Last week Harvard and MIT published an interesting report about four years of MOOCs. They explored 290 Harvard and MIT online courses, a quarter-million certifications, 4.5 million participants, and 28 million participant-hours. That is a bit more than TU Delft, we currently have 1.2 million enrolments of 821,283 unique accounts, 75 courses, 31 thousand certificates, but our first MOOCs didn't start until September 2013. In this blog post I guide you through their findings and have tried to add some comparisons with our DelftX data.
The Year of Open is a global focus on open processes, systems, and tools, created through collaborative approaches, that enhance our education, businesses, governments, and organizations. At its core, open is a mindset about the way we should meet collective needs and address challenges.
The Year of Open is community-led campaign, coordinated by the Open Education Consortium (of which I'm a board member). The focus is on the all kinds of open, such as open education, open access, open science, open data, open government, open licenses, open source software. This year we will work together with many organisations to promote openness in all its aspects.
The TU Delft has decided to use the opportunity of implementing a new LMS to innovate education towards blended and online education. A two-year project was defined to innovate education during the migration to the new Collaboration and Learning Environment (CLE) Brightspace. An important part of this project is to provide excellent technical and didactical support to our academic staff.
As Learning Developer you will be part of the (international) CLE migration and implementation team. This team is responsible for the successful transition to the new LMS Brightspace. The primary focus of the project is to improve campus education, not just move content from the old system to the new CLE.
The focal areas of a learning developer at the TU Delft are:
- Design instructional materials and courses, particularly for digital delivery.
- Manage the efforts of faculty, administration, other instructional designers, and others to achieve better student learning.
- Train faculty to leverage technology and implement pedagogy effectively.
- Support faculty when they run into technical or instructional challenges.
Course Migration Coordinator
This position will have a focus on managing the process of course migration and improvement. You will:
- Coordinate the activities of the other learning developers and student assistants.
- Meet with academic staff to discuss their educational improvements.
- Keep track of the progress of the course migrations and report to the project management.
- Coordinate with the other teams to align all activities towards the project's objectives.
This position focuses on the Support process of the transition. You will:
- Coordinate the activities of the support team that consists of student assistants.
- Have contact with academic staff to answer their support questions and resolve the didactical questions.
- Coordinate the development of support materials and manage the support website.
- Keep track of support questions and report to project management.
- Coordinate with the other teams to align all activities towards the project's objectives.
Do you want to be part of innovating education with a new Collaboration and Learning Environment? Join our international support team! Deadline is 9 January 2017, more information on our website.
Last Friday our Credits for MOOCs project opened for students. From this week on our students can join a number of MOOCs and get credits for them. There are no additional costs for them.
The first 12 MOOCs for credits will be provided by Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), University of Queensland, Australia National University and TU Delft and they will start in February 2017. During the summer a broader variety of courses will be made available by universities such as Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and Rice University. Other top 100 universities have said they are keen to join.
We started this project in the fall of 2015 and after many conference calls, presentations, meetings and hard work of my colleagues and our partners we have managed to open it for enrolments. When MOOCs are infiltrating the university curriculum you have to pass many hoops and bypass many obstacles.
Our students can find all the information about the process and which MOOCs are offered on this website.
One important aspect is that we asked all the instructors of the MOOCs under what conditions they would offer credits for their MOOCs. For most MOOCs this means that there is an additional assessment requirement. That can be like a proctored exam, a skype interview, or a paper. This is also the reason why we have limited the number of students that can credits. Off course any learner can enroll in these MOOCs.
All current exchange programmes are based of students to temporary move to another city. A great opportunity for students, but for many not possible due to time or financial constraints. With this programme we created a kind of virtual exchange programme. Our students can do courses of other top universities from our campus in Delft. They can learn across borders.
I think this offers a great opportunity for our students. It offers them courses that we as a technical university don't offer and it gives them flexibility.
There are many technologies flooding the market that help foster innovative teaching and learning. These tools, such as learning management systems, lecture capture systems, simulation creators, authoring, and video and audio tools, have flooded into the classrooms and lecture halls of higher education. However, the inference that these innovative tools aid learning should not be immediately assumed. With faculties’ full work load, learning and implementing new and often complex tools to improve their online pedagogy isn’t a priority. In fact, as the needs and tools of institutions have evolved, instructional designers have positioned themselves as pivotal players in the design and delivery of learning experiences. Instructional designers exist to bridge the gap between faculty instruction and student online learning. But who, exactly, are instructional designers? What do they do? Where do they fit in higher education?
