Today TU Delft Solar Energy professor Arno Smets received the first edX Prize for Exceptional Contributions in Online Teaching and Learning at the edX conference in Paris. Arno is the professor of two of our MOOCs: Solar Energy and Sustainable Energy. Solar was our first MOOC we offered on edX. From the beginning that MOOC has been our most popular course:
The edX Prize recognizes a teacher who has demonstrated a commitment to the open and online education community and who has taught high-quality courses that continue to inspire and encourage edX learners everywhere. Professor Smets’ course, Solar Energy, is rigorous and challenging, but designed for learners at all levels. Through this course, Professor Smets has reached almost 150,000 learners globally and is helping to pave the way to a more sustainable world.
On campus Arno also has been a champion for our online learning programme. This blogpost of edX gives a great overview of Arno's activities.
Off course, we are very proud of Arno. As a true champion Arno gives us credit for the success as well, becuase making a MOOC is a team effort:
Last year Creative Commons started a project about Open Business Models. At the OpenEd16 conference Paul Stacey of Creative Commons presented some of the results of this project. The full results will be published in a book in the beginning of next year:
In the summer of 2015 Creative Commons ran a successful Kickstarter campaign raising funds to write a book about open business models made using Creative Commons. With the help of backers, and through an open public call, Creative Commons identified businesses and organizations from around the world and across all sectors who have successful Creative Commons based open business models. From that list twenty four were chosen to interview, profile, and analyse.
Interesting part of his finding was that in most discussion the commons has disappeared. It is only about market versus the state. The commons is a general term for shared resources in which each stakeholder has an equal interest.
Why should market engage with commons?
He showed an extensive list of benefits of Commons over Market as shown in the image below:
According to Paul people who engage in the commons can feel empowered through participatory engagement, no need for permission. A good example of this is wikipedia.
The market can also engage in the commons, but it is important that they do this based on some principles:
give more than you take
transparency - about what using, wat adding, what monetizing
give attribution & gratitude
develop trust - don't exploit
defend the commons
One of the examples he mentioned was OpenDesk. Their company is based on a completely different approach to design furniture. Opendesk is a global platform for local making. You can use it to download, make and buy work space furniture. They have open designs on their website, which you can adopt and change. If you design is ready, they have local partners that can make your design. You cut out the mass production and distribution costs.
In the book that is coming out next year, they have 20 case studies of companies that are based on an open business model (including a couple of Dutch organisations).
We are looking for a hands-on PhD candidate in the field of engineering education as part of a Knowledge Alliance on the Professional Roles and Employability of Future Engineers in the Erasmus+ programme. You will design, implement and evaluate curriculum elements for engineering programmes on both the BSc and MSc levels to prepare students for their future careers. The premise of the project is that every engineering graduate has a natural preference for certain professional engineering roles. Discovering one’s preferred roles and enhancing the required skill portfolio for these roles will enhance employability.
The PREFER project (Professional Roles and Employability of Future EngineeRs) aims to reduce the skills mismatch in the field of engineering: new engineering graduates frequently display a lack of transversal skills required by the labour market. Enterprises observe a lack of self-awareness among new engineering graduates of who they are as an engineer and what their strengths are. Despite appropriate levels of technical skills, enterprises recruiting engineers often demand a more elaborated transversal skill set.
The objectives of the PREFER project are threefold. First, we aim to construct a Professional Roles Framework wherein the different roles engineers can take on in the beginning of their career are described, independent of the engineering disciplines (e.g., electronics, chemistry, ..). Each role will be characterized with an associated set of transversal skills. Thereafter, a Test System will be developed in order to (1) increase engineering students’ awareness of the multitude of professional roles in engineering and (2) to make them reflect on their own engineering identity and their interests, strengths and weaknesses. Third, we will explore how to implement these innovative tools into the engineering curriculum by running a number of pilots in the participating universities. This will result in a modern learning environment that ensures that people can develop their own talent in full on the basis of informed study and career choices.
In order to reach the PREFER objectives, a well-balanced consortium is constructed. Three leading engineering education institutions (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Delft University of Technology and Dublin Institute of Technology) and three multinationals with large experience in recruiting different profiles of engineers (Engie, Siemens and ESB), are involved. In order to develop reliable and valid test material, an experienced test development partner (BDO) is a member of the team. And finally, we will guarantee a large European network thanks to three Societies of Engineers (ie-net, KIVI and Engineers Ireland), one national sector federation (AGORIA) and two European societies (SEFI and FEANI). They play an essential role in connecting higher education institutions with a large number of companies and SME’s hiring engineers.
As part of a panel discussion at OpenEd16 conference on the future of Open Educational Resources I was asked to write an article. As we all know it is difficult to make predictions especially about the future.
Today the great folks of OERhub launched an open text book about open research. The book is based on two iteration of an open course they have run in the past:
This resource will help you explore what open research is, how you can ethically and openly share your findings so others can reuse or develop your work, and the role of reflection and open dissemination. Whilst many challenges and issues apply to all aspects of research (for example choosing an appropriate methodology), open research brings a range of different opportunities and challenges; it’s these that we are specifically interested in exploring. What can openness add to the research process?
The book has 4 main chapters:
Ethics in the Open
Reflecting in the Open
Although I haven't read the complete book, it looks interesting and a must read for every researcher!
