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Usually, it is the university teachers who develop educational resources for their students. The development procedure presented in this article differs significantly from common processes: Students aged about 15 years (9th grade) were actively involved in the production of videos for a language learning MOOC, which is primarily aimed at university students. The article pursues the question of how and with what effects students were involved in the video production for a language MOOC. We systematically describe the background and processes of the development of the MOOC "Tenses Explained" and the final result. The paper gives insights into the processes and activities of more than 600 participants so far through data from the MOOC platform In addition, the aim is to share the experience in the form of insights in processes as well lessons learned.
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Thomas Murr, Sandra Schön, Martin Ebner
To cite this version:
Thomas Murr, Sandra Schön, Martin Ebner. BY PUPILS FOR STUDENTS: EXPERIENCE WITH
THE MOOC ”TENSES EXPLAINED”. MOOCs, Language learning and mobility, design, integration,
reuse, Apr 2021, Online Conference, Italy. �hal-03225981�
Mooc2Move Conference on “MOOCs, Language learning and Mobility: design, integration, reuse”
9 10 April 2021
Thomas Murr1, Sandra Schön2, Martin Ebner3
1-3Graz University of Technology (AUSTRIA)
2Universitas Negeri Malang (INDONESIA)
Usually, it is the university teachers who develop educational resources for their students. The
development procedure presented in this article differs significantly from common processes: Students
aged about 15 years (9th grade) were actively involved in the production of videos for a language
learning MOOC, which is primarily aimed at university students. The article pursues the question of how
and with what effects students were involved in the video production for a language MOOC. We
systematically describe the background and processes of the development of the MOOC “Tenses
Explained” and the final result. The paper gives insights into the processes and activities of more than
600 participants so far through data from the MOOC platform In addition, the aim is to share
the experience in the form of insights in processes as well lessons learned.
Keywords: learning videos, tenses, MOOC, co-design
MOOCs are “Massive Open Online Courses” for more than 150 participants (McAuley et al., 2010).
MOOCs are referred to as "open" because they are accessible online without formal restrictions, such
as a university entrance qualification, and usually free of charge (see McAuley et al., 2010). In particular,
the model of so-called “xMOOCs”, which are presentation-oriented online courses for many (cf.
Wedekind, 2013), has become widely established: Here, learning videos and material for self-regulated
learning are offered in course form and exchange between learners is supported by forums.
In Austria, the platform of the University of Technology of Graz and the University of Graz went
online in 2014, committed to offering only open licensed courses (Kopp & Ebner, 2013; Ebner et al.,
2016). In this context, “open” in the definition of online course got an additional meaning by offering so-
called open educational resources (in short OER, Schaffert & Geser, 2008; UNESCO, 2019). Unlike in
the US, where MOOCs are seen by (expensive) universities as a way of wooing potential students
(Fischer et al., 2014), the platform has the primary purpose of offering online courses for
everyone: All iMooX courses are offered as free and accessible to all, i.e. there are no access
restrictions; course participation and certificates are free of charge. The courses are aimed at a broad
public and are designed according to the current state of science. The platform is subject to the strict
data protection regulations in Austria and the guidelines of Graz University of Technology; the sale of
learner data or use for personalised advertising - which is quite common with other MOOC platforms -
is therefore excluded.
As all online courses are OER, which is per se a “digital social innovation” (Schön et al., 2017), several
innovative co-operations, course designs and re-usages have been developed within the last years. For
example, Ebner et al. (2020) described seven didactical variations of MOOC usages within a university
lecture. And especially in adult education, iMooX partners implemented several, also award-winning,
“inverse blended learning settings” (Schön & Ebner, 2019; Ebner et al., 2017) because of the possibility
of the wide variety of situations, in which they can be reused. Co-operations of organisations in the
development of courses and their materials are relatively easy to handle concerning intellectual property
rights in a joint project if the results have an open licence and can be (literally) used by everyone.
Mooc2Move Conference on “MOOCs, Language learning and Mobility: design, integration, reuse”
9 10 April 2021
Therefore, a common MOOC as a base for a new lecture in six partner universities for teacher education
is a possible result (Ebner & Schön, 2020).
The iMooX platform offers MOOCs from various Austrian universities, within several fields and for
several target groups; for pupils, students, teachers, educators, researchers to lifelong learners.
Language learners, especially for German as a second language, used one course on online learning
for beginners in particular, which was offered several times (cf. a report from Indonesia by Kharis &
Syafruddin, 2016). In 2019, the first defined language learning MOOC was offered at the iMooX platform
for English learners, called “Tenses Explained”. Before, various other MOOC providers offered language
learning MOOCs, for example linguistics MOOCs by the University of Marburg or others (Wittke, 2020;
Estebas-Vilaplana & Solans, 2020).
