Technology Enhanced Learing

Call for eLearning Papers: Innovation in education

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Call for eLearning Papers: Innovation in education

Open Education Europa has announced a call for eLearning Papers on digital and innovative education at all stages of life and for all types of learning.

The eLearning Papers provide an opportunity for researchers, people in projects developing innovative applications, and policy makers to share their material quickly and easily on a pan-European portal with international reach.

Authors are invited to submit papers in any of the 24 official EU languages on a number of key themes related to innovative learning. We are particularly interested in receiving contributions from people in international projects and early-stage researchers.

Topics

Papers may be submitted on any relevant topic, but we are particularly interested in those covering the following areas:

  • Learner data: Learning analytics; Methods and strategies; Big data and analytics
  • Teaching technologies: Online courses; Social media; Learning apps; Organisational digital readiness
  • Innovative learning methods: Gamification; Project-based learning; Entrepreneurship; Digital storytelling; Flipped classrooms; Maker spaces
  • Pedagogy and curriculum: open educational resources; Blended learning; Collaborative learning; Recognising and rewarding teaching
  • Quality assurance and accreditation: ePortfolios; Accreditation and certification; Validation
  • Recognition: ePortfolios; Digital assessments; Badges and certificates
  • Policy: European policy; National policy; Organisational change

Format

Authors can submit long papers of a maximum of 6,000 words and shorter entries between 500-1,000 words, excluding references. Bibliographic referencing should follow the Harvard style. Online citation generators can help to simplify this process. Long papers are also required to submit a short abstract in English (even if the paper is submitted in another language).

Review of articles

All articles will be reviewed by a specially-appointed, independent Editorial and Advisory Board comprising experienced academics working in the field of education from across Europe. If accepted, papers will be published online immediately on the portal where they will enjoy high levels of visibility.

Deadline: Papers will be accepted on a rolling basis with first online publications expected in October 2017.

 

P.S.  The call was initially published here

Call for eLearning Papers: Innovation in education

 

 

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3 Suggestions for Essential Apps for ESL Students in Higher Education

This is my 3rd post for EdTech Review India. You can find it here :

http://edtechreview.in/trends-insights/insights/2134-english-as-a-second-language-esl-app

english-as-a-second-language-esl-app

Apps are useful and practical a lot of times and young people know all about them and use them.

But students are interested mainly in using apps for their own pleasure and entertainment and not so much for educational purposes.  It is not always easy to include them in everyday classroom practice but I think that it is worth the trouble to try to make a few of them part of your College students’ everyday classroom practice.

If the target group is College students, as mentioned above, you need to choose the right apps to introduce them to. They have to be easy to use, practical and exciting. You don’t want to overwhelm them after all! My 3 main choices would be:

Remind

https://www.remind.com/apps

This is a very popular communications platform which I was introduced to this year and I have found immensely practical for many reasons. It can be used in various ways, initially to communicate information to your students, e.g. homework tasks, useful links, photos, giving feedback using voice messages. But it can also be used in other ways, such as hosting a chat, which is a great idea since using twitter for a chat is too public and intimidating for a lot of students, but being on a more ‘private’ platform, like Remind, can minimize the feeling of ‘exposure’ that weaker students perhaps feel. It is safe, simple and secure both for educators and students to use.

Padlet

https://padlet.com/

This is another ‘must’ for encouraging ESL students to share boards where they can post language tips, exam strategies, useful videos they find. Teacher and students can also post text, graphs and even photos and videos related to a specific topic. Another idea is encouraging students to post questions, either as part of an activity or anonymously, post-lesson, which the teacher can then read off and answer them every day.

Prezi

https://prezi.com/ipad/

If Powerpoint is dead, then Prezi is its worthy successor! Prezi is indeed a very exciting tool to create presentations because it allows you to present your work in a non-linear way, creating maps of texts, videos, images, graphics, etc. It is very easy to master and some of its features, like the zoom, can easily make an impression on these young adult students and tempt them to use it in their presentations!

