Doing your research in a MOOC

September 23, 2013 § 4 Comments

Imagine research with no internet...

Imagine research without internet…

You recently started the UvA MOOC ‘Introduction to Communication Science’ (or any other MOOC) and you’re already feeling overwhelmed. So much to learn in a short period of time… Of course, the content available in the MOOC itself it’s enough for you to complete quizzes and the final exam. However, what if you want to explore the topic further? Should you read all texts recommended? Perhaps you’re a professional already and has one specific interest about what other researches are saying about contemporary rhetorical theory… Where should you look? Indeed, there are many sources – from your favorite library to the web. But because MOOCs are mainly online, today I’m going to focus on great open digital resources you can use to enrich your experience in the course.

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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 »

There is more to come: insights about the next UvA MOOC

September 6, 2013 § Leave a comment

Next stop: MOOC!

Next stop: MOOC!

Next Thursday, September 12, the UvA MOOC Introduction to Communication Science will start again. It will be a new version of the course which attracted almost 5.500 students worldwide last February. Personally I am very enthusiastic about it because now I will have more time to focus on content and analyze technical developments. In the first MOOC, I mainly watched videos and completed quizzes for my research. Now I want to use the forum further and also would like to explore the additional material to develop other ideas as well. This will be another way also to evaluate the MOOC in my own perspective as a student and researcher of new forms of pedagogies and e-learning. So, what to expect in this new version?

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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.

UvA MOOC – 2nd edition

May 24, 2013 § Leave a comment

If you still want to enroll in a MOOC about Communication Science, here is a great opportunity: the UvA MOOC will continue on September 12, 2013!

Credit: UvA MOOC

Credit: UvA MOOC

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Students’ thoughts and expectations

April 26, 2013 § Leave a comment

Credit: Karen Horton

After six weeks of lectures about  Communication Science and one week to complete the UvA MOOC exam, students posted many discussions and opinions about the course in the forum and also social networks. Did they enjoy it? Did the course meet expectations? And why did they decide to do the MOOC in the first place? Of course, as this MOOC had more than five thousands enrollments, this is not very easy to evaluate. However, a qualitative approach may introduce some thoughts on the subject, and interesting stories as well.

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The UvA MOOC Exam

April 18, 2013 § 2 Comments

IMG_20130418_193941After eight weeks of lectures, readings and debates about Communication Science, the first UvA MOOC ended with an exam. For many students in regular courses, the exam is the most stressful part of the program. Even for those who study hard, it is not easy to pass through without being worried. And if we consider a course of Humanities (such as Communications), things might be even more difficult. Sometimes there’s no correct answer. We have to deal with many different theories and analyze them in different contexts in order to have best answers.

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