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Open Courses: The Next Big Thing in E-Learning?


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Presentation at the ECEL 2011 conference in Brighton UK; November 10-11, 2011.

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Open Courses: The Next Big Thing in E-Learning?

  1. 1. Open Courses: the Next Big Thing in E- learning? Kaido Kikkas Mart Laanpere Hans Põldoja Estonian IT College Tallinn University Tallinn University & Tallinn University ECEL 2011 Brighton UK Nov 10-11, 2011 These slides are available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (BY-SA) 3.0 Estonia license at
  2. 2. A view on the evolution of e-learning <ul><li>Before the 80's: pre-IT distance learning
  3. 3. 80's, early 90's: computer-based learning (PC as a glorified, interactive video player), CD-ROMs, educational software, multimedia
  4. 4. Late 90's – e-learning 1.0: e-mail, Web 1.0, scripts and applets
  5. 5. Early 00's: e-learning 2.0: LMS (WebCT etc), later 2.5: open-source LMS's (Moodle etc)
  6. 6. Today: e-learning 3.0: Web 2.0, distributed and personal learning environments, blogs, wikis </li></ul>
  7. 7. Another view by Teemu Leinonen Source:
  8. 8. From FLOSS to OER <ul><li>Free / Libre / Open-Source Software
  9. 9. Free Content / Free Culture (e.g. Creative Commons)
  10. 10. 2001 – MIT OpenCourseWare
  11. 11. 2002 – Open Educational Resources
  12. 12. Various OER repositories: Connexions, LeMill etc
  13. 13. Late 00's – MOOC: open in both environment and process (S. Downes, G. Siemens et al) </li></ul>
  14. 14. OOC in Estonia <ul><li>Since 2008, using Wikiversity. Some examples (see the paper for the full list of courses): </li><ul><li>Social Software and Network Communities (SSNC), 4 ECTS M.Sc. course with 226 participants (total for all years). Currently running with ~120 participants
  15. 15. Ethics and Law in New Media (ELNM), 5 ECTS international M.Sc. course with 44 participants
  16. 16. Ethical, Social and Professional Aspects of Information Technology (ESPAIT), a 4 ECTS introductory-level B.Sc. course with 161 participants. Currently running with ~60
  17. 17. Standards and Specifications for e-Learning Tools (SSET), 4 ECTS M.A. course with 20 participants
  18. 18. Learning Environments and Learning Networks (LELN), 3 ECTS M.A. course with 28 participants </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. Two approaches <ul><li>Wiki-centred : the focus is at Wikiversity; blogs are used as workbooks (less for feedback and interaction); web-based forum is used for discussions; weekly text chat for community building and consulting; may have a traditional end exam or not
  20. 20. Blog-centred : Wikiversity is used as a starting point, the focus is on the central blog; a wider range of Web 2.0 tools are used
  21. 21. In testing stage: EduFeedr as a facilitating tool </li></ul>
  22. 22. Methodology <ul><li>Action research using the framework analysis method (Ritchie and Spencer, 1994) was used to study the feedback gathered from the participants of open courses: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>familiarisation with collected data
  23. 23. identifying a thematic framework
  24. 24. indexing the repeating topics by open coding
  25. 25. charting
  26. 26. mapping and interpretation </li></ul></ul>
  27. 27. The five main themes found <ul><li>Enlightening experience: open courses as a new way to learn together
  28. 28. The culture of sharing: daring to write in public
  29. 29. Real-time chat as a community tool: what it gives and what it takes
  30. 30. Community gravity: nurturing the social ties within the group
  31. 31. Facilitation: changing the role of the teacher </li></ul>
  32. 32. Some more findings <ul><li>An effective quality assurance system
  33. 33. Extra students: a possibility, not a liability
  34. 34. Especially suitable for rapidly changing fields
  35. 35. Community management and also conflict-solving skills are very valuable
  36. 36. Chat size and tone must be under control
  37. 37. Homework tasks with varying response cycle
  38. 38. Occasional guests / outside trips are good </li></ul>
  39. 39. Conclusions <ul><li>Our experience and findings suggest that OOC is a suitable model for a wide range of courses and is likely to become the next step in the evolution of e-learning
  40. 40. There are several options within the general model, but care must be taken to construct a working setup
  41. 41. The teacher's role has shifted but remains equally important </li></ul>