On Friday a group of us from OCSLD ran a session with the university’s Minerva, Learning Technologists, and Associate Teachers groups, to talk about MOOCs (massive open online courses).

You can see our slides here: – we talked about our experiences with running our first MOOC, First Steps in Learning and Teaching (#fslt12 – you can sign up for #fslt13 here), and about using open educational resources and the flipped classroom, and we asked our colleagues to discuss their own thoughts about MOOCs, and how Brookes might engage with the MOOC ‘revolution’.

I promised to write up and circulate the notes I scribbled on the white board as the debate continued, but they’re only a shadow of a really rich and fascinating discussion – we were still in full flow at the session’s scheduled end time, and certainly in the OCSLD office, we’re still talking about this.

In no particular order, here are the things I wrote down in an attempt to summarise people’s points:

  • Cynical about MOOCs
  • Wikipediarisation of learning
  • Trust issues
  • Relationship with potential students
  • Alumni could be expert participants (MOOLE — massive open online learning experiences = lifelong learning for the MOOC age?)
  • Community engagement pre- and post-university
  • Need to resource this and help/eduate people in how to do it
  • What are our relevant institutional policies?
  • Workload pressure – takes time to do it well
  • Reputational risk versus reward
  • On some MOOCs, the best testimonials have come from ‘non-traditional’ audiences
  • Our expertise has commercial value
  • Why us instead of MIT?
  • In some areas we have existing prestige
  • Focus on the things people come to Brookes for
  • Relationship with professional bodies
  • Test the market or research new markets
  • Cover costs through assessment – choice of exam / no exam
  • Need to design (help design) quality interactions – harder in MOOCs?
  • Global citizenship – how far can we go? MOOCs are mostly within US/Canada/Europe at the moment
  • Short videos (e.g. Khan academy – 10 minutes each)
  • MOOCs for general academic skills (e.g. academic writing, study skills)

About the author

Elizabeth Lovegrove

Liz works in OCSLD developing, supporting and teaching on online courses. She also researches and teaches in the Oxford International Centre for Publishing Studies.

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