Hanging with the MOOC boys

Now that MOOCtober has passed, I think it's safe to talk about MOOCs again. 

As I've mentioned I'm experimenting next year with running my block of the Masters Course in Online and Distance Education as an open course. I've wanted to do this for ages, but always been blocked, but now that MOOCs are on everyone's radar, lots of elements have fallen into place that make it possible. This might be a beneficial consequence of the MOOC hype – they create an environment in which experimentation in open courses is encouraged.

My course will run for 6 weeks and is part of the longer 20 week course, H817 Openness and Innovation in elearning. It'll be interesting to see how making part of a longer course open works. My part is on Open Education, looks at OERs, MOOCs, pedagogy and technology.

As part of it I recorded an interview with Dave Cormier and George Siemens talking about MOOCs. We cover the initial idea behind MOOCs, the term itself, the new MOOCs and future directions. It also has an affordances klaxon. I thought I'd share it here too, enjoy! (Thanks to George and Dave for sparing the time for it).


  1. mikejohnson says:

    https://twitter.com/nwin was over earlier for a seminar… was chatting to him after about whether moox (industrial scale or otherwise) are actually anti-developmental on a massive scale because they increase the opportunities for ‘able’ people without taking enough account of those who need more support… just like the ‘old days’ of higher education where those who are already practice ‘deep’ learning take full advantage of a lecture while the rest of the students are there scribbling it down verbatim. These are not easy questions for campus-based courses but with a mooc, with such reduced pedagogic influence, what can be done to address this problem?

  2. Adfig says:

    Hi Martin! I’m curious! xMOOC or cMOOC? Best

  3. mweller says:

    @Mike – hi Mike, yes I’ve had similar concerns. Just as Gold Open Access may end up reinforcing an elite, so might open courses. It now won’t be enough to have a degree but you can show you’ve also taken 10 MOOCs also to get a job, and that might favour people with time to do that (eg if you’re working part-time it’s difficult). But generally I think we have to say open courses that are free to everyone are a good thing.
    @Antonio – I’m not sure where mine fits in that distinction. In pedagogy it is very activity and collaborative based so more cMOOC, but it’s also a ‘proper’ university postgrad course (or part of one), so a bit xMOOC in that sense. That’s a good thing I think, we want lots of different models and as George argues in the video one of the dangers of the xMOOC platforms is that it ties us into one model.

  4. Hegibson412 says:

    Hello, I’d be very interested in doing your six week course! I am an AL with the OU and would have loved to have done the full course but circumstances prevent it this year. Where is the 6-week version?

  5. mweller says:

    Hi Heather,
    it’ll be over in Openlearn (http://www.open.edu/openlearn/), but it’s not up yet. It’ll run in March, keep a look out here for further details, we’d love to have you.

  6. Half Luke says:

    Hello Martin,
    I read your post and I was interested in following your course… until I noticed that Open University would charge the usual fees. What did I get wrong? I thought it was free…

  7. mweller says:

    Hi Luca
    the full Masters course is charged at normal rate, but I’m running my section of it, which is 7 weeks long and focuses on open education as a MOOC. Hope that helps.

  8. halfluke says:

    Hi Martin,
    actually I mean your specific module, it’s still charged on the Open University website…
    Do you mean your section is free only when attended in person? Sorry about my confusión.

  9. mweller says:

    Hi Luca – the module is 30 weeks long, and yes that is charged at full rate (as it has tutor support, assessment etc), but my block of that module is 7 weeks and that runs as a mini course in the open. Hope that clears it up.

  10. halfluke says:

    ah ok now I understand thanks :)
    Hmm… and where can I access your block? Unfortunately I really can’t afford a full module with Open Uni right now

  11. mweller says:

    Just putting the finishing touches to my block, hope to put up a registration page soon. It’ll start in March, so watch this space.

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