higher ed,  MOOC,  openness

Surviving the Day of the MOOC

I gave a keynote for Simon Walker at the University of Greenwich for his Academic Practice and Technology Conference. My talk was entitled "Surviving the Day of the MOOC". I borrowed David Kernohan's image as the front slide, because it seems to me that with all this sudden external interest (MOOCs were even on Newsnight), it feels like an alien invasion.

My talk follows an inverted funnel pattern – starting with my own experience and broadening out to consider the wider design implications and then the general higher education context. The point I end on is that MOOCs are really the most tangible and visible aspect of a broader debate/battle/tension – which is around the role of openness in education. You can see the same thing with open access for instance. And this battle for openness is itself really a proxy for a battle for the future or nature of education. 

At the end of my digital scholar book I made a plea that academics should take ownership of digital scholarly activities otherwise they get taken over by external parties. This was before the big MOOC push and I was referencing publishing as an example. But it was (if I may say so) prescient – it is exactly what is happening with MOOCs, and the very worst thing we can do is ignore it.

It all ended, rather unusually, on a table thumping, go forward kind of note. Anyway, here is the slidedeck:



  • Sleslie

    whoa, did the Ed Techie get a facelift? Seems like it, but maybe it’s just been too long since I visited. Liked the slides. Interested to know – where/how did you get the stats on OU enrollments or requests for prospecti that resulted from the MOOC? I imagine that sort of number is of great interest to lots of folks looking to run MOOCs of their own out of institutional settings. Cheers, Scott

  • mweller

    Hi Scott – one of the good things about hosting in OpenLearn was that they have established tracking across OU systems. As part of the way they justify their costs they can demonstrate how many OU registrations they get from OpenLearn (it is an effective marketing tool). So they could track if people went from the MOOC to other OU systems (we lose people who go elsewhere, but we also ask at registration what brought them there). You are right, I think this is interesting if you want to find a sustainable way of running MOOCs and if they can pay for themselves in terms of formal registrations that’s a pretty good model.
    And the facelift happened about a year ago, but we’ll brush over that 🙂
    BTW – the new version of labspace will be open to all to host material on, as you were asking the other day for NGOs. I’m meeting the team later, so let me know if there are specific things I should ask for

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