MIT and Harvard working papers on EdX

Earlier this week MIT and Harvard University announced the release of a series of working papers based on 17 online courses offered on the edX platform. The working paper series features detailed reports about individual courses; these reports reveal differences and commonalities among massive open online courses (MOOCs).

The papers analyze an average of 20 gigabytes of data per course and draw on interviews with faculty and course teams as well as student metrics.

Key Takeaways
Takeaway 1: Course completion rates, often seen as a bellwether for MOOCs, can be misleading and may at times be counterproductive indicators of the impact and potential of open online courses.

Takeaway 2: Most MOOC attrition happened after students first registered for a course. On average, 50 percent of people left within a week or two of enrolling. After that window, attrition rates decreased substantially. The average probability of a student ceasing to engage in the second week of the course declined to 16 percent.

Takeaway 3: Given the “massive” scale of some MOOCs, small percentages are often still large numbers of students — and signify a potentially large impact.

More information on their websites:

Also interesting to read is the review of Tony Bates.

Beyond MOOCs: Sustainable Online Learning in Institutions

The guys from CETIS have written an interesting white paper on the next phase after MOOCs:

The key opportunity for institutions is to take the concepts developed by the MOOC experiment to date and use them to improve the quality of their face-to-face and online provision, and to open up access to higher education. Most importantly, the understanding gained should be used to inform diversification strategies including the development of new business models and pedagogic approaches that take full advantage of digital technologies.

According to the authors three key themes emerge from the MOOC experiment:

  • Openness – new approaches to online learning, including models for scalable provision that may generate revenues, and promote open learning, which goes beyond institutional boundaries through the use of online communities. [Increasing impact & long term, likely for most institutions]

  • Revenue models – different revenue models taking the established ideas from technology start-ups, such as applying the concepts of freemium and premium offers into online learning, providing institutions with new ways of thinking about marketing and income generation. [High impact & medium term, more likely for institutions looking for new revenue streams]

  • Service Disaggregation – experimentation with business models that include unbundling and re-bundling of courses and delivery related services, such as offering paid for assessment and/or teaching and support, on top of free online course content. This may have a wider impact across institutions in the future through better deployment of existing resources to add value to customers where there is greatest benefit and to reduce costs through outsourcing (unbundling is already happening independently of MOOCs). [High impact & short term, likely for most institutions]

Institutions should consider exploring a set of opportunities that have been brought to the attention of mainstream education by MOOCs, and experiment with new approaches for developing technology-enabled changes in teaching and learning to improve opportunities for individual learners.

Download the white paper.

EP Hearing "New technologies and open educational resources"

Last monday I attended a public hearing of the committee on Culture & Education of the European Parlement. The subject of the hearing was "New technologies and open educational resources". I was nominated as expert by the MEP Marietje Schaake of the ALDE group. There were three experts selected to present their intervention on the subject.

  • Are European education institutions ready to welcome OER and ICT-related innovation?
    Presentation by Mr Claudio DONDI, Member of the advisory group to the Commission on Opening up Education, MENON, European network for research and innovation (summary)
  • The future of education is online
    Presentation by Mr Willem VAN VALKENBURG, Coordinator of TU Delft Open Education Team, TU Delft
  • Opening Up Education – Noble goals, important demands, effective measures? A critical assessment of the initiative and options for increasing acceptance and effectiveness in secondary education
    Presentation by Mr Harald MELCHER, Managing director at educational publisher m2more GmbH, Berlin (summary)

Here is the presentation that I used:

The complete hearing is also recorded and available online.

An important change I noticed is that the discussion on online education is less about why we should do this and more about how Europe can help. That is an interesting and good discussion. The new Erasmus+ programme is also more focused on this. In Erasmus+ the European Commission is specifically looking for impact of a project proposal.

World Economic Forum launches Forum Academy

This week the yearly world economic forum in Davos is taking place. One of the announcement is the launch of Forum Academy. They do this in a partnership with EdX and will use the Open.EdX platform:

Davos, Switzerland, 22 January 2014 – The World Economic Forum today launched Forum Academy, an online learning platform, in partnership with edX, a non-profit initiative created by founding partners Harvard University and MIT for online education. Forum Academy will provide continuous leadership development and updating, offering courses for professionals and organizations to enhance their strategic knowledge in a fast-changing world.

