MOOCs go mainstream

September 13, 2013 § Leave a comment

MOOC entry on Oxford dictionary.

MOOC entry on Oxford dictionary.

Now it’s official. MOOCs are becoming so popular that even Oxford has included the acronym on its dictionaries. Defined as “a course of study made available over the Internet without charge to a very large number of people”, MOOCs can be more than that, as I mentioned here in many posts. Their flexibility allows students to explore the content any time they want and the possibility to study within a network enable new forms of pedagogy, learning experiences and connections. « Read the rest of this entry »

MOOC Master Thesis

August 1, 2013 § 7 Comments

Moocscloud.bmpAfter some weeks of anxiety, finally the message pops-up on my inbox: my MOOC Master Thesis has been approved by the University!

In almost 8 months, I worked on my thesis entitled Effects of new media technologies in high education: An analysis of pedagogies and learning experiences in MOOCs. Must say it was not easy to research MOOCs. Much of my work was empirical and my main research question was: to what extent are new media technologies creating learning practices online and impacting the traditional model of higher education?

To answer this question, I mainly analyzed and compared four different courses:

1 – Coursera’s ‘E- learning and Digital Cultures’ (EDCMOOC), from the University of Edinburgh;

2 – EdX ‘7.00x Introduction to Biology – The Secret of Life’, from MIT

3 – Udacity’s ‘Introduction to Statistics’ (ST101), by Sebastian Thrun and Adam Sherwin.

4- UvA’s ‘Introduction to Communication Science’, which was the first MOOC from the University of Amsterdam. This blog was a huge help for me to gather and analyze material and comments for this course.

By applying characteristics of new media in online courses, I also asked the following questions concerning teaching, learning, and applications of the theory of connectivism in MOOCs: what kind of interface do open online courses have? Which new media features are being used on MOOCs to transmit knowledge and create assignments?  What is the role of students and professors in a MOOC? To what extent are courses applying the theory of connectivism on their strategies? Could connectivism improve new practices of e-learning?

It was a hard work for me, but also really fun. It was an amazing experience to study so many different platforms and be in touch with many innovative pedagogies. This work also gave me the opportunity to meet great people, online and offline. I hope MOOCs can also inspire future researches, because I believe there are potentials of social, economic, technological and educational matters that can be explored further. In my conclusion, I could verify that it might be unclear how technology will modify higher education, but it will be affected not only by new media, but also pedagogic, economic and social aspects. MOOCs might not threaten higher education degrees but offer students the possibility to be in touch with academic content in many different areas and levels for free. In addition, courses give them mobility and flexibility to choose their own curriculum.

It’s quite a long work, but if if you’re somehow interested in MOOCs it might offer you some insights and answers. You can download the thesis here.

MOOCs on filters

May 28, 2013 § Leave a comment

Fullscreen capture 5282013 63100 PM.bmpThose familiar with the pictorial, mobile social network Instagram might notice that users have several preferences for uploading their pictures: beaches, fashion, cities, food, flowers, clothes, nails… Yes, it can be shallow and Internet culture is already mocking the network with memes and parodies. But what about education? Did the MOOC wave also reach students’  fancy mobile cameras? The answer is: yes!

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Evaluation and motivation

March 20, 2013 § 3 Comments

How students are evaluated in a MOOC? This question is always raised when we start to talk about Massive Open Online Courses. The concept of providing free open courses is amazing, but MOOCs’ credibility still depends on how students are assessed and will successfully complete the course. And indeed, good courses are not only made by excellent professors, but a team of great scholars also helps the course (and the University) to become prestigious. Elite schools still have their diplomas highly recognized by the labour market and academics. Therefore, institutions encounter a challenge when developing a MOOC: how does the quality of the course can be guaranteed, and at the same time, the institution can provide a diploma for thousands of pupils, who have  a wide range of different ages and backgrounds.

the Raven

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Being social in a MOOC

March 8, 2013 § 8 Comments

Social media and digital learning environments are now combined. As part of the MOOC experience, students are requested to join debates and course’s topics on social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter or Google +. The idea is to go beyond the regular e-learning platform, or the virtual class – instructors want to encourage students to learn and share ideas where they feel most comfortable at. I believe this is a great thing about MOOCs. Not only we can learn everywhere, but it is also easier to be in touch professionals/students with similar interests. Have you ever, for example, joined a Facebook Group of a MOOC class? It is amazing what people can share out there.

mooctwitter

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Highlights of history

March 4, 2013 § 1 Comment

I found this week’s UvA MOOC topic fascinating: a short history of communication science. It is interesting and also very difficult to grasp in only eight short videos – a challenge I must say. From Greeks’ sophists to modern media theories in the 19th century, the field has been through many developments. In addition, I found important that the lecturer emphasized again the scope of the course. In the very first video, Rutger de Graaf explains that yes, communication occurred before Ancient Greece, but only during this time there were proper records and studies of communication as a “science”. It is also interesting how uses a specific vocabulary to introduce the student into an academic topic. This is not easy because students have many different kinds of backgrounds. However, more complicated words and expressions such as ‘meta level’ are explained within the speech.

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