At this point, we would like to focus less on the content of the MOOC and its impact than on its creation:
Usually, it is the university teachers who develop educational resources for their students. The
development procedure presented in this article differs significantly from common processes: Students
aged about 15 years (9th grade) were actively involved in the production of videos for a language
learning MOOC, which is primarily aimed at university students.
Therefore, the article follows the following questions to describe a potentially unique case:
How and with what effects were the students from a school involved in the video production for
a language MOOC?
How was the MOOC received by the university students as well other participants?
The aim of this publication is to share the experience in the form of insights in processes as well as
lessons learned.
The following research methods are applied to answer the guiding questions. We systematically
describe the background and processes of the development of the MOOC “Tenses Explained” and the
youth involvement as a sort of case study. We therefore used our documentation of the development
and processes, for example notes, scripts and e-mails as a base for documentation and did some
problem-based interviews with the project leader, who is as well main author, and two students of the
school to recapitulate our memories, experiences and assessments. We as well describe the medium-
term consequences for the students and the school involved. Additionally, we provide a presentation of
the MOOC and an analysis of the participations, using learning analytics figures and features. So far,
more than 600 participants have registered for the massive open online course “Tenses Explained”
which started in May 2020. We also present lessons learnt from all perspectives, including from the
participants about the unique method of learning with the help of younger students from school, which
was positive.
Finally, our case study and MOOC participation will be critically analysed concerning potentials,
challenges and recommendations for imitators. We will also present an outlook on open questions and
future work.
Fig. 1 gives an overview of the development of the project, the complexity of which could not be foreseen
at first and was not planned in this way.
Figure 1: Development of the project and plan over time
Mooc2Move Conference on “MOOCs, Language learning and Mobility: design, integration, reuse”
9 10 April 2021
Thomas Murr, a teacher who teaches English for students at Graz University of Technology and at a
secondary school (BG/BRG Judenburg), is behind the plans outlined. For his university lectures he
wanted to give an overview of the English tense continuum. In a conversation with the Educational
Technology team at Graz University of Technology, it was discussed that there was nothing suitable for
the course or nothing under a suitable licence (Creative Commons). This gave rise to the idea of
producing suitable videos and working on them with the students at school. The initial focus was that
the videos should not be dry and boring monologues, but lively communication. The video team came
up with the idea using the chroma technique, which involves shooting in front of a green screen and
later replacing it with virtual, in our case hand-drawn, backgrounds. The first videos were created in this
way, the pupils had a lot of fun while shooting them, the students at university, who used the videos,
gave good feedback and the idea to produce an entire MOOC on the topic in the same way arose in
conversation with the Educational Technology team.
This time, the scenes were rehearsed for longer and developed together with pupils. As the pupils are
no English natives and learn English as a second language, good, accurate pronunciation and acting
was a challenge which at the same time encouraged their own learning. The less lively and theoretical
parts of the videos were spoken by the teacher. The lively, communicative part came exclusively from
the students. About 15 samples of one hour each were conducted on different dates.
It was a concern and therefore planned in detail that all participating students have the same number of
speaking roles/dialogues and that there are varied conversation constellations for the MOOC
participants, and that all persons also become "familiar" because they appear more often (see Fig. 2).
Due to the different combinations of roles, it was a bit more difficult to coordinate the rehearsal dates.
Fig. 2: Planning the roles and scenes and excerpt from a script
The total of 10 students for the first videos and for the later videos for the MOOC are partly involved in
both projects. All activities were voluntary and took place outside of school hours, but at school - or
during filming at the TU Graz.
The pupils regularly criticised and changed the project leader's drafts of the scripts, and together they
tried to develop successful, everyday dialogues, which at the same time had to be clear and correct
examples of the grammatical content. The students for example realised that a certain dialogue would
not be appropriate for the setting of the video and that they would not greet each other "like this" and
more. Spoken words were also replaced by a handshake or other gestures; interjections such as "oh"
or "yeah" were also inserted by the pupils.
