Designing and Developing a MOOC: Lessons from Experience


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Presented at the 2013 SLATE conference by Tracy Miller, Jason Rhode, and Stephanie Richter

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  • Grew from the OER movement (MIT Open Courseware, iTunes U)CCK 08 by George Siemens & Stephen Downes(term coined by Dave Cormier)Rise of MOOC providers: EdX, Coursera, Udacity
  • From coursesites.comSign the first time, then login afterwardsNotice MOOC Catalog – The MOOC Catalog is where participants self-enroll
  • Asynchronous MOOCs require more automatic responses and instruction upfront. There is not as much 1:1 faculty interactions because of the sheer number of participants. Assessments need to be automatic or easy to gradeWeekly is a loose term, Designers choice as to how time sensitive you want to make it. How self-paced is it? Can participants catch up? What is a reasonable weekly commitment? How many weeks are manageable?Certificate of Completion and CPDUs, requires a fully articulated Syllabus, with learning objectivities and upfront expectations of what it means to have completed. CPDUs also require approval, forms and an evaluation but it’s a good motivator.
  • Persistent and consistent communication is very important, especially as participants enter the environment early in the course. Also notice the Accepting MOOC Terms of Use – this is a result of legal counsel for everyone’s protection. Participants must agree to the terms before any content is revealed to them.The left hand navigation show a simply navigation and the instructor view we are familiar with in the course management area.
  • Again persistent and consistent communication is good. Planning out what sort of announcements you’d like to make it good. But, be prepared for more when things pop up. At least 1 if not 2-3 announcements a week is not unreasonable. Again you could plan them out in development and time and date restrict them to appear when you want them to.Other methods of communication we used include a dedicated email address which is proxied to those of us working on it and a twitter handle.
  • We followed some basic eLearning organization practices and arranged content by week and each week is set to be available Mondays at 12:00am each week.
  • Within each weekly folder is an Summary and folders containing the lecture segments, suggested readings, activities and finally the quiz.
  • The lectures are short manageable segments, each one has closed caption available and transcripts. They are YouTube videos, but they are embedded in the course.
  • Readings are actually links to the materials
  • For most of the weeks the participants are given a choice of completing 1 of the 6 activities. Created as assignments so they can be electronically collected and graded easily.Participants also had the option to do more than one and/or post it to the Discussion board to peer feedbackWe had to set the expectation that participants would not get individual feedback.
  • Something we don’t have at NIU, yetMini-milestones along the way. A cheap extrinsic motivator to keep folks moving alongThey are set up with criteria which must be met and then rewarded with friendly iconsAlso clearly outlines again the expectations and matches the road to a Certificate of Completion
  • Designing and Developing a MOOC: Lessons from Experience

    1. 1. Designing and Developing a MOOC: Lessons from Experience
    2. 2. Introductions Tracy Miller OnlineTeaching Coordinator FDIDC Jason Rhode Director Distributed Learning Stephanie Richter Assistant Director FDIDC
    3. 3. Agenda • Why did NIU launch a MOOC? • What is NIU’s MOOC like? • How did we develop the MOOC? • What do we recommend for others?
    4. 4. MOOC Massive Open Online Course Hundreds to thousands of students Free to anyone No admissions Through an LMS, website, or social media Sequence and timing (not just resources)
    5. 5. History • Grew from the OER movement (MIT Open Courseware, iTunes U) • First MOOC was Connectivism & Connected Knowledge in 2008 (CCK 08) ○ Led by George Siemens & Stephen Downes ○ MOOC was coined by Dave Cormier to describe this course • Gained media attention with the rise of MOOC providers: EdX, Coursera, Udacity
    6. 6. Why did NIU launch a MOOC?
    7. 7. Why does anyone offer a MOOC? • To experiment • To build a community • To share knowledge • To make education more accessible • To become a recognized expert in the field
    8. 8. Perspectives on Disability • Based on AHRS 200 – Disability in Society • Motivated by a desire to share information about disability and access as a civil right • Partially supported by a donation from Bill Nicklaus and Bill & Nancy Castle (for video production)
    9. 9. What is “Perspectives on Disability” like?
    10. 10. Platform • Blackboard CourseSites ○ Familiar interface ○ Accessibility ○ No charge for hosting or participating
    11. 11. Structure • Asynchronous • Weekly ○ Lecture videos ○ Required readings ○ Activities ○ Quiz ○ Optional Discussions • Certificate of Completion and CPDUs
    12. 12. How did we develop “Perspectives on Disability”?
    13. 13. Collaborative Process • Greg Long, Professor ○ subject matter expert • Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center ○ design advice, technology assistance • Laura Vazquez, Professor ○ directed students who created videos and interviews • 50+ students ○ guest speakers ○ feedback on topics ○ recorded and edited video
    14. 14. Others who helped • University Relations • Director of Social Media • University Counsel • Media Services
    15. 15. CourseSites • Sarah Bishop-Root and Jarl Jonas have been extremely helpful! • Added NIU as an institution and to the MOOC catalog • Provided perspective and advice on course design • Collaborated on press releases • Helped with some technical support issues
    16. 16. What do we recommend for others?
    17. 17. Read about it at
    18. 18. Tips for others developing a MOOC • Participate in a MOOC (or several) • Choose a good topic • Start small • Build a team • Plan “activities” not “assessments” • Look for funding • Engage legal review early • Use Universal Design
    19. 19. Learn More About MOOCs Sign up for Perspectives on Disability!
    20. 20. Contact Us Tracy Miller Jason Rhode Stephanie Richter