Tom Worthington, The Higher Education Whisperer: The role of MOOCs within the concept of blended learning and their impact on the student experience

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Tom Worthington, The Higher Education Whisperer delivered this presentation at the inaugural Student Experience conference in 2013. A quality student experience is a critical component when examining the attributes a university offers a prospective student. It is equally as important sector wide, in producing highly educated, well rounded and qualified individuals that make up the future of the national workforce. As a result, it is crucial for universities to assess not only ways they can improve their institution’s student experience but ways they can differentiation themselves in an increasingly competitive marketplace. Factors that holistically impact student experience include the interconnections between student services, methods of course delivery and the use of technology along with all that this entails. The Inaugural Student Experience Conference will endeavour to address these complex and challenging issues within the context of the evolving Higher Education sector. For more information about the event, please visit the conference website http://www.informa.com.au/studentexperienceconference

Text of Tom Worthington, The Higher Education Whisperer: The role of MOOCs within the concept of blended...

  • 1.MOOCs and the Student Experience Tom Worthington The Higher Education Whisperer Slides also available. The role of MOOCs within the concept of blended learning and their impact on the student experience, for the Inaugural Student Experience Conference, 4 December 2013, Sydney, Australia.Tom Worthington FACS CP IT consultant and course designer Adjunct Senior Lecturer, ANU: ICT Sustainability on-line Tutor for the ACS Virtual College Canberra ICT Educator of the Year 2010 Blogs as the highereducationwhisperer.com Fellow, Honorary Life Member and Past President of the Australian Computer SocietyTom Worthington is an IT consultant and course designer for vocational and postgraduate university courses. In 2010 he was awarded Canberra ICT Educator of the Year by the Australian Computer Society, for his work on sustainable e-learning. Tom is an Adjunct Senior Lecturer at the Australian National University. In 1999 he was elected a Fellow of the Australian Computer Society for his contribution to the development of public Internet policy and previously worked for the Australian Government. He is a Past President, Honorary Life Member, Certified Professional and a Certified Computer Professional of the society as well as a voting member of the Association for Computing Machinery and a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. Tom blogs as the highereducationwhisperer.comSummary The Student Experience MOOCs xMOOCs cMOOCs Open Content and Blended Learning MOOCs Challenging the Student ExperienceA quiet revolution is taking place in Australia's schools, TAFEs and universities, with education moving on-line. Most student's first experience of higher education will be through some form of free on-line course. E-learning will therefore shape the student's expectations of their formal university program. Students will expect their on-campus experience to follow the shape and standard of that delivered on-line. Institutions and educators need to "flip" the entire student experience, to ensure that they can create an MOOCs and the Student Experience, Tom Worthington, 20131