One way or another, these are not new tools (Prezi, for example, was designed in 2009) but it is useful to remind ourselves of a good combination of practical, easy to use digital tools that our ESL students would feel motivated to use on a daily or weekly basis. Good luck everyone!

My video activity for Nik Peachey’s new book ‘Digital video’

unnamedToday I am sharing the activity I wrote some time ago for Nik Peachey’s new e-book ‘Digital Video – A manual for language teachers’

You can buy the book online. Here is the link to it on iTunes:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/digital-video/id1025275485

And this link is for people who don’t use Apple devices:  https://www.scribd.com/doc/276137280/Digital-Video-A-manual-for-language-teachers

The activity I wrote involves U-tube videos and hosting short debates on a controversial topic. You can check it out here :

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I hope you enjoy it!

[EdTech Insights] How to Choose the Right MOOC

A new post I wrote is among the Top Stories today on the EdTech Review India , so I am sharing it with you. You can find it here : http://edtechreview.in/trends-insights/insights/2101-choosing-massively-open-online-courses?utm_source=EdTechReview%E2%84%A2+Weekly+Newsletter&utm_campaign=b6b5cb0c6e-Newsletter_2015_September_1_9_4_2015&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_94aed71205-b6b5cb0c6e-105661749

can_moocs_democratize_higher_education

When choosing the right MOOC to attend, the main points to consider are:

  • The course length and estimated weekly workload  – You can check this out before the course begins.
  • Who the instructors are – there is often a short biography of the course instructors. Knowing who your teachers are and their academic background is important. It might also a great motivation to choose a course, especially if it involves popular online teachers! More important is perhaps to check if they are experienced in online teaching or if this is the first time they are putting together a MOOC. This might give you an idea of how well organized and planned the course will be.
  • The course syllabus – You want to make sure this is what you are really looking for before you begin a course.
  • The course format – will it be delivered by video, audio, written text etc? Although, sometimes it finally proves not so terribly important, a lot of people are attracted to the variety of ways a course is delivered.
  • Don’t judge a course by its videos. Some online courses are amazing with their graphics and animations and artfully shot sequences, while others just show a professor in front of a camera. Test out a class for a couple of weeks to be able to evaluate the instructor’s commitment and knowledge. Just because an online course environment is not very hi-tech, it does not mean that the instructor(s) are not going to make it worth  to attend it.
  • Course Schedule (Scheduled MOOC versus Self-Paced MOOC) – Some courses allow you to join the course anytime that you want to, while  others need you to follow the university semester program. Keep into consideration any other commitments that you have and try to decide wisely between the two types.
  • Determine the amount of time you have to devote to a course – Even though courses allow you to generally work at your own pace, there are still requirements that have to be met in order to successfully complete the course. Especially if you are seriously considering to complete all the assignments offered so that you can claim a certificate at the end of the course. Think about how engaged you can be and then determine how much time you’ll have to spend on the course each week. Most courses today give you an estimated amount of time needed to devote each week. Check that out before you join.
  • Tangible portfolio – In other words, keep in mind you need to prepare a collection of materials that validate your skills and reputation. So, go with a portfolio that will let you increase your chances of getting hired in the future. Choose a course or a series of courses that will help you create a project in the end that showcases what you learn to a prospective employer.
  • Remember: there is no consistency between classes. The various platforms hosting the courses might set the framework and provide support but  it’s the professors and schools behind each course design the curriculum, create the content and set the class requirements. Make sure you pay attention to its assignment policies, once you’ve registered for a class. Different Universities, different instructors, different planning. Some courses do not ask you to submit anything until the very end. For others, you might be asked to engage to submit some work even in the end of the second week. Not to mention the professors who are trying out classes for the first time, so the result is that policies may change  as the professors learn what works.

Remember though! Whatever you do, make sure you enjoy the trip!