As part of their Open Leadership Fellowship Amanda Coolidge (BC Campus) and Daniel DeMarte (Tidewater Community College) have developed an OER Policy Development Tool. The contents of the tool are intended to be adopted and adapted for use within a college or university’s culture. The OER policy tool is organized in three sections:
OER Policy Assumptions
OER Policy Components
OER Policy Resources
The tool seems like a very useful tool for many institute around the world. Currently is uses the data of 6 policies. If you know others, please let them know.
A good suggestion would be to add text that can be added to other policies on OER. For example as part of HR policy, IP policy etc.
Personally I think that metaphor oversimplifies the process of a learner and it doesn’t help to solve the challenges that many universities face regarding their educational technology. A couple of reasons why it is flawed:
Not all educational technology tools that are used as part of the learning experience are created equally, there is much more variety in the ‘bricks".
Just sticking bricks together doesn’t make it a learning experience. The flow and interactive design are important.
Accessibility is much harder to guarantee, especially if instructors can add their own bricks via LTI.
Learning is much more complex.
We need to intelligently orchestrate all these different “bricks” to serve the student. In some situation it can just be as simple as IFTTT: if student has passed this quiz, he can go to the next chapter. But in many cases this process is far more complex than an IFTTT recipe of course, especially if you connect it to all the context. It is more like a central nervous system.
Today I attended an interesting session organised by 4TU Centre for Engineering Education. Kristina Edström and Jakob Kuttenkeuler of KTH Stockholm gave a keynote on "How can we simultaneously improve student learning and cost-effectiveness of teaching?"
In their presentation they focused on cost-neutral interventions. More hours of a teacher doesn't mean that student learning improves.
Everyone agreed that it is much harder to stop with activities than start new ones. There are many reason why it is hard to stop with certain activities:
One of the interesting things that were mentioned was the quote:
"When old model doesn't work, it's the student's fault, but if I try something new and it doesn't work, it's the teacher's fault"
In their presentation they had some really interesting tips and tricks to spend less time. Here two examples:
Less time correction exams Teacher are spending a lot of time on making and correction exams. Jacob told that he switched to oral exams and that is saved him a lot of time. Benefit is that student prepare much better, so it is also better for their learning. The setup:
Each exam is a half hour
starts with 7 minutes in which the student has to show how he has reached the learning outcomes of the course. This gives students an easier start and gives the teacher enough information to continue the oral without needing to prepare questions in advance.
use a simple scale: fail, good, excellent
calculate what the maximum number of students is for which this saves you time. It probably is much higher than you think. In the calculations of Jakob he came to 95 students.
Jakob plans the orals in a couple of weeks. This gives students some flexibility to plan it around their other exams. He uses a doodle to plan this.
No comments When students have to write a paper, it costs a lot of time to give students feedback on their papers. In the their improved paper they usually only address the items the teacher has mentioned in his feedback. If you don't give individual feedback, but publish a list of most common errors, students will address all the items and their papers actually get much better. This saves you time.
I think this way of thinking can be really effective to improve learning and lowering the burden of the teacher. It is important that the teacher is open for it and accepts that the tips and tricks.
Interesting research video of Jeanine REUTEMANN about different MOOC video styles on edX, Coursera, Futurelearn & Iversity. Jeanine works for University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland. The video is based on the paper she presented at the EMOOCs Stakeholder Summit 2016 in Graz, Austria. Read the paper in the conference proceeding (page 383).
The purpose of this work is to investigate how self-regulating skills can be enhanced by encouraging metacognition and reflection in MOOC learners by means of social comparison. To this end, we developed the Learning Tracker, an interactive widget that could be integrated in a learner dash- board aimed at learners. The Learning Tracker allows MOOC learners to compare their learning behaviour to that of previous graduates of the same MOOC, which we named successful learners.
In her research she has shown that feedback on learner behaviour, such as the learner tracker, might lead to changes in a learner’s overall behaviour and not only in the areas they received feedback on.
During her period at our research group she has made three important contributions:
an interactive widget that visualises learners’ behaviour with the purpose of developing learners’ self-regulated learning skills by means of reflection.
deployed and evaluated the widget in several real-world MOOCs across the whole duration of the MOOCs reaching more than 20.000 learners.
the results showed the effectiveness of our design across all evaluated MOOCs, as learners that are exposed to the Learning Tracker are more likely to complete the course due to changes in their behaviour.
The first iteration of the Learning Tracker was tested on WaterX during January-March 2016, while the second iteration was deployed on SewageX and InnovationX. All three MOOCs were reruns:
It is important to mention that the course teams make changes in every run, especially in the InnovationX mooc they made significant changes (see page 36). Ioana made adjustment to correct this.
In the research learners were randomly divided in a Test and a Control group. In all three MOOCs the test group showed a better result than the control group:
The main results reveal that when exposed to the Learning Tracker learners are more likely to complete the course with a graduation mark because (i) learners attempt more quiz questions and (ii) they submit their work earlier. Although our results indicate that the Learning Tracker impact learners’ engagement and reduces procrastination, there is little evidence that other aspects of learners’ self-regulation were influenced.
In this research project Ioana has shown that a giving learner feedback on their progress might influence their behaviour. We are definitely continuing the work. Ioana is starting a PhD at the Open Universiteit in Heerlen and we hope to continue to work together.