MOOCs round-up

Due to the introduction of edX and the start of the MOOC of Coursesites quiet a lot of interesting articles have appeared about MOOCs this last week. Here is a selection:

edX: the day after

EdX logoThe announcement from MIT and Harvard caused quiet some stir around the globe. It even was mentioned in the Dutch media (normally they are not interested in Open Education). A couple of observations and questions I have about this initiative:

  • What's New?
    They made it a big announcement, but if I look at it, the only difference is that they spend a lot of money on it. So what is the fuss about?

  • Platform
    Why do all those Open Education initiative (Stanford, MIT) develop their own platform? Now we have Udacity, Coursera and EdX. The first two provide open education, but are not open-source platforms. EdX certainly is open-source. But there are already a couple of platforms that are used around campuses, which are suitable for Open Education. The Open University UK uses Moodle, Blackboard is doing a MOOC on their Coursesites platform (which is a standard Blackboard Learn with some additional building blocks) and there are more platforms.

  • Sustainability
    MIT and Harvard are both investing $ 30 mln. That is enormous amount of money. It puts Harvard recent announcement about the costs of journals in other perspective. I personally think that with that amount of money you never can get it sustainable. Especially because it get financially self-supporting in a couple of years. It would be much more impressive if they could do this for less then $ 1 mln.

  • Connect online and offline learning
    I'm really interested in the research they are going to do within the project: “research how students learn and how technologies can facilitate effective teaching both on-campus and online. The edX platform will enable the study of which teaching methods and tools are most successful. The findings of this research will be used to inform how faculty use technology in their teaching, which will enhance the experience for students on campus and for the millions expected to take advantage of these new online offerings.”

  • Certification
    In the FAQ they write: "As determined by the edX board, MIT and Harvard, online learners who demonstrate mastery of subjects could earn a certificate of completion, but such certificates would not be issued under the name Harvard or MIT." What does this mean exactly? You will get a certificate, but it is not issued from MIT or Harvard? Is this worth anything?

  • Connect the dots
    I like the concept they announced to connect residential education with OpenCourseWare and Open Education. This is something that is interesting for a lot of brick-and-mortar universities.

  • What do their own students think about it?
    I would be interested to hear what the students of MIT and Harvard think about it. The big question is, what could they have done with 30 mln to improve residential education? In this regard it is interesting to read this weeks posts in The Chronicle.

So, I like the initiative and really appreciate the steps Harvard and MIT are making. But I'm not sure if this is as disruptive as we would like it to be.


edX: platform for online education by MIT and Harvard

Today MIT and Harvard announced a new platform edX. This is a platform for online education:

edX logoHarvard University and MIT today announced edX, a transformational new partnership in online education. Through edX, the two institutions will collaborate to enhance campus-based teaching and learning and build a global community of online learners. 

EdX will build on both universities’ experience in offering online instructional content. The technological platform recently established by MITx, which will serve as the foundation for the new learning system, was designed to offer online versions of MIT courses featuring video lesson segments, embedded quizzes, immediate feedback, student-ranked questions and answers, online laboratories and student-paced learning. Certificates of mastery will be available for those who are motivated and able to demonstrate their knowledge of the course material. 

Below is the official press conference:

Video streaming by UstreamI agree with Susan Hockfield that Online Education is not an enemy of residential education. It offers new possibilities and make higher education better accesible for those who need it, but can't afford it.

I'm a bit jealous in the amount of money ($60mln) they put in this initiative. That certainly helps to get this started and make it into a big succes and maybe even be disruptive.

Overview of the Online activities of #CAM12

Overview of the Online activities of #CAM12

Last week I was in Cambridge (UK) for the 2012 OpenCourseWare Global Conference combined with the UK OER12 conference. Below is a list of online articles, blogs and others that have been published (if you miss an article, please leave a comment or tweet):

There is also an archive of all the tweets and the pictures I have taken. Other pictures are on flickr.

The wordcloud is CC-BY mhawksey.

OpenCourse hosted by Blackboard

Yesterday Blackboard announced the first Free, Open Course on their CourseSites platform:

<p >Please join us in CourseSites for a unique opportunity to learn with Dr. Bonk -- and from each other -- in our first open course focused on increasing student engagement and motivation online. We know your time is valuable and limited, so in this course you choose your level of participation. Whether you simply drop in or fully engage, we hope to see you online!

Course Title: Instructional Ideas and Technology Tools for Online Success

Description: Motivating students and creating community within blended and online learning environments are crucial to academic achievement and success. This open course will provide both theoretical concepts and practical tools for instructors to improve motivation, retention, and engagement within blended and online courses.

Course Objectives
  • Identify and apply relevant motivational strategies and instructional techniques
  • Construct thinking skill options for different types of learners and subjects
  • Design and share innovative thinking skill activities as well as unique cooperative learning
  • Map and apply instructional models and ideas to online learning tools
Course Duration: April 30th- June 4th ( A total of 5 weeks)

Not only is it an interesting subject, but also good to see that Blackboard is taking the initiative to host an open course. I'm certainly participating in the course, not only to learn from Curtis, but also to see how the platform works for an open course.

