Learning about Learning Design and MOOCs

Two upcoming MOOCs (Massively Online Open Courses, in case there are folk still not sure what the acronym is for!) that I have signed up for – though whether I’ll be able to complete them I honestly don’t know yet. It is no secret that my blogging, virtual worlds, and research activity have all slowed down over the last year or so – as I’ve had to put increasing amounts of time into my day job of lecturing. But with some luck I’ll be able to get stuck into these two…

Starting soon, will be the Open University’s Open Learning Design Studio MOOC. The course aims are fourfold:

(1) provide a rich open learning experience for teaching and learning professionals (2) build greater skills and understandings of Curriculum and Learning Design theories and frameworks, with an emphasis on the reuse of OERs (3) help participants appreciate the need for careful educational crafting of learning experience and associated curriculum structures and (4) empower participants to become more effective educators and change agents in their own context.

If I make it through the course, I hope I’ll have developed my own understanding of Learning Design, and be better able to put that knowledge into practice.

The other MOOC is Edinburgh University’s E-Learning and Digital Cultures MOOC that will be offered through Coursera, starting early in the new year. In relation to the connectivism style MOOCs, the Coursera MOOCs tend to be very focussed on core curricula (videos with supporting text resources) with automated grading of multiple choice questionnaires as the principal means of teaching and assessment. The EDC MOOC is interesting because the course team are themselves exploring the principles and practices of MOOCs – as the course authors discuss on the ALT online newsletter:

We are interested in experimenting with the MOOC format to design a course that engages people with the intersection of popular culture and education.  The very debates that have swamped e-learning blogs and news channels concerning the institutionalisation of the MOOC are often underpinned by entrenched ideas about the promise or peril of technology, and it is these narratives we’d like to explore.  While many appear devoted to the idea that digital technology holds the key to attaining an educational Shangri-La, for others its systemisation represents a terrifying challenge to our sense of identification with the learning process.  In this sense, our Coursera offering may connect with the MOOC debate itself, but it will also engage with much broader themes, theories and practices in the domain of education and technology.

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