I was in charge of coordinating the panel on “The Audience of MOOCs“, part of the XII Jornadas CRAI “MOOCs & CRAIs, el futuro ya es presente” (“MOOCs and Libraries and IT services at universities, future is already here”) last week.
It was a pleasure to count on with the participation in the panel of the invited speakers: Jennifer Dorner (Head, Instruction and User Services, Library. University of California Berkeley) and Lynne O’Brien (Associate Vice Provost for Digital and Online Education Initiatives. Duke University).
MOOC offer vs. MOOC audience.
The characteristics of the MOOC offer is clear. There are reports such as “MOOCs in Spain” (by the Cátedra Teléfonica – UPF, that I also presented in the Jornada), the European MOOCs Scoreboard by Open Education Europa, the courses listed in the MOOC platforms, and MOOC aggregators, …
However, the characteristics of the MOOC audience is not that clear. The data is fragmented, and the partial data available is raising a lot of debate. This is indeed a critical aspect for the creators of MOOCs: For whom are we designing the MOOCs?
There are two relevant facets in this question.
On the one hand, the expectations of the organizations, i.e. the audience expected or desired by the MOOC creators/ providers (the universities) that offer MOOCs serving specific purposes or strategies (a business model, a service to society, …)
And, on the other hand, there is the actual audience of the MOOCs, that is the demographics of the MOOC students/participants, their level of qualifications, their motivations (why they take MOOCs)…
The governing question for the panel was that it is unclear to what extent the actual audience of MOOCs matches up with the desired audience of MOOCs.
And I really appreciate that Lynne and Jennifer prepared interesting data (based on Coursera and EdX reports) and discussion points articulating an answer (or possible answers) to this question. I also asked them to discuss if they see that the current situation will change in the future or not, which are the challenges to be addressed, etc. Their slides are available here.
Cátedra Telefónica-UPF news item.
GTI website news item.