The messy realities of learning and participation in open courses and MOOCs
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The messy realities of learning and participation in open courses and MOOCs

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Presentation at Canada's Collaboration for Online Higher Education and Research Conference (COHERE), Vancouver, BC. In this presentation, I describe the messy realities of learning and participation ...

Presentation at Canada's Collaboration for Online Higher Education and Research Conference (COHERE), Vancouver, BC. In this presentation, I describe the messy realities of learning and participation in open online courses. I discuss the MOOC phenomenon as a symptom of chronic failures in the higher education system and discuss what we can learn about learning experiences by studying learning "on the ground."

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  • Καλησπέρα Χρύση!
    Thanks for reaching out. I'm glad to know that parts of this were helpful to you. Please keep in touch and feel free to share your work and findings with me!

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  • Dear George, this presentation made me think and reflect on the work I am doing at the moment. I am a PhD student in open educational practice in the context of academic development. I use phenomenography and study the variation of the learners' experience. Hopefully my findings will be valuable for others. I am following your work with great interest.

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The messy realities of learning and participation in open courses and MOOCs The messy realities of learning and participation in open courses and MOOCs Presentation Transcript

  • The messy realities of learning and participation in open courses Dr. George Veletsianos Canada Research Chair in Innovative Learning & Technology Associate Professor School of Education and Technology Royal Roads University Canada's Collaboration for Online Higher Education and Research Conference (COHERE) October 24, 2013
  • School of Education and Technology http://tinyurl.com/RRUMALAT
  • What does this have to do with Open Learning & Open Participation? Key takeaway #1: •  No single narrative can describe what happens in open learning environments
  • Key takeaways #2 to #4 •  The MOOC phenomenon is a symptom of chronic failures/issues •  We lack a complete understanding of what happens “on the ground” with open learning/participation •  The realities of open learning/participation are messy. •  We need more research on experiences & practices associated with openness
  • The MOOC •  My experience with MOOCs •  What do MOOCs represent? •  MOOCs are not just courses •  I prefer the terms “MOOC phenomenon”  because MOOCs represent something broader than massive open online courses. •  What is that something?
  • The MOOC phenomenon as a symptom •  MOOCs are “the billion $$ solution to a problem we haven’t identified yet.” (Siemens, 2013) –  A historically accurate perspective. •  “The history of our field is replete with bandwagons, new technologies that were the temporal panaceas... Bandwagons are solutions in search of problems” (Choi & Reeves, 2013). •  “[C]omputer-based ITS have been solutions in search of problems. This has resulted in a variety of misguided or unnecessary lessons that do little more than pay homage to the latest technological trend” (Hooper & Hannafin, 1991).
  • If the MOOC phenomenon is not a solution, what is it? •  A “symptom of a larger problem” (Marquis, 2013) •  A “symptom of the HE crisis” (Kendzior, 2013) •  A “symptom of the absence of educational ambition among politicians” (Newfield, 2013) •  “A symptom of change” (Stewart, 2013) •  A symptom of “the seismic shifts that are taking place in our profession” (Taylor, 2012) •  A symptom of “society’s degraded approach to knowledge” (Leddy, 2013) •  “One symptom of openness” (Batson, 2013)
  • If the MOOC phenomenon is not a solution, what is it? •  I propose that the MOOC phenomenon is a symptom of: –  Economic pressures –  Political pressures –  Privatization pressures –  Educators’ failures to create their own solutions for educational problems –  Lack of impact of educational technology research on learning design –  Lack of impact of educational technology scholarship (to share our findings, to make meaningful contributions to practice).
  • Yet, the MOOC phenomenon has made some contributions •  Elevated the profile of online education •  Raised the profile of free (perhaps open?) education •  Elevated the profile of teaching (Collier, 2013) •  Exerted pressure on HE institutions to innovate •  Provided impetus for more collaboration within HE (e.g., at the institutional level)
  • Hence… The MOOC phenomenon
  • What happens “on the ground” with open learning/participation? •  Caveat –  Open courses vs. “Open” courses vs. Open learning/participation •  Learners report –  benefiting from open course participation (Hilton, Graham, Rich, & Wiley, 2010) –  Facing a number of obstacles (Mackness et al, 2011)
