Archive for the ‘mooc_catedras’ Category

MiríadaX is the main Spanish MOOC provider, promoted by Telefónica, Universia and Banco Santander. MiríadaX offers MOOCs since 2013, most of them in Spanish, and few in Portuguese and English. In the context of the Cátedra Telefónica-UPF, we have analyzed MiríadaX platform data up to the end of 2014, including data form 144 courses and 191,608 participants.

Part of the analysis, focused on understanding the behaviour of university students’ participation in MOOCs,  will be presented at the eMOOCs conference in March 2016.

Albó, L., Hernández-Leo, D., Oliver, M. (2016) Are higher education students registering and participating in MOOCs? The case of MiríadaX. EMOOCs 2016 conference, Graz, Austria.

Abstract: Most MOOCs offer open learning opportunities at Higher Education (HE) level. However, it is still unclear how HE students are taking this type of course. This study focuses on the profile of HE students participating in MOOCs, their registration, preferred topics and completion patterns and how they compare to other types of participants. The paper presents a descriptive analysis of the MiríadaX platform data up to the end of 2014, including an analysis of 144 courses and 191,608 participants. Results indicate that current HE students, who are mostly Latin American and Spanish males interested in technology subjects,register for and complete lower numbers of MOOCs than participants who have already completed their HE studies. HE students older than standard ages have a significant presence in MOOCs and have higher numbers of MOOC registrations and completitions.

Conclusions of the study, in brief, include:

– The majority of university students involved in MiríadaX MOOCs are male (60.70%) in a range of 18-24. Interestingly enough, there is an important number of HE students participating in MOOCs with ages as from 24 (40%). Most HE students are from Latin American countries (57.5%) and Spain (41.01%).

  • University students register for on average of 3.56 courses completing only 0.55 courses (similar pattern when comparing men and women).
  • University students are taking MOOCs following a pattern of registration and completion of MOOCs in between participants without HE studies (lower numbers) and with HE studies completed (higher numbers).
  • Within the collective of university students, those more active are older than 24, representing profiles of stronger intrinsic motivation to learn or to improve their professional competences.
  • MOOCs in the technological science subject area, followed by psychology and economics, show higher percentages of registrations for all types of participants. In the physics subject area, university students represent the highest percentage of types of participants registered.

One interpretation of results is that MOOCs are generally perceived as useful lifelong learning opportunities and not that much as a resource (comparable e.g. to books) that can support the HE curriculum. The particular result for the case of physics subject may be explained by a use of these MOOCs as remedial (level O) courses for freshmen at universities. The recent initiatives on the use of MOOCs to support blended educational approaches may influence the future evolution of the trends identified in this paper.

A more extensive study is presented in a Cátedra Telefónica-UPF report (in Spanish). The report cover multiple aspects and all types of participants but it does not include a deep focus on a particular profile of participants (as in the previous paper). It provides and analysis of the social profile of individuals registering in MiríadaX courses, demand of courses by topic, and an analysis of drop-out rates.

Oliver, M.; Hernández-Leo, D.; Albó, L. (2015). MOOCs en España. Análisis de la demanda. Cuaderno de la Cátedra Telefónica-UPF “Social Innovation in Education”. Universitat Pompeu Fabra. Disponible online http://repositori.upf.edu/handle/10230/25400


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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.

The conference included additional panel discussions and presentations, all the documentation is available here and the pictures.


Cátedra Telefónica-UPF news item.
GTI website news item.


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The Catalan Secretariat for Universities and Research, with the collaboration of UOC, URV and UPF, organized a conference focused on MOOCs on April 11th (#14MOOCs14 project). Conference’s goal was to share the experience of professors that have already created and run a MOOC and discuss doubts of those willing to create one in the near feature. UPF held the conference (video of the conference below, in Catalan) and I coordinated a short workshop focused on assessment and certification in MOOCs.

During the workshop I asked participants to answer two of the questions considered in The Chronicle‘s survey “The Professors Who Make the MOOCs“. I was interested in their opinions around whether free online courses should be integrated into the traditional system of credit and degrees. Certainly the population answering “my survey” was rather small (28) compared to Guardian respondents (103) and that both samples are not representative. Besides, it is also important to notice that they have been answered in different moments of the “MOOCs history” (mine in April 2014 vs. The Chronicle’s in early 2013). Yet, I find interesting to see the trends suggested by both results and their comparison. (BUT let me insist: More than to lead to definitive interpretations, these limited data may serve to stimulate discussion. Deeper reflections about the topic are needed.)

Do you believe students who succeed in your MOOC deserve formal credit from your home institution?

Do you believe students who succeed in your MOOC deserve formal credit from your home institution?


Do you believe your home institution will eventually grant formal credit to students who succeed in your MOOC?

Do you believe your home institution will eventually grant formal credit to students who succeed in your MOOC?

I also include below the material-conclusions of the workshop (in Catalan), and a translated table of the slide on “certifications”.

Certification in MOOCs

Certification in MOOCs (April 2014)

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MOOCs en España Report

The Telefónica-UPF Chair has just published a report analyzing the situation around MOOCs offered by Spanish universities till Dec. 2013. The report is in Spanish.

I’ve collaborated in its elaboration:

Oliver, M., Hernández-Leo, D., Daza, V., Martin, C., Albó, L., (2014) “MOOCs en España: Panorama de los Cursos Masivos Abiertos en Línea en las universidades españolas”, Cátedra Telefónica – UPF Social Innovation in Education, Cuaderno Red de Cátedras Telefónica.

I translate below the main conclusions.

By the end of 2013:

– Over one third of the Spanish universities had launched at least a MOOC. The activity was higher in public traditional universities. More than 100 MOOCs offered, half of them (aprox.) from three universities.

– The average duration of the MOOCs was of 7 weeks, with an estimated dedication of 4 hours/week. The subject of the MOOCs is varied, with a higher offer in Science & Technology.

– Most universities offered their MOOCs in Miriada X. Some used their own platform. Low presence of Coursera/EdX.

In addition, the report discusses current trends in Spain and Europe and presents a series of case studies of MOOC-related initiatives.

MOOCs Spanish TV Debate

Please refer to the report for more details.

The study has attracted a significant attention from the media. See for example this Debate on the Spanish TV.

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Since very recently, I’m now part of the Càtedra Telefònica-UPF on “Social Innovation in Education” (including a strong focus on Massive Open Online Courses – MOOCs), together with Miquel Oliver (coordinator) and Vanesa Daza (professor creating one of the two first UPF MOOCs). Today, our Càtedra at UPF with the Càtedra at UPC are organizing a Seminar on MOOCs, which includes a general presentation by Michael Gäebel (European University Association) and two panels (one focused on the potential impact of MOOCs from a Human Resources perspective, the second one more focused on platforms and strategies). Videos of the Seminar available at http://www.catedratelefonica.upf.edu/?page_id=4159 [Discussion space, twitter: #RConversa and #mooc_catedras… mostly in Spanish…]

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