Course Development and MOOCs

Ellen Brandenberger is a Master of Education Candidate at the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Technology, Innovation, and Education program. She has done an interesting research on the course developments of MOOCs:

Recently, with the help of folks at HarvardX, and as a project course on MOOCs taught by Adjunct Lecturer on Education Justin Reich, I set out to examine the course development role across institutions in the edX Consortia to determine if it was uniform across institutions, or a label with little meaning or standard definition.

To do so, I conducted interviews of individuals in course development roles at four different higher education institutions that develop courses for the edX platform. These eight individuals sat down with me for 1-2 hours each, and I used semi-structured interviews to explore their roles, responsibilities, and qualifications.

In three blog posts on Inside Higher Ed she has writen 3 blog posts about this research:

More than Blended Learning

More than Blended Learning
More than a jukebox
Today I read about a new initiative of Clive Shepherd about Blended Learning. On campuses around the world there is a lot of attention going to blended learning. Expectations are that it will be the new standard for campus education (replacing the traditional instructor-led classroom teaching).

According to Clive they have developed a whole new way of designing learning interventions. It’s called More Than Blended Learning (>BL):

Blended solutions combine contrasting learning methods and media in order to maximise effectiveness and efficiency. The More Than approach goes a step further to ensure the blend results in application to real-world tasks and the learner is supported along the whole length of their learning journey.

Reading through the PDF and their website it looks like an interesting approach that can be useful for many educators.



TU Delft OpenCourseWare in 2014

Although a lot of attention is going to MOOC, our OCW website is still very alive and kicking. In this blog I will give you a update of our activities.


In 2014 we published 27 new courses. In total we have 150 courses on That is 4 more than last year. Important part of this is that we publish the course materials of our MOOCs on OCW-website. Below is an graph to show the grow of courses since we started.

TU Delft OpenCourseWare in 2014
Grow of number of courses per year

The top 5 of most visited courses in 2014 were:

  1. Analog Integrated Circuit Design
  2. information Literacy I
  3. Delft Design Guide
  4. Bio Inspired Design
  5. Petroleum Geology


The number of visitors is still growing. In the last quarter we had on average 1280 visitors per day. 30% of the visitors are from the Netherlands, the rest is from abroad. Since the launch of the website in October 2007 we had now more than a million visits to the website.

TU Delft OpenCourseWare in 2014
Average number of visits per day

The visits cam from all over the world (221 countries according to Google Analytics). Most visitors, besides the Netherlands, came from:

  1. US (10%)
  2. India (7%)
  3. Belgium (4%)
  4. UK (4%)
  5. Germany (4%)

Although the absolute number of visitors from the Netherlands increased, the percentage dropped from 43% to 30%. So we got a lot more visitors from abroad. There was a big increase from visitors from the US and India. I think this is related to our MOOCs, because that are the top countries for our mooc students.


This year we received the OCW Consortium Award for oustanding website at the Global Conference in Ljubljana.

TU Delft OpenCourseWare in 2014
Martijn Ouwehand receives the award from OCW President Larry Cooperman

Plans for 2015

In 2015 we will make some adjustments to the website. Our planning is to publish 30 new courses.

MOOC has positive effect on on-campus student performance

MOOC has positive effect on on-campus student performance
In September 2013 Arno Smets run the Solar Energy MOOC for the first time. This academic year, he did a rerun of the mooc and at the same time also changed the on-campus course to a flipped classroom. Preliminary analyses showing the positive impact on student performance.

In this report, the first results on the implementation of the flipped classroom concept in the on-campus course ET3034 ‘Solar Energy’ 2014 show an increased efficiency of the performance of the students. The on-campus students spend their time more efficiently, are able to study and master more material and accomplish better grades. Overall higher passing rates are achieved in reference to teaching in classical classroom approach over the period 2010-2013. The majority of the students express that they prefer the flipped classroom approach above conventional teaching methods.

Download report

An Open Education Reader

An Open Education Reader
Cover photo by Shahadat Hossain, licensed CC BY
Last week David Wiley published An Open Education Reader, a collection of readings on open education with commentary created by students in his graduate course Introduction to Open Education taught at Brigham Young University, Fall 2014.

This group of readings was compiled by David Wiley for IPT 515R, Introduction to Open Education, taught at Brigham Young University in Fall 2014. The students in the course, who are listed as contributing authors below, wrote the summaries and discussion questions for each reading included in the book.

This is by no means a complete or final version of this book. We’re sharing it with the community now in the spirit of “release early, release often,” trusting that the community will help correct faults rather than criticize errors. Please leave suggestions for improvement in the comments at the bottom of individual pages, or email them to David.

I really like the concept and appreciate the work of David and his students in the field of open education.


