Yesterday the JRC IPTS published the report OpenCases: Case Studies on Openness in Education. This report is the final outcome of the study OpenCases: case studies on openness in education. The study was carried out by the IPTS in collaboration with the University of Bath as part of the OpenEdu project. The report is based on interviewees with inside knowledge of their organisations. There are 9 cases in this report of these organisations/projects around Europe.
France Université Numérique (french mooc platform)
OER Universitas (OERu
Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M)
Open AGH E-Textbooks
Virtual University of Bavaria (BVU)
I was one of the interviewees for the TU Delft case and think they have done a great job in composing the report and our case.
our surveys include questions that are similar to those of the UW research
If we look at the survey data (for 10 courses), the results are:
80% of both groups of students (developing and developed countries) reported they had taken an online course before;
12% of students from developed countries that had taken an online course before, never completed any course, and 16% from developing, which means that
88% of students from developed countries that had taken an online course before state they completed at least one course, and 84% of students from developing countries.
Here we see that many students actually completed at least one course in both groups, but overall percentages are still slightly “in favour” of students from developing countries.
If we look at the platform data (example of one course):
The average grade of developing countries is 3,73% vs. 5,55% for developed, and the passing rate is 2,93% vs. 5,26%.
There are more students from developing countries that hadn’t really started the MOOC (i.e. had a grade = 0), 91% vs. 87%, but even among those that did (grade > 0), the average grade is lower (36% vs 40%), as well as passing rates (32% vs. 47%).
Only when you look only at people who received a certificate, the average grade is basically the same.
Because Sara is very good, she also had some comments about shortcomings of the original research:
It tries to compare the result of their survey about completing any course ever to per-course completion rates. While it acknowledges that they don’t really have the actual data for comparison, it is still misleading to mention it alongside it, because in reality, it doesn’t tell us anything. They have no idea how many students in general completed at least one course already in developed countries.
The comparison is problematic even further because of very different sources of information. While the completion rates are actual, true numbers, the survey is an estimate, that can be largely biased. We know that more students that receive a certificate in the end complete even the pre-survey (compared to the actual passing rates), which may also be true in this case, i.e. more engaged students completing their survey.
Also, they compare their “completion” to per-course “completion rates”. But, our completion rates are actually certification rates, while their “completion” is completing the course with not necessarily receiving a certificate. Furthermore, students may understand very differently, what does it mean to complete a course, possibly connected to their intentions. We have no idea how many students in our courses would say they completed the course. So this is another point why these numbers can hardly be compared to the regular “completion rates”.
On a per-course basis, the number of “registrants” is rather high (usually only around 50% of students does anything in our courseware), which is very far from the 2% of “registrants” they identified in their sample, which further shows that their completion numbers and course completion numbers can hardly be comparable.
Their study is conducted only on people between 18-35 years old. As we know there are many students above 30 (30 is usually the median) in our courses, this is hardly representative of all MOOC users.
The researchers based their conclusion solely on self-reported survey data, but tried to compare their result to actual per-course completion rates, which creates a false sense that students from developing countries actually complete more courses than their peers from developed countries. While the high completion rates among students from developing countries may still be a surprise, it is important to keep in mind what we are actually looking at. Both platform data and survey data of ours revealed that somewhat more students from developed countries complete courses, or receive a certificate. In most of our research we combine the survey data with the platform data to get more accurate results and less user bias.
Two weeks ago the OE Global Conference in Krakow I got re-elected by the members of the consortium. It is a honour to serve on the board of directors. Next to me Sophie Touzé got also re-elected. We also welcomed four new board members:
Papa Youga Dieng, Organisation internationale de la Francophonie
Barbara Illowsky, Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources
Allyn Radford, Corporate member
Naoko Tosa, Japan OCW Consortium
With the new board members it shows the international aspect of our board. We have board members from all over the world. Since the start of the consortium this has always been the case. Last year we formalised this in the by-laws:
The Consortium desires a strong, internationally diverse board of directors. Election results may be weighted to ensure representation from different regions of the world. In this case, the weighting of results shall be set by the nominating committee and disclosed to members in advance. Source: OEC By-laws
The Open Education Consortium has more than 250 members from 45 countries (At the conference we had participants from 38 countries):
I can recommend any organisation (not only universities) that supports open education to join the consortium. The fees are moderate and you join the 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 activities we do:
Networking and community development
Advocacy and advising
Capacity building and training
Want to join? You can contact me or one of the other board members of contact the OEC staff.
As part of the Opening Up Europe intiative the European Commission has started a project OpenEdu at their own research centre IPTS in Seville. At #OEGlobal Andreia Inamorato dos Santos gave an insightful presentation about the results of the project. Many of the reports will be published this year.
Defining Open Education
Andreia started with defining Open Education. The definition they adopted is focusing on removing barriers:
This definition is a very broad one, but I think it has the right focus:
not only digital technologies, although that is the most common form.
learning not only accessible, but also ambundant and customisable
not only formal, but also non-formal education and bridiging this
An important part of the project is the OpenEdu Framework. This framework should support higher education institutions to adopt and implement Open Education. The framework is build on 6 core dimensions and 4 transversal dimensions. For each dimension of open education, the framework brings a definition, a rationale and components with descriptors.