Lesson plan : Learning with YouTube videos

This is a new Lesson Plan I wrote and is now published on the current ELTA SERBIA NEWSLETTER, in the July-August issue

http://elta.org.rs/kio/nl/07-2015/Lesson%20Plan-Vicky%20Papageorgiou%20Learning%20with%20YouTube%20videos.pdf

You can check out the whole newsltter here : http://elta.org.rs/2015/07/13/elta-newsletter-july-august-2015/

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Learning with YouTube videos: Internet censorship

Key words: ​YouTube videos, debate, internet censorship, blended learning

Target learners:​Young adults or adults, C1+ level

Learning outcomes:

● By the end of this course, the learners will learn to search for a small variety of videos and to critically synthesize information/arguments to use in their debate,

● they will be able to enrich their knowledge about a current and controversial matter which they have experienced in some ways,

● they will learn to work together to reach an agreement on a controversial problem, solve a problem,

● they will learn to use online platforms to upload their written work and to hold a debate, like http://www.pearltrees.com, and http://www.collaborizeclassroom.com, and finally

● they will have to reflect on the debate by summarizing the important points of it.

Short description

In this blended learning activity, students will have to work on a controversial matter. While divided in teams, they will have to find youtube videos relevant to the side they have to present and defend, record their arguments to support their position and finally, make evaluations and judgments about this controversial matter. In the end, the two teams will have to hold a debate and reach a consensus.

Preparation

The T spends some time choosing videos that present opposing arguments or depict opposing sides. 2­4 videos for each side should be enough but the T should make sure their duration is not over 15’ each. (In this activity, Ss are asked to search for the videos they should use, on their own. Yet, because this is time­consuming and/or difficult for some students, it is advisable that the T has already prepared a selection for them, at least for the weaker ones). Some example videos the T could show them or post on the platform are the following:

An informative video about internet censorship.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPAvg6CU6sI

The Past, Present and Future of Internet Censorship https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=spapXznZf4I

Internet Censorship Is the Wrong Answer to Online Piracy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ngRPuXpCIw

Procedure ​(approximately 3 hours)

1. Tell your students that you have noticed that people of their age are very dependent on the internet and they spend a lot of time surfing the net. It is also true that there are a lot of voices currently calling out for online censorship because the internet is far too open. So, since this is a situation that they are familiar with, you thought it was time they discussed internet censorship because this is an issue in discussion lately. (5’)

2. Tell them that to be able to form a well­rounded opinion about the topic, they have to find videos on YouTube that support or condemn this kind of censorship. (5’)

3. Explain to them that they are going to be divided in 2 teams . (10-15’)

4. Allow them time to search for these videos online. Explain to them that you are going to be present and offer any help needed but you expect them to be independent in their search.

5. Tell them that in the next lesson, both teams are going to watch their videos about internet censorship in class. The first team are going to watch videos that support it and team number two will view videos against this censorship. (1 h)

6. Tell the students they should focus on three questions, which you have already posted on http://www.pearltrees.com/: These are the following:

• Is internet a public or a private sphere?

• Should there be more censorship?

• Should freedom of speech be absolute or should it be limited?

7. They should note down all of the arguments used. Then, they have to upload the relevant videos as well as their arguments on http://www.pearltrees.com/ so that both teams can prepare their counterarguments. No analysis or reflection of the arguments will be posted there, though. (30’)

8. You should set up the day the discussion will take place (online class).

9. On the day the online debate takes place, ask them to share the videos online on a specific platform http://www.collaborizeclassroom.com/ and tell them they can also add the arguments they have come up with. Each member of every team starts a brief discussion by posting their comment/argument and their video. Other members are asked to post their responses to this (this procedure can be done synchronously as well as asynchronously). (1h)

10. You should moderate the discussion.

11. Once each team has decided about their arguments, they should also rank them in terms of validity. (10’)

12. At the end of the debate, the Ss can vote and then see the results. Remind everybody that they should reach an agreement in the end and perhaps even specify a solution. Remember, you are there to moderate and not intervene in any other way. (5’)

13. At the end of the class, the students will present their decision, again in the forum. (5’)

Follow up

Ask each team to write a summary of the debate as well as the decision on the matter and how the whole discussion has changed their perspective (if it has). They can post it later on http://www.pearltrees.com/.

