sınırların bulanıklaştığı, öğrenme sürecindeki sorumluluğun hem öğreten hem de öğrenen tarafından paylaşıldığı görülmektedir. Öğreten rolleri öğrenme sürecini kolaylaştırmaya yönelik roller iken, öğrenenlerin öz becerilerini kullanmaya yönelik rolleri üstlendikleri görülmüştür. Anahtar kelimeler: Kitlesel açık çevrimiçi ders, KAÇD, öğreten rolleri, öğrenen rolleri, etkileşim örüntüleri, bağlantıcılık, rizomatik öğrenme, sosyal ağ kuramı, sosyal ağ analizi, karma araştırma yöntemi, karma sıralı açıklayıcı desen, açık ve uzaktan öğrenme, uzaktan eğitim, açıköğretim.
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MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) are the educational buzzword of 2012. Media frenzy surrounds them and commercial interests have moved in. Sober analysis is overwhelmed by apocalyptic predictions that ignore the history of earlier educational technology fads. The paper describes the short history of MOOCs and sets them in the wider context of the evolution of educational technology and open/distance learning. While the hype about MOOCs presaging a revolution in higher education has focussed on their scale, the real revolution is that universities with scarcity at the heart of their business models are embracing openness. We explore the paradoxes that permeate the MOOCs movement and explode some myths enlisted in its support. The competition inherent in the gadarene rush to offer MOOCs will create a sea change by obliging participating institutions to revisit their missions and focus on teaching quality and students as never before. It could also create a welcome deflationary trend in the costs of higher education. Explanatory Note During my time as a Fellow at the Korea National Open University (KNOU) in September 2012 media and web coverage of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) was intense. Since one of the requirements of the fellowship was a research paper, exploring the phenomenon of MOOCs seemed an appropriate topic. This essay had to be submitted to KNOU on 25 September 2012 but the MOOCs story is still evolving rapidly. I shall continue to follow it. 'What is new is not true, and what is true is not new'. Hans Eysenck on Freudianism This paper is published by JIME following its first release as a paper produced as part of a fellowship at the Korea National Open University (KNOU). Both the original and this republication are available non-exclusively under Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY). Apart from this note and minor editorial adjustments the paper is unchanged. Normal 0 false false false EN-GB X-NONE X-NONE
Technical Report
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This report sets out to help decision makers in higher education institutions gain a better understanding of the phenomenon of Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) and trends towards greater openness in higher education and to think about the implications for their institutions. The phenomena of MOOCs are described, placing them in the wider context of open education, online learning and the changes that are currently taking place in higher education at a time of globalisation of education and constrained budgets. The report is written from a UK higher education perspective, but is largely informed by the developments in MOOCs from the USA and Canada. A literature review was undertaken focussing on the extensive reporting of MOOCs through scholarly blogs, press releases as well as openly available reports and research papers. This identified current debates about new course provision, the impact of changes in funding and the implications for greater openness in higher education. The theory of disruptive innovation is used to help form the questions of policy and strategy that higher education institutions need to address.
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The ‘global’ economic crisis has its effect on multiple aspects of our daily lives in all the nation states of the European Union and beyond. In this chapter we would like to take a close look at the consequences of this crisis for European Higher Engineering Education (HEE). In this analysis the focus is on the financial and organizational consequences and the concerns on an educational level. The purpose of this chapter is to clarify the actual situation and at the same time feed the discussion, because with no doubt the current crisis will continue to challenge the educational establishment.
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“Circuits and Electronics” (6.002x), which began in March 2012, was the first MOOC developed by edX, the consortium led by MIT and Harvard. Over 155,000 students initially registered for 6.002x, which was composed of video lectures, interactive problems, online laboratories, and a discussion forum. As the course ended in June 2012, researchers began to analyze the rich sources of data it generated. This article describes both the first stage of this research, which examined the students’ use of resources by time spent on each, and a second stage that is producing an in-depth picture of who the 6.002x students were, how their own background and capabilities related to their achievement and persistence, and how their interactions with 6.002x’s curricular and pedagogical components contributed to their level of success in the course.
Free Education: Learning new Lessons
Economist (2012). 'Free Education: Learning new Lessons.' Issue 22 nd of December, p.89 – 90. London.
Georgia Tech to Offer a MOOC-Like Online Master's Degree, at Low Cost. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Accessed 2013-5-15
  • J Young
Young, J. (2013). Georgia Tech to Offer a MOOC-Like Online Master's Degree, at Low Cost. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Accessed 2013-5-15.
Enterasys Unveils Industry-First Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) Initiative. unveils-industry-first-massive-open-online-course-mooc-initiative-210810221.html. Assessed
  • Pr Newswire
PR Newswire (2013). Enterasys Unveils Industry-First Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) Initiative. unveils-industry-first-massive-open-online-course-mooc-initiative-210810221.html. Assessed: 2013-06-15.
What Campus Leaders Need to Know About MOOCs
  • Educause
Educause, (2012), What Campus Leaders Need to Know About MOOCs, Accessed 2013-05-28.
Massive Open Online Course
Wikipedia (2013). Massive Open Online Course. Accessed 2013-05-14.
Trend Report: Open Educational Resources 2013
  • R Jacobi
  • H Jelgerhuis
  • N Van Der Woert
Jacobi, R., Jelgerhuis, H., Van der Woert, N. (2013). Trend Report: Open Educational Resources 2013. Surf. Utrecht. _DEF%2007032013%20(LR).pdf