  • What happens “on the ground” with open learning/participation? •  Institutional MOOCs demonstrate low completion rates, <10% (Jordan, 2013) •  Big Data & Learning Analytics research question traditional understanding of “completion” –  Learners exhibit varied participation behaviors (e.g., auditing, completing, disengaging, sampling) (Kizilcec, Piech, & Schneider, 2013) –  Koller et al. (2013) argue that participants may not necessarily intent to complete a course
  • What happens “on the ground” with open learning/participation? •  How does the research on scholars’ online participation inform research on open online learning? –  Networked Participatory Scholarship: “scholars’ use of participatory technologies and online social networks to share, reflect upon, critique, improve, validate, and further their scholarship” (Veletsianos & Kimmons, 2012) –  What do scholars do on Twitter? (Veletsianos, 2012) –  What activities and practices do scholars enact online and what does that tell us about identity (Veletsianos, 2013) –  What tensions arise when participating in online networks (Veletsianos & Kimmons, 2013; Kimmons & Veletsianos, under review)
  • What happens “on the ground” with open learning/participation? •  We lack an evidence-based understanding of experiences with all open forms of learning/ scholarship •  Majority of the research on open online learning conducted to date has been survey-based, focused on learner behavior, and guided by tracking online behaviors •  Reports from institutional offices are helpful, but we need in-depth studies
  • What happens “on the ground” with open learning/participation? •  Need multiple methodologies: •  Macro (Kizilcec, Piech, Schneider, 2013) •  Auditing, Completing, Disengaging, Sampling •  Micro (Ota, 2013) •  “[I was] left with a partial sense of accomplishment and feelings of hollowness and incompleteness.” •  In the frenzy surrounding the rise of “edtech” and MOOCs, it seems that student voices and experiences are rarely considered.
  • What is it like to participate in open online learning? Veletsianos, G. (2013). Learner Experiences with MOOCs and Open Online Learning. Hybrid Pedagogy. Retrieved on Sept 29, 2013 from http://learnerexperiences.hybridpedagogy.com.
  • Results •  Learners –  questioned institutional/instructor commitment, –  identified a need for improved instructional design, –  praised responsive MOOC instructors, –  criticized instructors who were not visible, –  valued course flexibility and denounced course rigidity, –  appreciated the opportunities for open learning.
  • Results •  Learners –  questioned institutional/instructor commitment, –  identified a need for improved instructional design, –  praised responsive MOOC instructors, –  criticized instructors who were not visible, –  valued course flexibility and denounced course rigidity, –  appreciated the opportunities for open learning.
  • Results •  Learners –  questioned institutional/instructor commitment, –  identified a need for improved instructional design, –  praised responsive MOOC instructors, –  criticized instructors who were not visible, –  valued course flexibility and denounced course rigidity, –  appreciated the opportunities for open learning.
  • Results •  Learners –  questioned institutional/instructor commitment, –  identified a need for improved instructional design, –  praised responsive MOOC instructors, –  criticized instructors who were not visible, –  valued course flexibility and denounced course rigidity, –  appreciated the opportunities for open learning.
  • Results •  Learners –  questioned institutional/instructor commitment, –  identified a need for improved instructional design, –  praised responsive MOOC instructors, –  criticized instructors who were not visible, –  valued course flexibility and denounced course rigidity, –  appreciated the opportunities for open learning.
  • Results •  Learners –  questioned institutional/instructor commitment, –  identified a need for improved instructional design, –  praised responsive MOOC instructors, –  criticized instructors who were not visible, –  valued course flexibility and denounced course rigidity, –  appreciated the opportunities for open learning.
  • Results •  Learners –  questioned institutional/instructor commitment, –  identified a need for improved instructional design, –  praised responsive MOOC instructors, –  criticized instructors who were not visible, –  valued course flexibility and denounced course rigidity, –  appreciated the opportunities for open learning.
  • Summary •  The realities of open online learning are different from the hopes of open online learning. •  We only have small pieces of an incomplete mosaic of students’ learning experiences with open online learning.
  • Where do we go from here?
  • Design experiences – not products. What do we want open learning experiences to look like? What systems can we design to realize these experiences?
  • Thank you! www.veletsianos.com www.veletsianos.com/publications @veletsianos on Twitter veletsianos@gmail.com