Forum Academy will:

  • catalyse an online global learning environment for continuous and certified professional development
  • create a world-class curriculum, providing cutting-edge global, regional and sectorial knowledge
  • establish a network of academic and other members to develop standards, best practices and joint certification models

As rapid technological, economic and social changes affect the context of professional work, there is a pressing need for insights into the latest developments and best practices on relevant topics. Forum Academy will help to address this need for yearly certified updates on the latest professional developments, leveraging the Forum’s worldwide multistakeholder network of the best and most relevant knowledge providers. The professional leadership courses will focus on specific global issues and industries. It will also focus on regional developments and provide updates related to professional and technological issues.

This is another interesting platform that is using Open.EdX. I think it is a very good development that more organisations are using the platform. This will improve the platform and strengthen the EdX Consortium.

TU Delft starts Extension School for online education

A small but import step for Delft University of Technology. Today we announced the appointments of a Dean of Open and Online Education and a  Director of Education for Open and Online Education:

The Executive Board of TU Delft has appointed Professor Rob Fastenau, Dean of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science as Dean of Open and Online Education. Dr Ernst ten Heuvelhof, Director of Education in the Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management is to take on the role of Director of Open and Online Education.

Together they wil lead an innovation programme to realize the strategy of TU Delft for the next phase of open and online education. Within two years, we will realize a Delft Extension School, based on the model of the Harvard Extension School, in which the open and online education is offered to students from around the world.

In this new extension school we will bundle all of our existing activities, such as OpenCourseWare, DelftX, Online Distance Education and Blended Bachelor programmes, and will expand this with new online and blended courses. I will be responsible for the production and delivery of all this courses. An interesting and exiting new challenge for me and our team.

Media-aandacht voor online onderwijs op de TU Delft

Afgelopen woensdag zat minister Bussemaker van onderwijs bij De Wereld Draait Door om te praten over de brief die zij naar de Tweede Kamer heeft gestuurd (persbericht). In 13 minuten is dit besproken:

Full story » in 2013 in 2013

2013 has been a busy year for me. Looking back at my blog it suprised me that I still managed to blog 101 posts (including this one) this year. That is one more than last year.  I had the idea that I didn't blog enough this year. The image above shows a Wordle of all the blog titles of my blogs. It is a good representation for the activities I worked on this year. Yes, it was all about MOOCs! ;-)

In the beginning of 2013 my university announced that we joined the EdX Consortium and I was assigned with the task to make some MOOCs. And we did: in September the first two DelftX moocs started and in March/April 2013 three more will start.

The MOOCs have been an accelerator for online education at Delft, which let to a new and ambitious plan for Open and Online Education (O2E). So also in 2014 I won't have time to procastinate or to be bored.

My personal highlight was my election as Board Member of the OpenCourseWare Consortium. I think it is a great honour to serve on the Board of organisation that trully believes in Open Education and everyday shows the potential and results of this. We have more than 40,000 courses listed on our catalog!

Online Course Design Guide

The research and production behind the Online Course Design Guide is a collaboration between the MIT's Office of Educational Innovation and Technology (MIT-OEIT) and the New Media Consortium (NMC):

to support instructional designers, educators, and facilitators in the development and implementation of online courses. Each section of the guide contains critical information, recommendations, examples, checklists, and resources for further exploration to create and deliver effective online learning experiences.

Download the report (PDF) or go to the website.

Via: Brandon Muramatsu

SURF bestuursreis Open Education

Dit najaar is een groep van Nederlandse onderwijsbestuurders naar de VS geweest:

Tijdens de studiereis bezoekt de delegatie bestuurders uit het Nederlandse Hoger Onderwijs elf toonaangevende organisaties op het gebied van open education in Washington DC, Boston en New York.

Tijdens de reis is er elke dag een verslag gemaakt. Deze verslagen zijn nu gebundeld tot één document.

