#h817open,  MOOC,  open courses,  OU

Does your MOOC have penguins?

It turns out that there are no less than three MOOCs on open education coming your way. George and Stephen are running one now, David Wiley's one ran last winter and will run again this winter. And very last, I'm running one next March. My one really arose through logic and not a desire to ape George or David (although I do that often enough). I was writing a block of the new Masters level course on Innovation in education, and my block was on open education. I have a strong 'learning by doing' approach, so it made sense for the students on this block to experience it as an open course. So, the course itself is 22 weeks long, and mine is the second block, so for my bit students come out of the protected OU environment and into an open one, and it runs as a mini, self-contained course (in the OpenLearn platform).

After David's blog post the other day, I was joking with him and George on Twitter about competition between the open education MOOCs. In an effort to entice learners I promised that mine will have dancing penguins, booze and fireworks. Through her marvellous drawing skills, Giulia Forsythe visualised this for all of us:

Openness in Education

Okay, I may have slightly oversold it there.

Firstly, I don't think the open ed MOOCs should be territorial or alpha male about the whole thing – we'll each bring different takes on it, and learners will prefer one style to another. It might be a good exercise in all three courses to get learners to compare the three in terms of pedagogy, content, technology.

Secondly, we should turn Giulia's penguin into a badge. Only the penguin badged MOOCs offer something different, either in terms or approach, coverage or activities. As I've mentioned before, the interesting thing about the early MOOCs, was the ability to experiment. This is what is lost in the new wave of industrial, commercial MOOCs. So to differentiate them, the experimental MOOCs can state what is innovative about theirs. So I'd claim that the penguin elements in mine are:

  • Postgrad level
  • Activity based, light collaboration model
  • Hybrid approach to fee-paying and open students
  • Combination of formal university systems and third party services

(I'd like to add badging to this, but there are some internal discussions going on around this, so we'll see).

So, what is the penguin in your MOOC?


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