Interest in MOOCs increasing

4058757916_1f44fe29b1These past weeks I have been approached by three-four professors/departments that are interested in learning more about how they can go about start producing MOOCs. This makes me feel like I have a very rewarding job! Teachers have started to see the benefits of learning to teach in an open virtual environment, not only in order to promote their own subject and spread knowledge about their research area or attract more students to their courses/programmes, but also (and perhaps even more so) to develop as teachers, find new ways to help their students learn and make their teaching more effective and to produce qualitative material that can also generate value for our ”own” regular students. Many have heard of the flipped-classroom-technique and are interested in changing their curriculas in ways that can give their students more valuable time in the classroom. Today I had a chat with a professor who talked about changing the whole way in which he and his colleagues have looked upon teaching, and that MOOCs could be the spark that could initiate a discussion around how we teach with new tools and technologies. I feel very privileged to get the chance to talk to teachers that sincerely love what they do and want to give their students (and others around the world) a chance to learn more – and better – about their research areas.

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Anna, Peter, Mia and Lena finishing up our meeting

Yesterday we arranged the second project meeting for the semester. Because of illness and other things we were a small but enthusiastic group this time and as always, a lot of time was spent on discussing pedagogy and course design (in this case for assessment and grading) and we didn’t get around to tick off all the items on the agenda. But that is also a very important function of these meetings – they should be a space for such discussions and for exchanging good ideas and experience between teachers, librarians, coordinators and others. We did however get the chance to discuss our checklist for quality assurance rather extensively. We are working on a list with questions regarding quality aspects of MOOCs – inspired by the quality assurance process for OpenUpEd’s quality label – that could be used for self-reflection around quality in our courses. Yesterday we discussed the target group for the document and how it should be used. The project group members were concerned that it could be used just as a checklist with items to be ”ticked off” rather than as a basis for reflection and discussions within and between teams, and concluded that the list should be a ”work in progress” that could and should be discussed and revised between each course session. We will need to decide upon a date when we have reached a stage at which we can have a relevant discussion around these questions and how they relate to the decisions the teams have made for their course design in the first session of their courses.

We also talked about our next joint activity. Since all the teams are thinking of doing Google hangouts in their courses, in a couple of weeks we will arrange a workshop on this.  A Google Hangout is a kind of video conference were 10 people can join with audio and video but others can join and watch/chat (if you do it ”live”, via Youtube). We are very much looking forward to learning more about this tool.

Om Marita

I am an assistant professor in Chinese at the Centre for Languages and Literature, Lund University. For the past couple of years I have been working at Lund University Centre for Educational Development (CED), mainly with projects and support activities for teachers regarding online teaching and learning in higher education such as visual learning media, online learning environments, digital tools for teaching etc. SInce February 2014 I manage the Lund University MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) project.
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