De conclusies van de studiereis zijn:

  • Open en online onderwijs, in de vorm van MOOC’s of in andere varianten, is een onvermijdelijke ontwikkeling, waar, met name in de Verenigde Staten, met veel passie en veel middelen in wordt geïnvesteerd.
  • Het open beschikbaar stellen van kennis is geen bedreiging, het biedt juist toegevoegde waarde en zorgt voor doorbraken. Redenen om te investeren in open en online onderwijs zijn reputatie en educatie:
    • De kwaliteit van onderwijsmateriaal en de kwaliteit van docenten wordt zichtbaar;
    • De instelling wordt zichtbaar als speler in de internationale online wereld;
    • Dat kan talentvolle studenten en docenten aantrekken en nieuwe samenwerkingspartners in onderwijs, onderzoek en MKB en industrie opleveren;
    • Doordat het onderwijsmateriaal in (internationale) dialoog kan worden (door)ontwikkeld kan de kwaliteit ervan verbeteren;
    • Doordat er op basis van (big) data onderzoek kan worden gedaan naar de effectiviteit van verschillende onderwijsconcepten (learning analytics), kan de kwaliteit van het (campus)onderwijs verbeteren;
    • Open en online onderwijs kan een belangrijke rol spelen in het kader van levenlang leren en internationalisering van het onderwijs.
  • Nederland heeft een uitstekende uitgangspositie om in te zetten op open en online onderwijs:
    • Het hoger onderwijs beschikt over een state of the art infrastructuur voor onderwijs en onderzoek;
    • Het onderwijs in Nederland is al sterk internationaal georiënteerd en beschikt al over een breed Engelstalig onderwijsaanbod.
  • Om deze uitgangspositie te benutten moeten instellingen serieus investeren in de ontwikkeling van online onderwijs.
  • Het zou helpen als de overheid zich krachtig zou uitspreken voor open en online onderwijs, zorgt voor het wegnemen van barrières in wet en regelgeving, innovatie en onderzoek stimuleert en ruimte biedt voor experimenten.
  • Open en online onderwijs biedt goede mogelijkheden voor kennisvalorisatie. Ook kan de zichtbaarheid van de kwaliteit van het Nederlands hoger onderwijs een belangrijke bijdrage leveren aan de positie van Nederland als kennisland. Aansluiten bij de topsectoren en samenwerking met het bedrijfsleven liggen daarbij voor de hand. Open en online onderwijs kan ook een programmatische rol spelen in ontwikkelingssamenwerking.
  • De docent speelt een sleutelrol in deze ontwikkeling, en moet worden gefaciliteerd in:
    • Professionalisering in succesvolle didactiek van online onderwijs;
    • Samenwerking met (internationale) vakgenoten;
    • Technische randvoorwaarden en voorzieningen.
  • Didactiek van open en online onderwijs zou moeten worden opgenomen in de Basis- en Seniorkwalificaties Onderwijs en worden geïntegreerd in de lerarenopleidingen.
  • Open en online onderwijs biedt mogelijkheden om effectief leren te ondersteunen met bijvoorbeeld:
    • Onderwijs dat is opgedeeld in kleine segmenten met oefeningen;
    • Vormgeven van mastery of learning, de student heeft de beschikking over voldoende oefenmateriaal en kan door naar een volgend niveau als hij de stof beheerst;
    • Snelle feedback en peerfeedback;
    • Gepersonaliseerde leerpaden;
    • Learning communities
  • De snelle ontwikkelingen vragen om actie, leren door te doen, waarbij belangrijke uitgangspunten zijn:
    • Sluit aan bij de eigen onderwijsvisie en laat open en online onderwijs die versterken;
    • Investeer in (gezamenlijke) analyse vanresultaten en succes.
  • Samenwerking kan meerwaarde bieden bij het ontwikkelen en uitwisselen van kennis en het delen van praktijkervaringen zoals nu gebeurt binnen SURF, bij het aanpakken van vraagstukken over bijvoorbeeld het certificeren van open en online onderwijs en het erkennen van open en online onderwijs in het eigen curriculum, en bij het in samenwerkingsverbanden ontwikkelen van online onderwijs.
  • Voor internationale kennisuitwisseling op open en online onderwijs biedt het OpenCourseware Consortium een uitstekend podium.
  • Binnen ‘coalitions of the willing’ kunnen instellingen werken aan innovatieve manieren om online onderwijs vorm te geven.

HTML5-apps in het onderwijs

HTML5 is een technologie die volop in beweging is. Het is toepasbaar binnen nieuwe toepassingsgebieden voor onderzoek en onderwijs. SURF heeft een uitstekend rapport hierover geschreven. Het rapport is een technologieverkenning naar de mogelijkheden van HTML5 bij het maken van apps voor mobiele apparaten.

Download rapport (PDF)

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