Appropriate consent forms were signed, also by the parents, for the preparation of the filming and the
planned open licences. The recording of the videos with the students took place in the video studio of
Graz University of Technology with a complete support team under professional conditions. The
students got to see all the procedures and processes up close, were wired up, had to be quiet during
recordings, and were always trying to improve or better stage something. The video team reported that
it was fun to work with the students and that they were impressed by their seriousness and good
preparation and discipline in the studio. During the filming, the students were super confident with their
lines, which the team also liked much. At first, they were visibly nervous, but the team's treatment of the
students as fully-fledged actors quickly gave them back their confidence. A concentrated but relaxed
working atmosphere developed. Wiring the microphones and being a professional actor in a professional
Mooc2Move Conference on “MOOCs, Language learning and Mobility: design, integration, reuse”
9 10 April 2021
studio were exciting for everyone. The post-production of the videos was done by the iMooX team, the
MOOC itself was finalised and moderated by the teacher (see Fig. 3).
Fig. 3: Screenshots of the video co-produced with students of the 9th grade (about 15 years old) for the
MOOC “Tenses Explained”. URL: (2020-12-01)
Unfortunately, due to the effects of the Covid 19 pandemic and the associated school closures, the
planned presentations of the project and the MOOC, including a press conference, did not take place.
However, the school proudly reported about it on the homepage and in the annual report (see Fig. 4) ,
and there was an exchange about the project, especially among the language teachers.
Fig. 4: Presentation on the school homepage (left; source: screenshot https://www.brg-, 2021-03-21; and annual report (right, source: BRG Judenburg, Annual
Report 2019/2020)
The presentation had to be limited to descriptions in the school's annual report. Of course, this was a
little disappointing for the young people involved.
For the students at Graz Technical University, the MOOC came at just the right time because of the
lockdown: they had a programme that was tailored specifically to their needs and also got excellent
feedback. In addition, it loosened up the first part of the lockdown phase.
The MOOC started in May 2020 and is still available as a self-learning offer (December 2020). The
target group, apart from the interested public, is about 300 students/semester at Graz University of
Technology (TU Graz) who participate in the university’s regular language learning courses, about 25
courses in English every semester. The levels of these courses range from B1 to C1 according to the
CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages). The MOOC covers the topics of
future tense (will / going to), present tense (simple / progressive) past tense (simple / progressive),
present perfect tense (simple / progressive) and past perfect tense (simple / progressive). The learning
goal is: Participants are able to use the different tenses of English according to the situation.
Furthermore, the participants have a basic theoretical knowledge of the English tense continuum.
Mooc2Move Conference on “MOOCs, Language learning and Mobility: design, integration, reuse”
9 10 April 2021
Fig. 5: Screenshot of the MOOC “Tenses Explained”. URL: (2021-03-11-1)
The MOOC (see Fig. 5) consists of three units, namely 1. future and present tense, 2. past tense, and
3. present perfect and past perfect. Each unit has at least one video and a quiz. After having answered
75% of the self-assessment questions successfully, participants subsequently get an automatic
generated confirmation of participation.
Up until March 2021, more than 600 participants (N=609) registered for the MOOC, where 534 were
active (88%, see Table 1). More than half of the active participants have a positive test result (272, so
51%). Participants who have successfully completed all tests are asked for feedback (evaluation sheet)
and then have the opportunity to download a certificate of participation. This was done by 194 people.
In summary, nearly a third of the registered participants and 36 per cent of the active participants had
positive test results, filled out the evaluation sheet and got a certificate for successful MOOC
Table 1: The MOOC “Tenses Explained” in Figures
Registered participants in MOOC so far (03/2021)
Active participants (at least one activity within the course)
Unit 1 (Week 1) quiz successful
Unit 2 (Week 2) quiz successful
Unit 3 (Week 3) quiz successful
Filled out evaluation sheet
Certificate for successful MOOC participation
Within our interviews, several learning opportunities and experiences were mentioned. In the following
paragraphs, we try to sum up the different perspectives:
For the students at school, the involvement within both project phases, but especially as part of the
MOOC as video actors, shows a significant boost in language and presentation skills as well self-
efficacy. The teacher describes that other teachers have also noticed that the pupils involved - not all of
whom already had a good command of English - clearly benefit from the participation. The students and
Mooc2Move Conference on “MOOCs, Language learning and Mobility: design, integration, reuse”
9 10 April 2021
their teacher said their intonation and pronunciation got better. Second, they are more confident in their
presentations to the class, in English and in German. In addition, they all learned about the processes
and techniques in a professional video studio, especially the green screen technique, which was
previously unknown to them. The teacher also reports that learning the scripts and making appointments
should also have promoted the students' ability to organise themselves.