Software/web 2.0 tools

http://www.youtube.com

http://www.pearltrees.com/

http://www.collaborizeclassroom.com

Materials

The learners need access to PCs with internet connection, possibly 1 PC for every 2 students.

pearltrees

download

Summer learning opportunities

Summer is ahead and soon most of us will find some time to relax and spend time with the family. It is also a great opportunity for professional development, with all this free time in our hands, if we want to learn something new or to deepen our knowledge in a subject, acquire some new skills.

MOOCs and webinars are available in abundance and they are generally free or for a small amount of money if you are asking for a certificate. I have compiled a list for June, July and August that I think you might find helpful. I am sure there are a few more out there, so feel free to let me know and I will update the list.

In the end of the list, I am also including some self-paced MOOCs which, in other words, do not start at a fixed date but you can jump in at any time.

June 2015

 Coursera download

 downloadFutureLearn

 

download (1) Class Central

 

download (2) Cambridge English webinars 

itdi iTDi

July 2015

 edx-logo-headerEdEx

  • Big Data in Education (Starts July, 1)

https://www.edx.org/course/big-data-education-columbiax-bde1x

downloadCoursera

 

download

FutureLearn

download (1)Class Central

 download (2)Cambridge English webinars 

    August 2015

 

   downloadFutureLearn

 

 download (2)Cambridge English webinars 

itdiiTDi

Self-paced

downloadCoursera

download (1)Class Central

 

Review and discussion of Ferreday & Hodgson – The tyranny of participation

This is my 3rd post for my PGCE in Technology Enhanced Learning. For this post, we were asked to review several papers. This is the first one of these : Ferreday & Hodgson – The tyranny of participation

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tyranny

The main issues the authors are engaging with

  • The ‘darker’ sides of participation in learning are under the spotlight in this paper.
  • Participation is not necessarily a utopian ideal but it could be experienced as oppressive
  • Participative learning without reflexivity can be tyrannical
  • The possibilities offered by the disruptions of a heterotopian space posing as an alternative

What their position (arguments) are

  • Participation without reflexivity can be seen by some learners as an exercise of power and oppression
  • It is suggested that online spaces should not necessarily be seen as utopian spaces, as a lot of pedagogists believe, but as spaces characterized also by disruption which in the end can disturb the notion of the learners. They are ambiguous spaces which can offer possibilities exactly through these disturbances
  • There are different identities of individuals in the way they participate. Failing to recognize them is not given enough attention and this causes many problems in the way these learners are seen in an NL environment.
  • Feelings of guilt are manifested but heterotopic spaces allow space for such feelings to be in the open, and they could result in support and critical reflection. This is what a non-perfect community is but it is a diverse and open space.

How this relates to my experience of the TEL course

I can tell that there have been instances that I, too, experienced, these ‘dark sides’. More specifically, one of the problems was that we were provided too much information at times, and there was not always enough time to learn and practice all this new information. Since the group forum was the main way of communication and participation, there were participants (including myself) that did not respond to the reflective tasks within the time limits given but only later. As a result, there was no response to these posts by other participants, leaving these ‘late’ participants with a feeling of exclusion or with an obligation to apologise constantly for not being prompt in their replies, exactly as Ferreday discusses. From a personal point of view, once writing a post, there is the expectation of a dialogue and when this does not occur, disappointment follows. Not being bound by space and time makes online learning convenient for busy professionals like us, yet it seems that, no matter how many the obstacles, interaction remains an essential as well as a much expected part for the learning process to be fulfilled. Yet, even if these feelings were out there, they did not cause a great disturbance rather than showing that these are just some possibilities that can occur in these online spaces.

What the paper’s main strengths and weaknesses are from my experience of the TEL course

Approaching online spaces and participation as not utopian spaces that can embrace diversity and offer more opportunities for reflection. In this way, these spaces are seen in a more realistic way and not as idealistic spaces where perfection is expected and nothing less.

Perhaps a negative side to this is that for a heterotopian space to function positively in the end, even through disruptions, there has to be reflective practice and therefore engagement of the learners with each other and another prerequisite is the creation of a more informal/less academic atmosphere, both of which require time to happen.