The Battle for Open

The Battle for Open
A couple weeks ago Martin Weller has published an interesting book about open education:

With the success of open access publishing, Massive open online courses (MOOCs) and open education practices, the open approach to education has moved from the periphery to the mainstream. This marks a moment of victory for the open education movement, but at the same time the real battle for the direction of openness begins. As with the green movement, openness now has a market value and is subject to new tensions, such as venture capitalists funding MOOC companies. This is a crucial time for determining the future direction of open education.
In this volume, Martin Weller examines four key areas that have been central to the developments within open education: open access, MOOCs, open education resources and open scholarship. Exploring the tensions within these key arenas, he argues that ownership over the future direction of openness is significant to all those with an interest in education.

Martin Weller is professor of Education Technology at the Open University. If you’re interested in OER, open courses, open journals, or open research in higher education – get the book. It’s free and available in a variety of formats from the website of the publisher.



Weller, M. 2014. Battle for Open: How openness won and why it doesn't feel like victory. London: Ubiquity Press. DOI:

Top Ed-Tech Trends of 2014

Top Ed-Tech Trends of 2014

Since 2010 Audrey Watters, ed-tech writter, spends her December reading through all her articles and making the top ed-tech trends list of that year. It is always a pleasure to read those articles. She does a really great job in catching the trends, although some trends are specific for the US, such as Common Core.

Here is the list of the trends for 2014:

1. Buzzwords

2. The Business of Ed-tech

3. School and "Skills"

4. MOOCS, Outsourcing, and Online Education

5. Competencies and Certificates

6. The Common Core State Standards

7. Data and Privacy

8. The Indie Web

9. Social Justice

10. #Fail

Once again Audrey has done a great job. This year she also published a new book: The Monster of Education Technology. I haven't read the book yet, but it is based on her keynote presentations this year and I enjoyed reading those.

TU Delft at the Wharton Awards

This week I'm attending the conference Reimagine Education conference, organised by QS Stars and the Wharton SEI Center. An important part of the conference is the awards ceremony for the first "Reimagine Education" competition.

In total the organisation received more than 400 proposals. The TU Delft has submitted 7 proposals and 4 of those were shortlisted:

  • Hybrid Learning Category: Policy Analysis of Alexander de Haan
  • e-Learning innovation: First online laboratory for experiments on Drinking Water Treatment of Anke Grefte
  • Teaching Delivery: Arno Smets with his MOOC Solar Energy
  • Enterprise Innovation: Playful Computer Science of Alexandru Iosup

The course of Alexander de Haan even made it into the top 3. Tonight I was honoured to receive the award for runner up in the category of Hybrid Learning on behave of Alexander. Alexander and Fieke, congruatulations for this great accomplishment!

TU Delft at the Wharton Awards

Below is the video Alexander and Fieke made to introduce this course:

7Cs of learning design

Via the EMMA newsletter I read about the 7Cs of learning design, a conceptual framework that combines the Open University’s Learning Design Initiative with the Carpe Diem learning design workshops by the University of Leicester.

The 7Cs are grouped into four categories:

  • Vision
    • Conceptualise (i.e what are you designing and why, who are you designing for?)
  • Activities 
    • Capture (in terms of capturing resources to be used and activities around Learner Generated Content)
    • Communicate (mechanisms to foster communication)
    • Collaborate (mechanisms to foster collaboration)
    • Consider (activities to promote reflection and enable assessment)
  • Synthesis 
    • Combine (combining the activities to give a holistic overview of the design and associated learning pathways)
  • Implementation 
    • Consolidate (in terms of running the design in a real learning context, evaluating, refining and sharing the design).

Each C has a set of Conceptual Learning Designs (CLDs) associated with it.

It looks like a useful model for learning design. The presentation below gives some more information.

Mapping The European MOOC Territory

Tomorrow I'm participating in the conference "Mapping The European MOOC Territory". This conference is organised by the HOME project. This project is about MOOCs the European way led by EADTU.

This conference will focus on the opportunities and characteristics for European cooperation on MOOCs. Authors of selected position papers will present their views, next to the first results of the survey “Benchmarking MOOC strategies in Europe”.

I'm one of the authors to present my paper I have written with my colleagues Timo Kos and Martijn Ouwehand.

In the paper we have posted two clear recommendations for the European Commission:

1. Don’t try to regulate the MOOC development

The MOOC development is still in an infant stage. Every university is currently looking at what it will mean for them and what consequences it will have. At this moment it is too early to regulate the MOOC world. This is all about innovation! Governments should be de-regulating the education world, so there is more space for innovation and step into the open and online world.

2. Think global, act local

Education is becoming a globalized market. Focusing too much on the European situation will mean that you loose the connection with the rest of the world. So be aware of the global developments and help universities to position themselves in it. So think global, but act local!

Below is our full paper to download.

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