2. on-campus experience as flexible and high quality as that offered on-line.The Student Experience To understand the student experience: be a studentInvolves technology, student services and methods of course delivery. Inaugural Student Experience Conference, Informa, 2013 To enhance the experience:1. Social engagement 2. Career readiness 3. Student support services 4. Orientation programs From: Enhancing the International Student Experience, Australian Education International, 2012 The conference announcement defines the "Student Experience" as: "Involves technology, student services and methods of course delivery.". It is suggested a good student experience can be a competitive advantage for an institution to attract students. It should be noted that the term "methods of course delivery" is more comonly known as "teaching methods". I suggest the best way for academics and administrators to truly understand the student experience is to be a student. It is likely many years, or decades, since those making decisions at university were students themselves. Much has changed in the interim and time will have softened the memory of the student experience. It is necessary to do more than just sit in on a class, the enrollment and assessment processes are important to the student experience. The Australian Education International (AEI) report "Enhancing the International Student Experience" provides the results of seven demonstration projects, focusing on four areas:1. Social engagement - effective strategies for improving the level and quality of interaction between domestic and international students both on and off campus; 2. Career readiness models for ensuring that the employability skills of international students are developed and improved on an ongoing basis through continuous learning and integration into the total study experience; 3. Student support services exploring how international students access information that affects health and lifestyle, MOOCs and the Student Experience, Tom Worthington, 20132 3. and the relationship between self-perceived identity and social networks; and 4. Orientation programs innovative ways to use new technologies (such as social media) to more effectively disseminate information on the nature and availability of support services for international students. From: Enhancing the International Student Experience, Australian Education International, 2012 While aimed at international students, I suggest these areas are also of issue for domestic students, particularly those from a different background to the traditional university student.MOOCs Massive Open Online Courses ( MOOCs): 1. 2. 3. 4.Massive: 100,000 students, or more. Open: No scholastic or financial barrier to enrollment. On-line: Materials delivered asynchronously via the Internet. Course: One semester, one quarter full time student load (a US "course").Massive Open Online Courses ( MOOCs) have recently been widely discussed in education forums and this is now spreading to the business and general media. These large scale courses use asynchronous e-learning and a highly structured approach which can be used as an easy introduction to e-learning. Some characteristics of an MOOC are: 1. Massive: 100,000 students or more. Australia's large university has less than 50,000 students. 2. Open: No scholastic or financial barrier to enrollment. Materials may also be open educational resources. 3. On-line: Materials delivered and students interact via the Internet. 4. Course: Similar in size to an Australian university subject of about a 12 week semester one quarter full time student load (a US course). But does not provide a credential on completion. Because of the large scale a relatively small teaching staff available, MOOC design emphasizes carefully prepared and tested material, active involvement by students in their learning (including helping each other, peer assessment). Current MOOCs have a linear structure of course delivery and some use conventional textbooks.Some MOOC Courses MOOCs and the Student Experience, Tom Worthington, 20133 4. 1. Harvard edX CS50x: Introduction to Computer Science 2. MIT edX 6.00x: Introduction to Computer Science and Programming (uses an optional textbook) It should be noted that the MIT edX course 6.00x: Introduction to Computer Science and Programming uses a conventional textbook. The textbook (Introduction to Computation and Programming Using Python, by John V. Guttag) is optional and is purchased separately from a bookstore, not from MIT.Some MOOC Suppliers udacity edX: ANU joined in 2013 Coursera Class Central (course aggregator).Implications of MOOCs 1. 2. 3. 4.Massive: Systems need to scale. Open: Wider range of students. On-line: Limited by Internet access. Course: Are semester courses too long on-line?ANU MOOCs ANU Joined EdX in 2013 Two MOOCs in development: Astrophysic and Engaging India. Intended to: 1. Strengthen ANU's reputation alongside Harvard, MIT and Berkeley, 2. Allow students to try an ANU course, 3. Learn to develop e-learning courses for degrees. The ANU joined EDx in early 2013, with two MOOCs planned: Astrophysics and Engaging India. The ANU Vice Chancellor has made clear that there is no intention for the unviersity to abandon conventional university courses in favor of MOOCs. The MOOCs will be used to strengthen ANU's reputation alongside Harvard, MIT and Berkeley, allow students to try an ANU course. They will also allow ANU staff to gain experience with e-learning for use in ANU degree programs.xMOOCs: Distance Education for Today MOOCs and the Student Experience, Tom Worthington, 20134 5. This weekend 25,000 Britons will tune their television sets to a university degree. They are the inaugural class in Open University ... Britons Tune In On Degrees, Owosso Argus-Press, 2 January 1971xMOOC: knowledge duplication "MOOCs are really a platform", Stephen Downes, July 25, 2012. The idea of using technology for massive open learning is not new. Whitelock points out, that 1891 there were 45,000 university extension students in England, with Sydney University setting up extension program as early as 1886. The UK Open University (OU), set out to provide a low cost education, with no academic limit on entry, using the information technology of its day (broadcast TV) in 1969. The debates at the time over the quality of such education are essentially the same as those now about MOOCs and e-Learning. The ACS Computer Professional Education Program, uses a Constructivist e-Learning approach, derived from that of the UK Open University. Other e-learning courses, now being promoted as revolutionary developments, are based on this same forty years of work on distance education, but with many of the promoters do not acknowledge that heritage. MOOCs as currently delivered have many similarities to 20th Century distance education, with paper and video lessons replaced with electronic documents and digital video over the Internet. The UK Open University (OU) commenced TV broadcast of lessons in 1971 (Britons Tune In On Degrees, Owosso Argus-Press, 2 January 1971). OU also mailed out paper based course notes, as had distance education institutions for 100 years. Most MOOCs follow this same format, with static course content, created by teams of educational designers and then delivered to the students. Stephen Downes proposed the term "xMOOC" for this form of knowledge duplication ("MOOCs are really a platform", Stephen Downes, July 25, 2012).cMOOCs: Knowledge Creation Connectivity MOOC: will it Scale? "MOOCs are really a platform", Stephen Downes, July 25, 2012. While most MOOCs, like most conventional higher education courses, emphasize the delivery of information prepackaged by the teacher, there is also scope for a constructivist approach, students collectively bu