Interview with Christina Martidou on the making of ‘Dylan & Lydia’ : a digital storybook for young learners of English.

This is my 2nd interview in which I present another creative colleague and a very dear friend, Christina Martidou. We first met here  in Thessaloniki, our hometown, and we ‘clicked’ immediately. I particularly like her inquisitive and restless spirit which led her to create, along with her sister Marina,  a little ‘gem’ : a digital storybook  for young learners of English, «Dylan & Lydia», which is actually the theme of our interview!  I have to tell you though that this is actually a ‘double’ interview. After interviewing Christina, I asked her to interview her students who took part in the making of this storybook by lending their voices. I think she did an excellent job and we have come up with a wonderful video which I hope you will enjoy watching and which will also give you a better idea of her work.

Interview with Christina Martidou 

Vicky : Christina, so nice to have you here!

Christina : It’s my great pleasure and honour, Vicky!

Vicky : Christina, I hear 2 little kids, Dylan and Lydia have stolen your heart!!! Who are they?

Christina : That’s right! Dylan and Lydia are the main characters of my first digital storybook designed for young learners of English around the world.

Vicky : Now, how did you come up with the idea that two small children like them could actually ‘choose’ their own fate?

Christina : I generally believe in the power of choice and creating one’s own destiny. Throughout our lives we face various dilemmas and the decisions we make, lead us to different paths or can even change our lives forever. For me, it’s good to let children know early on that actions have consequences and we should use our power to choose as wisely as we can.

In the case of our storybook, we also thought that offering ‘Dylan’ and ‘Lydia’ the opportunity to choose their own fate empowers the user who can pick the direction of the story in the role of the protagonists and create his own reading path.

Additionally, it makes the storybook even more interesting and rich in content since the readers can enjoy two completely different stories with different endings and morals in one App!

Vicky : Can you tell us a bit more about the plot?

Christina : Dylan and Lydia are two amiable 9 year-old- twins who live in Oxford. On a day trip to London, they meet Madame Sonya, a famous Fortune teller, who will slyly try to trick them into her evil plans. The twins have the chance to travel to a wondrous place for children called ‘Fantasy Land’ or experience adventurous moments with notorious pirates on a real pirate ship! Dylan and Lydia end up learning important life lessons about the value of true friendship and trust.

Vicky : Who wrote the story? How did you get inspired?

Christina : My younger sister Marina and I came up with the stories on a boat trip to Corfu, a beautiful Greek island. Then, I set out to write the stories in English and design the accompanying activities, dictionaries and games.

Our sources of inspiration have definitely been all the fairytales and Disney movies we have read and watched throughout the years. Writing and publishing our very own children’s book was one of our childhood dreams. This storybook is the outcome of a greater need to be creative in a time of deep financial crisis and stagnation in Greece.

Vicky : How difficult was the realization of this dream (making this app) and how long did it take?

Christina : It was much more challenging than we had originally anticipated. It took us about 6-7 months of full-time work to complete this project. However, this has been by far the most enjoyable and creative experience of my professional life and we really look forward to the ‘Dylan and Lydia’ sequel. Needless to say that this App wouldn’t have been realized, without the invaluable help of remarkable colleagues like Hanna Kryszewska, Charles Boyle Edmund Dudley, John Hughes and Esther Martin. My students’ contributions also make this storybook stand out.

Vicky : I know that several of your students took part in the making of ‘Dylan and Lydia’. Can you tell us more about this experience? How easy or difficult was it to include them in this process?

Christina : My students participated in the whole process very actively! Firstly, we had all the materials (texts, graphic designs, games& activities) tried and tested by 9- 12 year old students (boys and girls) from different backgrounds and language levels. Their feedback was really valuable and we actually implemented many of their ideas in the storyline.

More importantly, the roles of the main characters have been narrated by students of mine who are non-native speakers of English.  Thus, when children read the storybook, they can easily relate to other fluent young learners of English. The experience at the recording studio was unique! My students were more than happy to participate and thrilled to visit a recording studio! However, some of them were initially intimidated by the microphone. The tricky part for us was to achieve a satisfying level of performance (good pronunciation and acting) without losing students’ spontaneity by having them repeat their lines again and again. Luckily, with a little encouragement, the recordings were completed successfully. 

