Technology is fundamentally reshaping how we work, socialise and communicate, but too few European students are opting to study the subjects that will give them the skills to work in our innovation-led economy. This is a particular problem for women, minorities and other non-traditional student groups.
STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects are declining in popularity at a rapid rate across all European countries, signalling a macro-crisis for future economic competitiveness and more personal micro-crisis among Europe's engineering and technology universities.
The Chronicle has published the result of an survey among professor who have taught a mooc. They invited 184 professors and 104 reacted to the invitation. Although the findings are not scientific. They say "the most enthusiastic of the MOOC professors were the likeliest complete the survey". Below are the most important findings of the survey:
The site has seen ?record levels of traffic? since the MOOC craze began: 22.3 million visitors in 2012, up 25% over 2011.
We notice the same thing on ocw.tudelft.nl. Our number of visits has increased with 77% in 2012 in comparison to 2011. Especially in the 4th quarter of 2012 (Europe is always a little behind the US) our daily number of visitors increased from 550 to 800 . This grow continues in 2013, although we had some negative impact because of our university cookie wall.
I see the interest in MOOCs as really positive for the Open Education Ecosystem. All university boards are talking about it and that also leads to more attention towards OpenCourseWare and Open Educational Resources.
For my university we are also looking at the combination of OCW and MOOCs. We have decided to publish our MOOCs via EdX with an open license. To maximise exposure we will also publish the course materials of the moocs on our OpenCourseWare website. The content that is created in our MOOCs will also be used in our online master programmes and in our regular campus education.
So we are putting money in creating awesome content, but we are using the content everywhere we can.
This week Blackboard announced the CourseSites MOOC Catalog:
Empowering Learning Through Community
Blackboard is pleased to support open education opportunities and massive open online courses (MOOCs) through CourseSites by Blackboard, a free, hosted and scalable online learning platform. Explore and enroll in courses below or start your own now.
Moving closer toward its vision of being an open-sourced learning platform, edX on Thursday released its XBlock SDK, the underlying architecture supporting edX course content.
Gisteren was het evenement dat ik samen met Hester Jelgerhuis (SURF) en Robert Schuwer (OU NL) heb georganiseerd in het kader van de Open Education Week.
Belangrijk onderdeel van het programma was de presentatie van het Trendrapport 2013. We kregen ervoor veel positieve reacties. Grote dank gaat uit naar Hester, Ria Jacobi en Nicolai van der Woert voor de redactie.
Het laatste onderdeel van de dag was het OER studentendebat. Helaas viel het aantal aanwezige studenten tegen (TU-studenten lieten het ook afweten), daardoor hebben we discussie gedaan met de hele zaal in een Lagerhuis opstelling. Het debat werd geleid door de Utrecht Debating Society. Het debat kwam wat moeizaam op gang, maar uiteindelijk vond ik dit wel een zeer geslaagd onderdeel van het programma.
Yesterday the OER Trend Report 2013 of the Dutch special interest group for Open Educational Resources has been published:
The Trend Report: Open Educational Resources 2013 describes trends in open educational resources (OER) and open education in the Netherlands and elsewhere, from the perspective of Dutch higher education.
It comprises fifteen articles by Dutch experts in the field of open and online education. It also includes 15 short ?Intermezzos? giving high-profile examples. The report is published by the Open Educational Resources Special Interest Group (SIG OER) supported by SURF.
Tomorrow during the Open Education Event in Utrecht there will be a market where most of the authors will present their chapter and are available for questions. I will be there for questions about MOOCs.
Last monday MIT and Harvard organised an seminar on MOOCs. The official title was "Online Learning and the Future of Residential Education". Anka attended the conference on behave of the TU Delft. New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman was one of the speakers at the seminar and has written an very good article about the seminar:
We demand that plumbers and kindergarten teachers be certified to do what they do, but there is no requirement that college professors know how to teach. No more. The world of MOOCs is creating a competition that will force every professor to improve his or her pedagogy or face an online competitor.
The column is an interesting read. I especially lik the last sentence:
When outstanding becomes so easily available, average is over.
Last week Phil Hill wrote a blog post about four types of students in MOOCs. He identified four types:
- Lurkers – This is the majority of students within xMOOCs, where people enroll but just observe or sample a few items at the most. Many of these students do not even get beyond registering for the MOOC or maybe watching part of a video.
- Passive Participants – These are students who most closely align with traditional education students, viewing a course as content to consume. These students typically watch videos, perhaps take quizzes, but tend to not participate in activities or class discussions.
- Active Participants – These are the students who fully intend to participate in the MOOC, including consuming content, taking quizzes and exams, taking part in activities such as writing assignments and peer grading, and actively participate in discussions via discussion forums, blogs, twitter, Google+, or other forms of social media.
- Drop-Ins – These are students who become partially or fully active participants for a select topic within the course, but do not attempt to complete the entire course.
Today I attended the launch of the TU Delft API. My colleagues organised a hackathon for students, employees and companies to introduce the API and how it works. During the hackathon the participants got a couple of presentations, but most time was spend coding with the new API. Off course there was plenty of drinks, sweets and pizza.
The published data is open data. It is public, free of any copyrights, published by means of open standards, is computer readable and can be (re-)used freely by anybody.
Not all data is publically available, because of privacy limitation. For this we have also implemented an oAuth authentication and autorisation. The oAuth is provided by Surfnet.
Result of the hackathon
At the end of the hackathon the participants could pitch their results. In ideas that were pitched.
There were different pitches that related to the API for workplaces availability:
- work places app: to find a work place around the campus
- the guys from Calendar 42 went one step further to estimation on how busy a building is.
- Maurits did another step and tried to estimated the best place to study, based on the number of students at a faculty, the number of available computers, historical data of the availability and most import how long these work places will stay available.
Another popular API was around study results, study progress and course selections:
- study progress app that provides you with a graphical view of your study progress and should give you options to limit your delays via the smart view.
- Online Course Advisor: advise which courses to follow, based on your current program, user interests, course popularity and the schedule of the course.
- S-Elective: skill-based study guide. This is helps you to select elective courses based on your interests and skills and after you complete the course gives the possibility to post the new skill to LinkedIn.
- The students from Feedback Fruits pitched squeese: less time, more credit. They searched for courses that have the best ratio between ECTS and contact hours.
There were also two pitches that presented apps that combined the information of different APIs together:
- Smartboard: provide information that you need every day in one app: study progress, course announcements and day schedule.
- The other was an iPhone app that presented in a very nice way building information, faculties, grades, progress and course schedules.
The last pitch won the hackathon and they got a nice price. It was also my personal favourite, because it was a good idea and it also looked very slick. Below are some pictures of the event.
The API is a very good step for the TU Delft and the hackathon was a great event to start students to use it. In the next months the API will be further improved and new API will be added. A hackathon is also a great way to find bugs in the API and errors in the data. So my recommendation would be to organise more hackathons.