Learning through MOOCing or
earning through MOOCeting?
Some thoughts about MOOCs inspired by the
RIDE Event (London) and theALT MOOC SIG
(Southampton), November 2013
Language of the MOOCosphere
Quality of learning
Quality of content
Reusing existing resources (£xx)
Creating new content (£xxx,xxx)
Low-cost assessment & accreditation
“Conversion rates” from MOOC
students to fee-paying students
MOOCs and campus-based learning
• MOOCs provide high quality multimedia content
for use in on-site provision. The on-site
experience is the “wrapper” surrounding the
MOOC content. (Don Nutbeam, Southampton)
• MOOCs flip the classroom: more time for handson laboratory experience, small group work
• Coventry photography MOOC (PHONAR) –
300,000+ worldwide students add value to small
group of fee-paying students
• Edinburgh: on-site students encouraged to join
MOOCs in different but related disciplines
• UCLAN (UK) - gives credit for attendance on
Coursera, Futurelearn, Udacity, Canvas Network,
• Vanderbilt Uni gives credit for Harvard courses
• Uni of Maryland delivers Edinburgh Uni’s MOOC
content for credit
• Athabasca University and Thomas Edison College
offer credit for MITx and Coursera courses
• 26 institutions in OER university (OERu) consortium
give credit for each other’s courses
What we know:
MOOCs can be good for CPD
• MOOCs work well for self-regulated learners
who have access to computers and the
• Continuing Professional Development (CPD)
learners tend to fit these criteria.
expanding global footprint
• It’s all about institutions making themselves
known to the world
• Edinburgh MOOCs offered in China on a
parallel server that bypasses firewalls
• University of London has “converted” at least
40 MOOC students into fee-paying students.
• Question: when a MOOC student becomes a
fee-paying student, do they feel disappointed
at quality of the non-MOOC course?
How much does a MOOC cost?
Bill Gates Foundation “Bridge
to Success” Math MOOC:
(Half of this
total was spent
(Some of this was
used to fund travel
between UK and USA
by MOOC team)
• University of London’s 4 MOOCs - 40 MOOC
students have “converted”, i.e. registered as
fee-paying students so far (out of 241,000)
• Some FutureLearn universities are considering
charging learners for a “certificate of
• MOOCs as a loss leader (based on fear that
institutions not offering MOOCs will be “left
behind” and lose students to other unis)
How massive is a MOOC?
• FutureLearn MOOCs: 25,000 people registered from
over 150 countries in first day after launch
• Uni of Leicester’s King Richard III MOOC:
– 6,000 registered in first 24 hours.
– 11,000 enrolments received in total
– Futurelearn caps MOOCs at 10,000 so the overflow is on a
waiting list for next iteration
• Coventry PHONAR MOOC: 330,000 people
participating alongside 10 fee-paying students
• Despite high enrolments, completion rate of MOOCs is
estimated to be around 6%
Big Data will inform decisions…
• Optimal course duration?
• Optimal amount of work for students to be given per
• Optimal video length? (Data so far: 6 minutes)
• How “open” should the MOOCs be?
• Use of emails to prompt students to engage? (Data
from Uni of East Anglia shows huge spikes in MOOC
student activity immediately after sending email
• Learner expectations and targets?
• What metrics?
Notes on this slide taken from Simon Nelson’s presentation at ALT MOOC SIG