- Instructional designers number at least 13,000 in the U.S alone.
- They are highly and diversely qualified.
- Contrary to popular belief, they do more than just design instruction.
- Above all, they struggle to collaborate with faculty.
- One thing is certain: instructional designers are dedicated to improving learning with technology
I recognise their findings if I look at my team and their activities.
Highly and diversely qualified
What they name "instructional designer" we separated it in two different job titles:
- learning developer: focused on creating the learning design of a course (constructive alignment) and often acting as project manager
- instructional designer: expert in how to setup the learning design in the a specific platform (we have (open)edX, Blackboard and Brightspace.
All the learning developers have some form of educational science background. From a master in educational science to experience as lecturer with additional courses. The instructional designer have a much more technical background, one of my instructional designer is a watermanagement engineer. They all have finished a Bachelor and Master and some even have a PhD in education.
They do more than just design instruction
According to the report most instructional designers have four categories of responsibilities:
- Design instructional materials and courses, particularly for digital delivery
- Manage the efforts of faculty, administration, IT, other instructional designers, and others to achieve better student learning
- Train faculty to leverage technology and implement pedagogy effectively
- Support faculty when they run into technical or instructional challenges
The activities of my team perfectly aligns with 4 categories. Although sometimes they do even more, such as marketing, administration, policy advise.
Struggle to collaborate with faculty
With every course team an instructional designer has to win the trust of the faculty members. Faculty members are the experts on the topic of the course and have been teaching for many years. They have to accept that designing and delivering an online or blended course is a different cup of tea than classroom teaching. The instructional designer have been done this for many courses, so they know how to design an online course.
Dedicated to improving learning with technology
Despite the struggle with faculty they are always dedicated to make it work. Sometimes it means that the end result is not the best, but it was what could be reached within the time span and context of that course.
In the report there are a few recommendations. Two I want to strongly emphasize:
- Institutional leaders and administration - Involve instructional designers early, often, and throughout your technology transition. Develop clear standards that are expressed to all participants — institutional leaders, instructional designers, faculty, and students. Also, think about incentivising faculty to work with instructional designers from the get-go. Survey respondents made clear that they’d like more resources allocated to their work, which could have a high return on investment in terms of student success.
- Faculty - We know student success is top priority for you. An instructional designer can help you engage your students and give you more class time by using online tools. There is potential impact to be made for your students by collaborating and using new technologies that instructional designers can guide you to. They share your goal and want to see you shine for your students.
Since a couple of years the Open University creates an report about innovating pedagogy. Yesterday they published the fifth report. It is produced in collaboration with the Learning Sciences Lab at the National Institute of Education, Singapore, proposes ten innovations that are already in currency but have not yet had a profound influence on education.
The ten innovations they identified were rated on potential impact and in what timescale.
| Learning through social media
Using social media to offer longterm
| Productive failure
Drawing on experience to gain
|High||Medium (2-5 years)|
Learning by explaining what we
have been taught
|High||Medium (2-5 years)|
| Design thinking
Applying design methods in order
to solve problems
| Learning from the crowd
Using the public as a source of
knowledge and opinion
|Medium||Long (4+ years)|
| Learning through video games
Making learning fun, interactive and
|Medium||Medium (2-5 years)|
| Formative analytics
Developing analytics that help
learners to reflect and improve
|High||Medium (2-5 years)|
| Learning for the future
Preparing students for work and life
in an unpredictable future
Enriching learning through the use
of multiple languages
|Medium||Medium (2-5 years)|
|Blockchain for learning
Storing, validating and trading
|High||Long (4+ years)|
Sharples, M., de Roock , R., Ferguson, R., Gaved, M., Herodotou, C., Koh, E., Kukulska-Hulme, A., Looi, C-K, McAndrew, P., Rienties, B., Weller, M., Wong, L. H. (2016). Innovating Pedagogy 2016: Open University
Innovation Report 5. Milton Keynes: The Open University. ISBN 9781473022812
Image Credit CC-BY 3.0 licence Innovating Pedagogy 2016
On November 6th at the Dutch education days, SURF presented their trendreport. Since last week the report is also available in English. This trendreport focus on customised education.
SURF invited 44 Dutch experts, including three experts of TU Delft, to contribute to this report. This trend report describes 13 technological trends that may affect the content and design of education.
