Saturday, March 16, 2013

MOOCs with Books at BarCamp Canberra

Greetings from the Inspire Centre at the University of Canberra where BarCamp Canberra 2013 just started. This is an "un-conference" with a more spontaneous presentations. My talk on how to blend traditional and on-line education last week in Sydney went well, so I thought I would do an expanded version today.

What is a MOOC?

  1. Massive: 100,000 students or more. Australia's large university has less than 50,000 students.
  2. Open: No scholastic or financial barrier to enrollment. Materials may also be  open educational resources.
  3. On-line: Materials delivered and students interact via the Internet.
  4. Course: Similar in size to an Australian university subject of about a 12 week semester one quarter full time student load (a US course). But does not provide a credential on completion.

Some MOOC Suppliers

Some MOOC Courses

  1. Harvard edX CS50x: Introduction to Computer Science 

  2. MIT edX 6.00x: Introduction to Computer Science and Programming (uses a textbook)

Software and Training for MOOCs


  1. Massive: Systems and software need to scale to deliver materials, provide automated student support and ways for students to interact.
  2. Open: Wider range of students will need more help. Ways for students to find their group needed.
  3. On-line: Ways to support students who have limited and intermittent Internet access are required.
  4. Course: Will need to integrate with conventional university programs or create a whole new on-line university system. Ways to credential students on-line required.

Traditional Teaching On-line

  1. Books: Course content provided in a down-loadable standalone structured module (textbook), using existing e-Book formats (web, Moodle Book Module, EPUB, IMS Content Package).
  2. Formative Feedback: Short tests can be used to aid learning by student.
  3. Groups: Students can be formed into groups for mutual support, on-line and off-line.

How Books Can Help

  • On-line courses tend to present material in small chunks which the designer decided
  • A book provides a carefully structured set of materials for the course, which can be used off-line.

How Software Can Help

  1. Massive: Develop plug-ins and upgrades for free open source systems, such as Moodle and Mahara, to allow the to handle millions of students.
  2. Open: Develop software which uses existing e-learning and e-book standards (web, Moodle Book Module, EPUB, IMS Content Package, SCORM Package).
  3. On-line: Develop off-line support for e-learning, using mobile devices.
  4. Course: Develop software which supports an integrated program, course module development process, not just delivery of isolated courses, so students get an education which meets community standards.

More Information

  1. Demonstration of Using Moodle for Postgraduate Professional Education with eBooks and Smart phones
  2. A Green Computing Professional Education Course Online 
  3. Demonstration of Using Moodle for Postgraduate Professional Education with eBooks and Smart phones
  4. On-line Professional Education For Australian Research-Intensive Universities in the Asian Century
  5. Synchronizing Asynchronous Learning: Combining Synchronous and Asynchronous Techniques

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