Vicky : What kind of important life lessons can the children learn? Tell us a bit more about one of these life lessons!

Christina : Through the stories children empathize with the main characters and in this way learn useful life lessons. One of them is that true friends are important in life, they can help us through difficult situations and we must never betray them!

Vicky : What are your plans from now on?

Christina : I usually avoid making long- term plans. However, I do wish to keep developing both personally and professionally. Right now, I’m working on a handbook for all teachers who wish to read and explore our educational App with their students. It will include extra language activities, worksheets, DIY crafts and drawings for further practice and fun! This will soon be published on my personal edtech blog (http://christinamartidou.edublogs.org/) and it’ll be free to download.

Thank you for this interview Vicky mou !!!

In fact, just before we were ready to publish her interview, Christina had already prepared this handbook and was kind enough to offer it to all our readers today. Here it is!

DYLAN-LYDIA-HANDBOOK (1)

10988927_10152577872971360_8151353815085493654_nChristina’s bio

Christina Martidou has been an English teacher for the past 14 years. She holds a degree in ‘English Language and Literature’ from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece and an MA in ‘Media, Culture and Communication’ from UCL.

She has worked both freelance and in private schools with students of various ages and levels. She currently works at Perrotis College, American Farm School of Thessaloniki. Christina has a genuine interest in educational technology, mobile learning and continuous professional development.

Christina is the author and creative director of ‘Dylan& Lydia at the Fortune Teller’s’, a double- path digital storybook created for young learners of English (http://bit.ly/1pzv6O8 ).

She loves blogging about edtech- related topics at: http://christinamartidou.edublogs.org/

E-mail: martidouchristina@gmail.com

Twitter: @CMartidou

My first positive MOOC experience

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One of the requirements for the PGCE in Technology Enhanced Learning is that I blog about several topics involving Education Technology and this is my first post of this series.

Nearly everybody involved in education has already heard about Moocs (Massive Open Online Courses). They are offered not only by universities internationally but also from various other educational Institutions.  The most popular providers are Coursera, Khan Academy, Udacity, EdEX  and  FutureLearn. Generally speaking, a lot of the most famous Universities all over the world offer them now .

Like most of my colleagues, I heard about Moocs about 3 years ago and decided to give it a try and look into the possibility of attending one or more. The first one was a total failure because even though I registered, i never even bothered to attend. Yet, about a year after that first attempt, I did commit to completing  a Mooc and six months after I finished the first one, I completed a second one, too, both on the same subject (Art and ESL).  Before attending any of them though, I did a little research and this was what I came up with.

mooc

Why are they so popular?

  • You only need a reliable internet connection and some free time to dedicate
  • The majority of them are free (if you want, you can pay an extra fee – only a small amount, normally around 30 to 40 dollars – and receive a “Verified Certificate” that securely links the assessment to the student)
  • There are thousands of courses from across the world available
  • There is a huge variety of subjects to choose from (mathematics, biology, computing, business marketing, education, art, etc.) and it keeps growing
  • There are no real requirements for anyone to attend a course like the ones that exist in formal education
  • A lot of the Universities organizing Moocs are trying to make them count as credit toward a higher education award, like COURSERA’s Moocs, for example (Hammods, 2013).

Some scepticism

  • Skepticists claim it is a delusion to believe the masses can be educated in this way, mainly because of lack of research about how students learn in massive open online platforms (Sharma, 2013)
  • There are high dropout rates (Stein, 2013).
  • Even though Moocs are supposed to be reaching poor and uneducated people, the ones actually taking Moocs do not actually fall in this category (Mazoue, 2013)

My own experience and why it was successful

Why did I complete mine then and then went on for a second one, too? I think the main reason was that the Moocs I finally attended  in full were courses I was really interested in. MOMA (the museum of Modern Art in N.York) was the provider. MOMA had already started organizing these courses in N.York, they had great success and decided it was time they targeted a more global audience. The truth is that I would have even gone to N.York to attend these courses! And I had applied, in the first place. That was before the Moocs. But the number of participants was limited at the time (only 70 people), and they only accepted people from the States.  So, once they announced the same course would be offered in a Mooc, I grabbed the opportunity!