- Virtual Reality
- Serious Gaming
- Internet of Things
- Virtual Classroom
- Student as owner of their own identity
- Digital Badges and micro-credentials
- From Open Content via Open Pedagogy to Open Education
- Personalised learning environment for cross-institutional study
- Adaptive learning environment for agile education
- Learning Analytics
- Digital Assessment and Learning Analytics
- Artifical Intelligence
The thirteen trends were grouped in three themes:
Firstly, a number of trends lead to the enrichment of teaching and learning. Thanks to the sensory experience it provides, virtual reality can, for example, facilitate interactive learning in authentic learning situations. The same applies to the use of serious games. Gamification offers opportunities for providing feedback and encouraging self-management in that students can earn badges that act as milestones. Digital assessment allows students to obtain feedback immediately and gives them a better idea of their progress. The virtual classroom also enhances inter-active and collaborative learning without students and lecturers having to be physically present in a single location. Although many lecturers still regard a virtual classroom session as ‘nothing to do with them’, this learning technology, in conjunction with digital assessment, probably comes closest to the way we are used to learning within our education system. Rather than a drastic change, then, it is an improvement.
All in all, these technological trends are able to support key principles of effective education.
It is clear, however, that the quality of some technologies needs to be improved if they are to actually make education more effective and more attractive. For example, there is rather a large amount of variation in the quality of technology available for virtual classrooms. Meanwhile, VR applications that use ‘cardboard’ currently offer limited opportunities for interaction.
Secondly, we see the incorporation of flexibility in education, which ‘blurs boundaries’. Students are increasingly studying different programmes within the same institution, at different institutions (both within the Netherlands and abroad) and outside the traditional higher education system. They can follow programmes that incorporate open pedagogy and courses that are rewarded with microcredentials (such as massive open online courses). Micro-credentials and digital badges allow students to utilise the knowledge and skills they have acquired in different contexts. These technologies demonstrate that students have also developed their skills beyond the traditional education system. Students undergo a wide range of online and offline learning activities to develop an online education identity – in effect a personalised education number that they can use throughout their lives. The educational institution’s monopoly over the awarding of qualifications is definitely a thing of the past.
Thirdly, a number of technologies enable adaptive learning. This includes both highly advanced applications that could play a key role in the long term and technologies that enable a certain amount of ‘adaptivity’ in the short term. Artificial intelligence is an example of an advanced application. Here, students follow personalised learning paths based on the digital traces they leave in online learning environments. One example of a simpler application is digital assessment combined with learning analytics. Another example is the personalised learning environment that gives individual students access to the applications they use for learning purposes.
Download the report here. The report is published with an open license.
Since 2013 I'm member of the Board of Directors of the Open Education Consortium. The consortium is a global network of educational institutions, individuals and organizations that support an approach to education based on openness, including collaboration, innovation and collective development and use of open educational materials. The Open Education Consortium is a non-profit, social benefit organization registered in the United States and operating worldwide.
The Board of Directors of the Open Education Consortium is composed of elected representatives from member institutions. The Board of Directors provides strategic direction and fiscal oversight to the organization. Board members are elected for a term of 2 years with the possibility to get reelected once.
Profile of a board member
A typical board member is leader in open education in his/her institute and region. They are part of the leadership or management of the university or department (provost, dean, rector, etc). Off course you should have sufficient time available for the board membership and have the support of your organisation to cover the travel expensises. There are two online board meeting and two meetings in person per year and you are expected to attend all four.
Primary responsibilities of the Board of Directors include:
- Determine and refine the OEC’s mission and purpose
- Lead strategic planning and monitoring to ensure activities are in support of the OEC’s mission
- Ensure adequate financial resources and retention of assets
- Identify, support and evaluate the OEC’s Executive Director
- Monitor the ethical and legal integrity of the organization
- Orient and support new board members, build board capacity and set board policies
- Promote the OEC and its mission
- Board members will serve as liaisons with various standing committees and work groups, and will represent the Consortium at various meetings and/or events.
New board member are officially elected at our global conference in the spring, next one in March 2017 in Cape Town. The elections are in the two months before the conference, so we are currently open for nominations. If you are interested in running for the board, please contact our Executive Director Mary Lou Forward or me.
Do you want to nominate your self or someone else, please go to our website. (deadline January 17, 2017 12:00 UCT)
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:
- add value
- 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).