Global OpenCourseWare Conference in Cambridge

Last year the OpenCourseWare Conference was in Cambridge (Ma, USA) organised by MIT. This year the conference is again in Cambridge, but this time in the 'real' Cambridge as those UK-folks say.

The theme of the conference is Innovation and Impact - Openly Collaborating to Enhance Education. The conference starts on Sunday with pre-conferences and ends on Wednesday. For the die-hards (I'm one of them) there is another conference organised by the Open University of Thursday.

It will be a busy time for me. On Sunday I have a project meeting of my EU-project, on Tuesday we have the OCWC-boardmeeting and I'm asked to make photo's during the conference.

Interesting is that on Tuesday the regional forum of UNESCO is taking place at the conference. This is a preparation for the UNESCO world congress on OER in June.

Banner conference

Trend Report: Open Educational Resources 2012

ReportThe Dutch Special Interest Group Open Educational Resources has written a trend report about Open Educational Resources. The original report was written in Dutch, but is now translate to English.

The authors of the report are:

  • Martijn Arnoldus – Creative Commons NL
  • Cora Bijsterveld – Delft University of Technology
  • Anda Counotte – Dutch Open University
  • Wim Didderen – Dutch Open University
  • Sofia Dopper – Delft University of Technology
  • Ria Jacobi – Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences
  • Ben Janssen – Dutch Open University
  • Hester Jelgerhuis – SURF
  • Ellen Kuipers – Arnhem/Nijmegen University of Applied Sciences
  • Fred Mulder – Dutch Open University
  • Martijn Ouwehand – Delft University of Technology
  • Wilfred Rubens – Dutch Open University
  • Robert Schuwer – Dutch Open University
  • Willem van Valkenburg – Delft University of Technology
  • Steven Verjans – Dutch Open University
  • Nicolai van der Woert – Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre

This report describes the trends in the Netherlands and elsewhere in the field of Open Educational Resources. It comprises twelve articles by Dutch experts in the field of OER in higher education. It also contains twelve “Intermezzos” giving interesting examples.

I would say that this report is a must-read for everyone who is interested in OER. Download the report here.

#iFontys event

Gisteren was ik bij het iFontys event. Dit evenement was georganiseerd nadat zij een jaar geleden bij Fontys gestart zijn met 100 iPads. Het was een goed-georganiseerd evenement dat erg leuk en interessant was.

Erg leuk was dat je bij elke workshop een gadget kreeg. Jammer natuurlijk dat je niet alle workshops kon doen. Dit is mijn verzameling:

iFontys gadgets

Elke gadget is voorzien van een QR-code, die je naar de workshop-pagina leidt.

Natuurlijk was er voor het event een mobiele site gemaakt. Vooral de plattegrond was erg netjes.

Van de workshop en keynote heb ik de aparte blogs gemaakt:

Informatie over alle workshops is te vinden op hun website. Vaak staat hier ook aanvullende bestanden bij.

Al met al hebben ze met iFontys vele leuke pilots gedaan. De grote uitdaging is nu om dit op de schalen naar instellingsbreed. Ik ben benieuwd naar de vervolgprojecten.

#iFontys: Keynote van Erno Mijland

De keynote presentatie werd verzorgd door Erno Mijland. Hij gaf een uitstekende keynote over technologie als katalysator van onderwijsvernieuwing. Zijn presentatie is uitstekend te volgen zonder zijn verhaal:

#iFontys: ePub-bestanden

Deze workshop ging over het maken van ePub-bestanden. Deze eerste vraag is natuurlijk wat een ePub-bestand is. ePub is het formaat waarin e-boeken verspreid kunnen worden. Technisch gezien is het een zipbestand met een index en de content erin.

Een ePub kan voorzien zijn van een DRM om de toegang te beperken. In de workshop is hier natuurlijk niet over gesproken.

Er zijn om ePubs te maken allerlei verschillende programma's. Een heel eenvoudig programma hiervoor is het open-source pakket Sigl. In de eenvoud zit ook de beperking, je kan met de programma lang niet alles doen dat technisch mogelijk is met een ePub-bestand. Andere programma's die genoemd werden zijn Atlantis, Adobe InDesign. Verder is er het handige programma Calibre om bestanden te converteren.

Voor het lezen van epub zijn er voor alle platforms verschillende pakketten: iBooks, FBreader, ePubreader plugin voor Firefox of Stanza.

De tool Sigl is inderdaad erg makkelijk om in te stellen en iedereen kan daarmee een eboek maken. Het grote voordeel van ebooks is dat letters volledig meeschalen met het scherm (zelf kan je dit nog aanpassen), daarnaast kan je hier tegenwoordig ook uitstekend afbeeldingen en video's in opnemen. Wil je echt een stapje verder met bijvoorbeeld toetsvragen e.d., dan zal je toch eerder gaan kijken naar Adobe InDesign.