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The first question you might have is: why this title, right? (click) Well, we hear so many new concepts, which try to bring some clarity, but in fact they don’t bring any disruptive thinking or approach. Sometimes I have the feeling we are only trying to invent the wheel (click), nevertheless we shouldn’t forget that different people have different needs, so can provide different types of transport and that depends on which mean they want to take. Bottom line, the MicroMasters is just another concept like any other, because is what you do with it that can make the difference.
Many things we heard about the MOOC, and it isn’t my purpose to discuss about it, but at the end (click) what we observe is that the target audience is mainly people with higher education. And most of the higher education institutions used the MOOC to make their university more visible in the world, to innovate education, and/or responding to the demands of learners and societies.
So what is this concept called MicroMasters? First of all, edX (click) advertise this as an opportunity for the higher education institutions to have an inverted admission process, where they can gather more information about potential learners. Another characteristic is that HE institutions offer a bundle of courses, each one as a MOOC, which is part of their master campus education programme. Finally, to have a certification, learners pay higher fees, which doesn’t necessarily represents higher income for the HE institutions. From the students perspective I see 3 different target audience: (click) those who want pursue a master degree, but first wish to check some of the courses offered by a specific institution; those who are interested in having a certification of a specific area to improve their professional careers; and finally those who have some interest in the topic.
This slide is to give you an idea of two different courses where we see different approaches according to what each institution wants to offer
But giving one step back, looking at what TU Delft has to offer, is hard to understand how can the MicroMasters fits in our products. Although this product is identified as a MOOC, and in our model the MOOC should have materials released under an open license with no restricted areas to access to content or activities, what we can see is that most of the MicroMasters we find out there have restricted areas. At the same time, if we are asking more money to the paying learners, we need to offer something more. The certificate per se is not enough to have a raise in the price. So we thought we needed to provide a more supportive learning experience, similar to what we offer in our ProfEds and Academic Online Courses. Once we are talking about a programme, we had in mind to development of a learning community for ID verified learners.
This is probably the part where everyone tells all the good things which happened, but as you can imagine this wasn’t a smooth process, mainly because there are many stakeholders involved. First of all is important to say that we see this as a pilot. Having this said, we shouldn’t forget that the MicroMasters have implications since there is the possibility to provide learners with a weaver for the campus courses. The main challenge we faced (click) was how to align the rules and regulations of the Examination Board with the flexible online learning experience we want to offer in our MOOC
Once again we see different approaches in the three institutions. In our case, the decisions which led to these differences were mainly to align with what we offer in our campus course, which means, this had a strong impact in the way the course design was set. Also, keep in mind that EU students pay 2,000 euro tuition fee per year, while non-EU students pay 15,000 euro per year.
When is comes to our regular MOOC, although we can find differences among them, there are 3 principles present (click): The content should be under a CC license, the learning experience set for the learners is the same, and the summative assessment is spread throughout the course. Then in the MicroMasters you can find two main differences (click): the paying learners have a different learning experience, and due to the align with rules and regulations of campus education the assessment is mainly final exam based. Moreover, and still related with the rules and regulations, while most of our MOOC have a duration of 6-8 weeks, the MOOC of the MicroMasters have 11 weeks.
Picking up the last idea, in this slide we can see what is announced has time expected, their initial availability and what really happened.
Related to the learning experience provided to the paying learners, although there aren't significant differences, they gave more importance to the personalized emails and additional support before the final exam, but in fact, and perhaps due to the expectations, these were the two elements with lower satisfaction. Anyway, the webinar had the higher level of satisfaction. The setting of these 4 elements are described in the paper.
Coming to the conclusions, this paper was focused on the first of four courses, so it’s to early to judge the full potential of the programme. Nevertheless, the first experience allowed us to fine tune the course. The first change was to open the webinar, which is more aligned with our vision on how MOOC should be delivered. Another change was in the initial availability of the exam forum, so they can fell comfortable to ask questions immediately. Finally, and these is based on our survey results, we see that this can be a good option for learners who want to come to campus.
the pursuit of the Holy Grail in online learning
Pedro Barbosa Cabral, Nelson Ribeiro Jorge, Willem van Valkenburg
Except where otherwise noticed this presentation is
available under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0
international license Please attribute TU Delft
Why this title?
Photo by Eniko Polgar on Unsplash
• Inverted admission process
• Part of a master campus
programme → bundle of
• Bigger fees, compared with
• Master degree
• Professional career
• Interest in the topic
Different MicroMasters approaches
(Hong Kong PU)
1 Proctored Exam
1 Proctored Exam
8 – 11 weeks 6 weeks
Average cost $225 $120
How does the MicroMasters fit in TU Delft?
MOOC Prof. Education Academic Online
Align rules and regulations of campus
education with what we offer in our online
Comparison of MicroMasters
SCM (MIT) IHM (Hong Kong
SEE (TU Delft)
1 Proctored Exam
1 Proctored Exam
1 Project capstone
8 – 11 weeks 6 weeks 11 weeks
$225 $120 $280