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Datablog: Moocs appear to be revolutionising the world of education. We study the numbers to find out whether it's all just a lot of hype
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Online education and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) received a sparkling endorsement from the Dutch Minister of Education, Culture and Science this month after she committed €1 million a year to stimulate the development of open education resources in higher education institutions.
The Wikipedia Library is an open research hub started in 2010 when Credo Reference donated 500 free research accounts to Wikipedia's most active editors. Partnerships with HighBeam, Questia, JSTOR, and the Cochrane Library followed.
By Tony Bates
The evidence shows that participants who completed the course were able to learn autonomously and navigate the distributed platforms and environments. The most challenging issues were acceptance of open academic practice and difficulty in establishing an academic identity in an unpredictable virtual environment. An interesting and significant feature of the course was the support for learners from a number of MOOC ‘veterans’ who served as role models and guides for less experienced MOOC learners.
The research shows that small task-oriented MOOCs can effectively support professional development of open academic practice.
European MOOCs are those provided by European institutions, regardless of the platform that hosts them. Each and every MOOC provider was contacted individually to get the most comprehensive and up-to-date information available. Many of the MOOCs accounted for in the scoreboard are also listed in the MOOCs aggregator on this website. Efforts are underway to make the aggregator even more comprehensive and include every MOOC from the scoreboard.
MOOC en el Mundo
Coursera, the popular massive open online course (MOOC) platform, intrigues.
Surprising new data on what's supposed to be the future of higher ed
For an extended period of time education was mainly formal, that is a system with clear roles, goals and responsibilities. Education resembled an immutable and closed system with few, if any, connections to other parts of society. However, during the last century significant changes occurred in many areas of society, culminating in global reform movements to democratise education and to increase participation by opening up education. A current and prominent example of such a movement is Open Educational Resources (OER), which is a global attempt to facilitate the flow of knowledge, reduce the costs of education, and establish an educational system based on humanistic and moral values (i.e. sharing). Yet, recent developments are progressing at such an accelerated speed that it is hard to predict the ‘real’ value of OERs for educational purposes. Also, within OER little reference has been made to previous forms of Open Education, such as Open Classroom/Open Learning in the 1960s and 1970s or to the even older German progressive education (Reformpädagogik). Current OE forms can be characterised as a mixture of economical (‘education as a commodity’), moral (‘education as a common good’) and social (‘education as a shared enterprise’) claims, each of which contribute to the emergence of Open Education. This introductory chapter attempts to set the stage for a sound engagement with openness in education. It provides a conceptual framework that discusses major developments throughout the history of Open Education from a philosophical standpoint. Special attention will be paid to the concept of Bildung (self-realisation, self-cultivation) as an in-depth theory that can not only inform what happens when learners utilise OER but also allows one to reflect on the impact of OER on society. Selected cases of Open Education will be reviewed and then framed with the theory of Bildung. Eventually, this will lead to a set of lessons learned that are aimed at guiding current debates on Open Education.
Of Wiley’s 1,510 journals, the university will subscribe to just 368 – although these accounted for 71 per cent of its academics’ total usage in 2012. Echoing widespread concerns among librarians about the lack of consistent and transparent pricing by publishers, Montreal notes that the price it will pay for the reduced package is as much as neighbouring McGill University will pay for its entire Wiley-Blackwell big deal in 2014.
“The publisher refuses to grant us the same conditions on the pretext that McGill has subscribed to the Wiley Online Library longer,” it explains, adding: “The unique characteristics of each periodical allow publishers to hold their university customers captive. They can set prices at will.”
Taking aim at the high cost of commercial textbooks, Rice University-based publisher OpenStax College today announced a partnership with open-education pioneer Lumen Learning that is projected to save students $10 million over the next two years by facilitating the adoption of free, online textbooks by colleges and universities.
The new partnership will combine OpenStax College's free textbooks with Lumen Learning's support services to help higher education institutions and faculty members successfully transition to using readily available "open-educational resources" (OER).
"Although a growing number of free, high-quality educational materials are available, many instructors and academic leaders are uncertain about how to begin taking advantage of these resources," said David Harris, editor-in-chief of OpenStax College.
This study demonstrates that despite recent steps forward in the marketplace, high textbook costs will continue to be a problem for students unless the cost of high-priced, new editions of college textbooks comes down.
The high cost of textbooks is of concern not only to college students but also to society as a whole. Open textbooks promise the same educational benefits as traditional textbooks; however, their efficacy remains largely untested. We report on one community college’s adoption of a collection of open resources across five different mathematics classes. During the 2012 fall semester, 2,043 students in five different courses used these open access resources. We present a comparison between the previous two years in terms of the number of students who withdrew from the courses and the number that completed the courses with a C grade or better. Our analysis suggests that while there was likely no change in these educational outcomes, students who have access to open access materials collectively saved a significant amount of money. Students and faculty were surveyed as to their perceptions of these materials and the results were generally favorable.
Keywords: Open educational resources; open textbooks; electronic textbooks; open access; sustainability; mathematics education
Following the well cited Cetis white paper ‘MOOCs and Open Education: Implications for Higher Education’ (BIS, UNESCO, Universities UK), this new report looks beyond the current debate on MOOCs to understand the potential of open online learning for learners, educators and institutions from pedagogical, financial and technological perspectives.
By stimulating policy makers to reflect more deeply on the cost structures of higher education, MOOCs have revealed the perverse nature of much recent institutional spending. Investing in technology without revising the classroom-teaching model has raised costs, not lowered them. Furthermore, colleges have tended to add amenities like fancier dorms or climbing walls, instead of improving their educational quality. Online programmes that highlight the quality and effectiveness of their teaching/learning systems rather than the grandeur of their physical plant could gain an increasing edge. Residential colleges will not go away but some will struggle to respond to the challenge of online learning that MOOCs have amplified.
Young completed his book in mid-2013. The MOOCs space is dynamic and there have been significant developments, both in the US and elsewhere, since that time. Nevertheless, his thoughtful commentary on the frenzied phenomenon of MOOCs remains highly relevant to decision makers grappling with its implications for their institutions.
Large-scale online courses, hailed as a way to democratize higher education, have so far been plagued by very high attrition rates.
Due to disciplinary differences in the “half-life” or relative demand of a scholarly article, some publishers are looking to enact longer embargo periods before an article can be made openly available on archives and repositories, in order to protect against profit losses. Peter Suber finds there is insubstantial evidence to suggest embargo length affects profit margin. Furthermore, the premise that public policies should maximize publisher revenue before maximizing public access to publicly-funded research is unfounded and should equally be rejected.
Trying to create the future of online education is harder than it seemed.
Creative Commons licenses provide a flexible range of protections and freedoms for authors, artists, and educators. Over the last year we've been working on developing two new projects: the Open Policy Network and the Institute for Open Leadership.