Webinar given for University of Cape Town 17-Oct-2013 exploring the pedagogical differences between cMOOCs and xMOOCs. Pedagogical recommendations given along with recommendations around adoption approaches for universities.
1. The Pedagogy of MOOCs
University of Cape Town Seminar
This presentation is based on my Pedagogy of MOOCs blog post at:
with Paul Stacey
Associate Director of Global Learning
Except where otherwise noted these materials
are licensed Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY)
4. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)
The MOOC! The Movie by Giulia Forsythe CC BY-NC-SA
5. The Pedagogy of MOOCs
How can you effectively teach thousands of
I’m fascinated by the contrast between post-secondary faculty and K-12 teacher contract
agreements that limit class size and the current emergent MOOC aim of having as many
enrollments as possible. What a dichotomy.
How well are MOOC’s doing at successfully
Based on MOOCs equally massive dropout rates having teaching and learning success
on a massive scale will require pedagogical innovation. It’s this innovation, more than
massive enrollments or free that I think make MOOC’s important.
10. Common Features of Early MOOCs
• Open to anyone to participate.
• Some of these early MOOC’s, taught by university
faculty, had tuition paying students taking the course
for university credit who were joined in the the same
class with non-tuition paying, non-credit students who
got to fully participate in a variety of non-formal ways.
Alec Couros pedagogically designed his graduate
course in a way that relies on the participation of noncredit students.
• Other early MOOC’s were solely offered as a form of
informal learning open to anyone for free without a
• Openly licensed using Creative Commons licenses
11. Pedagogy of cMOOCs
• These early MOOCs, known as connectivist or
cMOOCs, focus on knowledge creation and
generation rather than knowledge duplication.
• In cMOOCs, the learners take a greater role in
shaping their learning experiences than in traditional
• Four key characteristics - autonomy, diversity,
openness, and connectedness/interactivity
• Dave Cormier maps out the five steps to success in a
cMOOC – 1. Orient, 2. Declare, 3. Network, 4.
Cluster, 5. Focus.
• Faculty/facilitators focus on fostering a space for
learning connections to occur.
12. Pedagogy of cMOOCs
• PLENK2010 is an unusual course. It does not consist of
a body of content you are supposed to remember.
• The learning in the course results from the activities you
undertake, and will be different for each person.
• This course is not conducted in a single place or
environment. It is distributed across the web. We will
provide some facilities. But we expect your activities to
take place all over the internet. We will ask you to visit
other people’s web pages, and even to create some of
• This connectivist course is based on four
major types of activity –1. Aggregate,
2. Remix, 3. Repurpose, 4. Feed Forward.
13. Pedagogy of cMOOCs
• Learning happens within a
• Learners use digital platforms
such as blogs, wikis, social
media platforms to make
connections with content,
learning communities and
other learners to create and
• Participant blog posts, tweets
etc. are aggregated by
course organizers and shared
with all participants via daily
email, newsletter, forum,
RSS feed, …
My Twitter Social Ego Networks by David Rodrigues CC BY-NC-SA
14. In those early pioneering days
MOOCs were exciting for their
Even the courses were about
innovative pedagogy – Social
Media & Open Education,
Connectivism, Personal Learning
21st century Learner by Giulia Forsythe CC BY-NC-SA
15. • In 2011 MOOC’s migrated to the US with Jim Groom’s
DS106 Digital Storytelling at the University of Mary
Washington in Virginia.
• DS106 is a credit course at UMW, but you can also be an
16. New Pedagogical Directions
• Rather than assignments
created by faculty, ds106
course assignments are
collectively created by
course participants over all
offerings of the course.
• The Assignment Bank is
online and anyone can
• Having course participants
collectively build course
assignments for use by
students in future classes is
a hugely significant
17. • ds106 is the first ever
online course with its own
radio station - ds106 radio
• The pedagogical potential
of a course radio station is
an exciting but relatively
18. MOOCs Go Massive
• Fall of 2011 Stanford Engineering professors offered three
of the school’s most popular computer science courses for
free online as MOOCs – Machine Learning, Introduction to
Artificial Intelligence, and Introduction to Databases
• Introduction to Artificial Intelligence course offered free and
online to students worldwide from October 10th to
December 18th 2011 was the biggest surprise
• Taught by Sebastian Thrun and Peter Norvig this course
really was massive attracting 160,000 students from over
19. Stanford MOOC Pedagogy
• Pedagogically a step backward
• Watch video lecture recordings, read course
materials, complete assignments, take quizzes and
• Gone were the rich pedagogical innovations from
• Simply migrated campus-based didatic methods of
teaching to the online environment
• Absence of any effort to utilize the rich body of
research on how to teach online effectively
• While didactic, lecture based methods of teaching
have long been the mainstay of bricks and mortar
schools we know that this method of teaching does
not transfer well to online
• Sebastian Thrun leaves Stanford and raises venture
capital to launch Udacity
• Mission to bring accessible, affordable, engaging, and
highly effective higher education to the world.
21. Pedagogy of Udacity
• Udacity courses include lecture videos, quizzes and
• Multiple short (~5 min.) video sections make up each
• All Udacity courses are made up of distinct units = a
week’s worth of instruction and homework.