The teacher described a deep learning experience through the precise and meticulous selection and
development of the language examples for the MOOC. He reported that this also has a lasting effect on
his further teaching and developed working materials. When something is made for a MOOC, there is
little opportunity for learners to ask questions, so examples and materials must be clear, consistent and
short in every case - this is not an easy challenge. He as well said in the interview: "For me, it was also
a completely different way of talking about grammar, as you can find vivid, realistic examples. After all,
it's a 'living foreign language', so it's supposed to be lively." In addition, the teacher also described the
cooperation with the students as instructive and helpful: "They made it clear to me again and again that
communication in everyday life does not always happen like in the textbook". Their suggestions for
change ultimately led to the lively, vivid dialogues for the MOOC. The teacher also describes the insights
into professional video production as enriching and stimulating, especially the video work with
teleprompter and notes with equal measure of self-criticism and satisfaction: "I still think I've made it
worse and speak a bit robotically and stiffly, however it ensures that everything is also 100% perfect. -
Which it has become."
The students at the university and other learners who use the MOOC and all other learners benefit
from vivid, lively and realistic dialogues in humorous animated environments. The fact that not every
pronunciation of every word is 100 percent correct and that the actors are younger than they are adds
a certain lightness: students describe it as motivating that younger, also non-native people show what
they are supposed to learn and enjoy a fresh setting for language learning videos.
The situation and settings found - a teacher teaching at a school and university and an organisational
unit experienced and open-minded in video production and MOOCs is not common. But what can be
said about the challenges? And what recommendations can be given to potential imitators?
Some challenges were mentioned by the teacher and the students:
That there was no fixed rehearsal date.
That the effort for the development of the script and the whole MOOC is enormous for the
The recommendation mentioned was:
In general, video work and production of videos for teaching should be envisaged as a possibility
for English classes or study groups: There is a need for appropriate materials and video
production offers learning opportunities.
Cooperate with a partner who can contribute the expertise that is lacking.
Involve students as partners and equals, especially during filming.
Involve students who are from one class or already friends.
Rehearsals never longer than one hour.
The teacher would also recommend involving more pupils, e.g. for the different tasks and roles
or substitute roles, and thus make the project broader.
The students have emphasised that it was great that the recordings took place in a professional
studio rather than at school.
The teacher has already planned another project involving students in the development and creation of
learning videos in a MOOC. This time the MOOC for students will deal with written communication and
short contributions, e. g. emails. How the materials created so far and the MOOC “Tenses Explained”
will be further used is still open. However, due to the publication as OER, many scenarios are possible,
e. g. a simple repetition, a didactic reuse of the MOOC (Höllerbauer et al., 2017), another variant of
exploitation (Geser, Schön & Ebner, 2019) or even other social innovation (Ebner et al., 2016). When
Mooc2Move Conference on “MOOCs, Language learning and Mobility: design, integration, reuse”
9 10 April 2021
the school students were asked in the interview whether they would be present for another video, they
answered as if shot out of a pistol: Yes!
Parts of the presentation and research on the case study is done in the following project: „iMooX – the
MOOC platform as a service for all Austrian universities” (2020-2023), co-funded by the Federal Ministry
Republic of Austria Education Science and Research.
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ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
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In this chapter, we discuss why open educational resources (OER) and MOOCs are a necessary and powerful combination, especially in German-speaking Europe. We begin with an introduction to open online courses and an overview of copyright law in Germany and Austria. We then describe the evolution of OER MOOCs in Austria and Germany, especially the development of two MOOC platforms. Finally, we present examples of the impact of OER on MOOCs to conclude that an approach combining OER and MOOCs can be very valuable to foster new and innovative didactical approaches as well as future education.
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In the last few years, Open Educational Resources (OER) have gained much attention. From January 2006 to December 2007 the Open e-Learning Content Observatory Services (OLCOS), a project co-funded by the European Commission under the eLearning Programme, explored how OER can make a difference in teaching and learning. The project aimed at promoting OER through different activities and products such as a European OER roadmap and OER tutorials. In this paper we present some results of the roadmap which provides an overview of the OER landscape and describes possible pathways towards a higher level of production, sharing and usage of OER. Moreover, the roadmap provides recommendations on required measures and actions to support decision making at the level of educational policy and institutions. The roadmap emphasises that the knowledge soci ety demands competencies and skills that require innovative educational practices based on open sharing and the evaluation of ideas, fostering creativity and teamwork among the learners. Collaborative creation and sharing among learning communities of OER is regarded as an important catalyst of such educational innovations. The OLCOS project also developed free online tutorials for practitioners. The objective of these tutorials is supporting students and teachers in the creation, re-use and sharing of OER. To promote hands-on work, the tutorials advise on questions such as the following: How to search for OER? Which materials may be re-used and modified? How to produce and license own OER? The tutorials will be accessible and, potentially, will evolve beyond the end of the OLCOS project, because they are published on an open and successful Wiki based platform ( and can be updated by anybody.