Still, it could have been a disappointment for various reasons: a new platform, distance education, too many participants, not formal education, not receiving any credits for it. I can go on and on… What, in fact, made a difference was the fact that I enjoyed the way they had organized it, at least most of it.  Why?

First of all, each week a new medium was introduced : the first  2 weeks there were video presentations , readings, 1-2 topics for discussion on the forum and a short quiz for the readings. The third week, the videos became more practical and the questions on the forum more challenging. Also, a google hangout was introduced where all the participants could take part in the discussion or watch it asynchronously. The fourth week, there were discussions about the final project. Generally, we were encouraged starting from the first week to interact with the other participants (there must have been over 20.000 enrolled in the course). Our interaction with the other participants also counted towards our final mark. Finally, our projects were posted on the forum the 5th week and were peer reviewed by 3 other participants who had to evaluate each of the projects based on 3-5 specific criteria which appeared on the evaluation page . The projects we had to review were anonymous and each evaluator was chosen randomly. It was the web system that decided which projects each of us would evaluate in an attempt to ensure objectivity.

Even though the truth is that I did not make any connections or acquaintances, I truly enjoyed the 2 Moocs and I would definitely come back for more. The way of organization appealed to me, I was encouraged to participate, the material was relevant and the presentations were excellent! Everything made sense! To ensure I would be more dedicated, I also signed up for a signature track certificate, which means that I also paid a small amount of money for it. It did motivate me more… But it is not obligatory. If you do not pay for a verified certificate, you do not have to complete the final project necessarily. But this also gives more freedom to anyone who just wants to attend a Mooc without being too much involved.

On the other hand, there were some downsides. If you are expecting a more direct and prompt communication with/from the organizers, then it is most probable this is not going to happen! Sometimes, the participants can be thousands and thousands. It is really difficult to answer every single person promptly, especially because of the huge numbers of participants. The peer review also might mean that a lot of people might end up dissatisfied. The participants come from various academic and professional backgrounds so their judgement might be questionable. Not to mention that some people might not consider the evaluation a serious commitment from their part (so they might award a mark without all the necessary consideration) and again their objectivity might be questionable.

All in all, this was a very positive experience.  I honestly believe that these particular Moocs were as effective, if not more so, than any traditional classroom teaching (Glance et al., 2013).  Yet, when later I tried to follow another Mooc which proved to be much much less well planned, more time consuming and a bit confusing, I just quit. Just like that! Yet, isn’t there here a positive side, too? You will only commit to something that you really find interesting. These Moocs target a wider audience so they are flexible, not very academic and as long as they are well planned, to the point, and ensure interaction, they can be very enjoyable and practical!

 

 

  1. Glance, D.G. & Forsey D. & Riley M.(2013). The pedagogical foundations of massive open online courses. First Monday, Volume 18, Number 5. Retrieved from http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/4350/3673
  2. Hammods, W. (2013). MOOCs for credit?. Retrieved from http://blog.universitiesuk.ac.uk/2013/02/14/moocs-for-credit/
  3. Mazoue, J.G. (2013). Five Myths about MOOCs. Educase Review, Retrieved from http://www.educause.edu/ero/article/five-myths-about-moocs
  4. Sharma, G. (2013). A MOOC Delusion: Why Visions to Educate the World Are Absurd. Retrieved from http://chronicle.com/blogs/worldwise/a-mooc-delusion-why-visions-to-educate-the-world-are-absurd/32599
  5. Stein, K. (2013). Penn GSE Study Shows MOOCS Have Relatively few active users, with only a few persisting to course end. Retrieved from http://www.gse.upenn.edu/pressroom/press-releases/2013/12/penn-gse-study-shows-moocs-have-relatively-few-active-users-only-few-persisti