• Since Udacity enrollment is open, you can take as
long as you want to complete.
• Udacity courses include discussion forums and a wiki
for course notes, additional explanations, examples
and extra materials.
• Each course has an area where instructors can make
comments but the pedagogical emphasis is on selfstudy.
22. Pedagogy of Udacity
• Udacity courses do have an informal discussion
forum where students can post any ideas and
thoughts they have about the course, ask questions,
and receive feedback from other students
• Free participation is non-credit
• A few courses can be taken for credit (from California
institutions) for a fee
• Udacity offers job placement service in partnership
with various employers
• Late December 2011 MIT announced edX
• Aim of letting thousands of online learners take
laboratory-intensive courses, while assessing their
ability to work through complex problems, complete
projects, and write assignments.
• October 2013, 76 courses, 29 partners
24. Pedagogy of edX
• As with other MOOC style offerings edX students
won’t have interaction with faculty or earn credit
toward an MIT degree.
• For a small fee students can take an assessment
which, if successfully completed, will provide them
with a certificate from edX.
• EdX offers honor code certificates, ID verified
certificates, and XSeries certificates (successfully
completing a series of courses)
• edX platform used to conduct experiments on how
students learn and how faculty can best teach.
Assessing course data, from mouse clicks to time
spent on tasks, to evaluating how students respond
to various assessments.
25. Pedagogy of edX
• Initial edX aim was to improve teaching and learning
of tuition paying on-campus students. Have revised
aim to developing best practices to enhance the
student experience and improve teaching and
learning both on campus and online
• Pedagogy very similar to Udacity
• Regrettably the rich body of research about online
learning is not being used
• Focus of edX so far is not on pedagogy but on
engineering an open source MOOC platform
26. • April 2012 Stanford computer science professors
Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller launch Coursera as an
educational technology company offering MOOCs.
• Oct 2013 have 5,112,216 Courserians, 461 courses,
and 91 partners
27. Pedagogy of Coursera
• Video lectures, mastery learning, and peer assessment.
• Retrieval and testing for learning. Interaction = the video
frequently stops, and students are asked to answer a
simple question to test whether they are tracking the
• Coursera provides university partners with a flipped
classroom. MOOC handles the lecture, course reading,
some assessment & peer-to-peer interaction for campusbased tuition paying students. On-campus activities
focused more on active learning & instructor help.
• Non-tuition paying open participants have no active
learning component. Students are tossed a tidbit of social
learning in the form of discussion forums.
28. MOOCs, Walled Gardens, Analytics and Network: Multi-generation pedagogical innovations by Giulia Forsythe CC BY-NC-SA
xMOOCs use objectivist and behaviourist methods of
teaching and learning.
29. Are MOOCs Really Open? MOOC or MOC?
No, all rights reserved.
Partial, CC BY-NC on some
No, non-OER license.
Yes, CC BY or CC BY-SA
No, all rights reserved.
Note: some institutions using CC anyway.
Most MOOCs are open only in the sense of free enrollment.
31. Recommendations for MOOC Pedagogy
• Learning is not just acquiring a body of knowledge and
skills. Learning happens through relationships.
• Online learning pedagogies can be incredibly social
even more so than campus-based courses - MOOCs
should use this long-standing practice
• The best online pedagogies are those that use the open
web and relationship to mine veins of knowledge,
expertise, and connections between students, between
students and the instructor, and between students and
others on the open web.
• Socio-constructivist and connectivist learning theories
acknowledge and embrace the social nature of learning.
• Use social learning including blogs, chat, discussion
forums, wikis, and group assignments.
32. Recommendations for MOOC Pedagogy
• Use peer-to-peer pedagogies over self study. We
know this improves learning outcomes. The cost of
enabling a network of peers is the same as that of
networking content – essentially zero.
• Be as open as possible. Use open pedagogies that
leverage the entire web not just the specific content
in the MOOC platform.
• Use OER and openly license your resources using
Creative Commons licenses in a way that allows
reuse, revision, remix, and redistribution.
• Leverage massive participation – have all students
contribute something that adds to or improves the
33. Recommendations for UCT
• Organize an inter-disciplinary group/committee to
evaluate MOOC options and recommend a particular
• Define purpose of UCT doing MOOCs
• Design a UCT MOOC pedagogical strategy
• Initial MOOCs may come from academic areas
already engaged in online learning – commerce,
• Alternatively MOOCs could showcase courses that
highlight what makes UCT special and unique
34. Four Barriers That MOOCs Must
Overcome To Build a Sustainable Model
Phil Hill http://mfeldstein.com/four-barriers-that-moocs-must-overcome-to-become-sustainable-model
Need pedagogically based business models.
35. Special Issue on Massive Open Online Courses
George Veletsianos http://hybrid-pedagogy.github.io/LearnerExperiencesInMOOCs
36. For more on the history of MOOCs, what is a MOOC, and
news on MOOCs see: http://www.mooc.ca
37. Paul Stacey
web site: http://creativecommons.org
presentation slides: http://www.slideshare.net/Paul_Stacey