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Archive for the ‘moocs’ Category

We were delighted to host yesterday in UPF Barcelona the FutureLearn Academic Network meeting, with the theme “The Educator Experience”.  The meeting was co-organized by FutureLearn, the UPF Center for Learning Innovation & Knowledge (CLIK, directed by Manel Jiménez) and the Learning Technologies research team that I coordinate within the Interactive Technologies group at the UPF ICT Department.

flan-12The event started with an inspiring keynote by Professor Sir Timothy O’Shea, Principal & Vice-Chancellor, University of Edinburgh, who explained Edinburgh’s developing MOOC strategy, including producing 64 online Masters courses.

foto2.pngDr. Lisa Harris and Nic Fair explained how they are integrating MOOCs intoUniversity of Southampton practice from a perspective of education and research. foto3.png

Dr. Rebecca Ferguson, from The Open University, presented an very interesting analysis about what the research of FutureLearn’s UK partners tell us.

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PhD Students from the Open University (ShiMing Chua,Tina Papathoma) and Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Kalpani Manathunga,Ishari Amarasinghe, Kostas Michos) presented their ongoing research around analyzing and enhancing social learning in MOOCs and how educators learn how to teach in MOOCs.

And Manel and I gave an overview of the MOOC research carried out at UPF essentially in the context of the RESET project and the DTIC Maria de Maetzu strategic program on Data-Driven Knowledge Extraction.

foto5There was also a Skype discussion with the participation of Ester Oliveras (UPF), Sarah Cornelius (University of Aberdeen), Sarah Speight (Nottingham), Pierre Binetruy (Paris Diderot) moderated by Mike Sharples about what have been the experiences of educators on FutureLearn courses, and how can these be improved.

All in all it was an enriching event, with interesting ideas and discussions about the role of MOOCs to achieve educational impact, to accelerate the educational technologies strategy within the institution, for educational research, and as research methodology. See #BarcelonaFLAN in twitter! And pictures in Flickr!

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Below the slides I used in the panel “Global partnership for development. The role of academia in empowering participatory and collaborative action” at the Social Impact of Science Conference 2016. I talked about “Open collaborative platforms, education and research: MOOCs, ILDE“.

SIS2016_daviniahl_UPF2

The session was chaired by Enric Senabre Hidalgo, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, and with speakers Xavier Serra Casals, Dept. of Information and Communication Technologies, Universitat Pompeu Fabra; Davinia Hernández Leo, Dept. of Information and Communication Technologies, Universitat Pompeu Fabra; Bruno Raimbault, Médecins Sans Frontières, Open Street Map movement; Xabier Barandiaran, Barcelona City Council – Participation Councillorship. The session organised with the support of the DTIC-UPF María de Maeztu Units of Excellence Programme (MDM-2015-0502).

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It has been a pleasure for me to chair this morning a very interesting session on the impact of MOOCs. It was one of the monographic sessions of this year CIDUI conference. I summarised five papers contributed by five teams of authors. Papers address the challenges around MOOCs and propose some solutions. This was followed by a debate by the authors with contributions by the audience.Foto_CIDUI_Davinia

Main topics included: challenges for educators and the institution; assessing the quality and impact of MOOCs; basic technological skills of educators and learners; and blended learning using MOOCs.

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FutureLearn MOOC platform held its partners conference at our university (Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona) last 11 and 12 April. I participated in a panel discussion on “How to get the best out of social learning: a discussion on how to engage learners and provoke conversation” where I shared our experience running the 3D Graphics for Web Developers around the use of FutureLearn social learning mechanisms and our “PyramidApp”, an on-going research initiative in the context of RESET project aimed at investigating how to scale up active pedagogies.

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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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The other study around videos in education in which I’ve recently participated (see my previous post on “the flipped or the hands-on classroom”), will be presented by Diana Diaz at the ICALT conference (Taiwan) on July 6-9.

Diaz, D., Ramírez, R., Hernández-Leo, D. (2015) The effect of using a talking head in academic videos: An EEG study. IEEE International Conference on Advanced Learning Technologies, Hualien, Taiwan, pp. 367-369.

This study was designed to understand the effect of using a talking head in academic videos frequently used in video-based learning approaches, such Massive Open Online Courses. The experiment consisted of exposing participants to videos about different types of open software licenses. Each participant was exposed to 3 videos, each with a different condition: instructor always presented (talking head condition), only instructor’s voice present (only audio condition), and instructor presented only at the beginning of the video (mixed condition). Dependent variables included cognitive load, and emotional states (valance and arousal) obtained with electroencephalography, a personal assessment of the difficulty of the material, personal opinion regarding the social presence and performance in a memory test. The results indicate an increase in the cognitive load in the mixed condition, which may have implications regarding the use of the talking head in the design of academic videos.

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I’ve recently participated in two studies around videos in education. In this first post, I summarize the study that Laia Albó will be presenting at the EDEN conference (Barcelona) on June 9-10. (See a second post on the design of videos regarding the use of “talking heads”.)

Albó, L., Hernández-Leo, D., Barceló, L., Sanabria, L. (2015) Video-Based Learning in Higher Education: The Flipped or the Hands-On Classroom? EDEN Annual Conference, Barcelona, Spain. (Best research paper award finalist.)

This case study shows that the use of video-based learning may not only converge in the use of flipped classroom methodology. It is also possible to use videos in a hands-on class as a support tool that encourages a more autonomous, flexible and significant learning. The application of a flipped or a hands-on classroom approach depends on diverse aspects, including the nature of the course (with practical or theoretical orientations), the behaviour emerging from the students (depending on their needs and preferences, time constraints, etc.) and the design of the activities proposed by the teachers (strongly requiring students to what videos in a certain timeframe, e.g. previously to the class, or offering flexibility). Future research considering variations of these parameters will help to understand the benefits and limitations of both approaches and to what extent they may coexists in video-based learning.

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