6 Core: access, content, pedagogy, recognition, collaboration, research
For the maturity of Open Education it is important that we get more solid research evidence about the open education and its value for policy maker, instructors, and students. In my previous blog I already mentioned the Open Educuation Group, another group of researchers that is doing some great work is the OER Hub of the Open University. At the OEGlobal conference I attended a session of the this group about the Open Research Agenda.
This activity is focused on forming a better understanding of research needs in open education. To do this, they published a survey (please submit!) and did sessions at #OEGlobal and #OER16 to collect information about research priorities. The results will be shared in the form of a report.
The researchers of OER Hub will not do all the research questions that will be mentioned in the report. Any researcher can work on the items in the agenda. The more the better I would say!
Normally the target audience are teachers that are OER novice but are interested in help with their course design. So the workshop also introduces them in Open Education. Below are the slides we used during the workshop. This workshop will be part of the offerings of our training programme for instructors.
An often heard comment is that OpenTextBooks can't be as good as commercial textbooks. At the OE Global Conference John Hilton III presented the result of synthesis of Sixteen OER Studies. John is working for the Open Education Group. The Open Education Group is an interdisciplinary research group that conducts original, rigorous empirical research on the impact of OER adoption on a range of educational outcomes and designs and shares methodological and conceptual frameworks for studying the impact of OER adoption.
The collective results of the 16 studies discussed in this article provide timely information given the vast amount of money spent on traditional textbooks. Because students and faculty members generally find that OER are comparable in quality to traditional learning resources, and that the use of OER does not appear to negatively influence student learning, one must question the value of traditional textbooks.
So if OpenTextBooks don't have a negative impact on the learning outcomes, the argument to use them becomes much stronger. OpenTextBooks saves students a lot of money and that is positive in times that education becomes more and more expensive for students.
On Wednesday 13th of April, I attended a #OEGlobal session in which MIT and OpenUniversity presented their results of many years of Open Education. The general feeling I had over these two presentation was that Open University has a very clear strategy and MIT is just bopping around. I know that this is not true for MIT OpenCourseWare, but it certainly is the impression I got about MITx.
15 years vs 3 years
In 15 years MIT OpenCourseWare has accomplished a lot. They reached 203M people around the world. There production proces and IP handling is very professional and made sure that they have published over 3000 courses. The contrast with MITx can’t be any bigger. They have produced 83 unique MOOCs, but I didn’t get the impression that there is a standardised proces and the process definitely is different from MIT OCW. I really don’t understand why MITx hasn’t used more of the expertise of their OCW team. It seems that they are reinventing the wheel while their colleagues next door, already know the answer.
In their presentation Joseph Pickett and Dana Doyle stated that OCW and MITx are very separate from the start:
No clear communication as to who is doing what
Both groups extremely busy producing course sites and online courses
Since 2015 the teams have been working more closely together, they state "MITx is still a young organization seeking to find an optimum path in a changing environment".
Ten years of open practice: a reflection on the impact of OpenLearn
The presentation of Patrina Law was so different from MIT. The strategy and activities of OpenLearn are very organised. Their strategy in engaging learners seems very logical:
I especially liked the slide with the guiding principles for all their courses:
Learners most value quizzes with feedback
Use of activities and video also highly rated
Select the most engaging content within a module
Make a key topic accessible to new learners
Ensure the course works as a stand-alone piece of learning
value recognition for their achievement
(statement of participation)
Their project of Badged Open Courses is a very good example of their activities:
The Badged Open Courses project returned the investment in 4 months via extra enrolments (26% clickthrough rate):
2500+ badges issued
The BOCs are generating around 12,000 new visitors a month to OpenLearn
They drive a very high proportion of learners to click-through to make an enquiry to the OU (26.2% Feb-Nov 2015)
Completion rates of BOCs are higher than our MOOCs
350 formal module registrations have been made (mostly entry level)
2,500 prospectus requests
>300 qualification sign-ups (mostly new students)
Satisfaction rates very high (~98%)
57% say that they will be sharing their achievements with an employer
Altogether it showed me that if you have a clear strategy and align all your projects towards this strategy a vialable business model is open education projects.
On the first day I presented about the impact of 30 DelftX MOOCs. In general I can say that the impact of our MOOCs is much higher than we anticipated when we started in 2013. In my presentation I discuss 6 impacts:
Educating the world
Increasing TU Delft’s international Reputation
Improving campus education
New relations between education and research
Collaboration with industry
The whole TU Delft organization
Currently we are writing the evaluation report, so later I will publish more about these impact. For now, you can take a look at my slides:
Last week it was Open Education Week. Many people world wide participated in local and online events during the week. We hope it inspired you for Open Education. Next month is the Open Education Global Conference were you learn more about Open Education and join the global movement in Open Education.
The Open Education Global Conference is the annual opportunity for researchers, practitioners, policy makers and educators to deeply explore open education and its impact on global education.
Conference participants learn from thought leaders in open education and have the opportunity to share ideas, practices and discuss issues important to the future of education worldwide. Sessions cover new developments in open education, research results, innovative technology, policy development and implementation, and practical solutions to challenges facing education around the world. The Open Education Global Conference 2016 will take place in Kraków, Poland from the 12th to 14th of April 2016. The theme of the Open Education Global Conference 2016 is Convergence Through Collaboration.
TU Delft's Vice President Education and former President of the consortium Anka Mulder will be one of the keynote speakers. Martijn Ouwehand and me we also attend the conference and we will participate in a couple of sessions. I hope to see you there!