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Tips on Preparing a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC)
籌備「大規模開放在線課程」的心得

TipMOOC

English中文
With the growing trend of blended learning and mobile learning, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have become one of the most talked about topics in the education sector. However, designing, curating and delivering MOOCs could be complicated. Here are six tips for teachers who are interested in developing MOOCs.

1. Build a team
The first consideration is who creates the course. MOOCs should be designed and delivered by those who have personal interest and expertise in the topic. The design, development and facilitation of the course should be done by a group that consists of three types of people: subject expert, instructional designer and production team. They should be involved in giving feedback and facilitating discussion constantly. Considering the complexity of designing and delivering a MOOC which includes creating lectures, recording videos or audio and designing assessments, teachers could set a time frame for content selection, designing learning and teaching activities, pre- and post-production of resources, such as videos, notes and online activities and the maintenance of the course to allow a smoother operation. It is also important to allow time to test the course before “opening” it to your target audience.

2. Identify the purpose of creating a MOOC
Another main consideration is the purpose of creating the course. Why do you believe that MOOC is the appropriate delivery mode for the subject or module? How will it benefit students’ learning? Is the content interactive and engaging? A MOOC should be developed and taught with a clear purpose that is of value and meaningful. Similar to any course design, the learning outcomes of what students would be able to achieve upon the completion of a MOOC should be well-established beforehand.

3. Provide assistance on technical issues
It is useful to include a “get started” page on the course site briefly listing procedures and guidelines for students to read and familiarise with the logistic. Students may feel confused at the beginning of the course. A clear introduction at the beginning helps students prepare the course and anticipate how much effort and time it takes. In addition, students may have difficulty getting used to the course site or other digital tools that are required for online interactions. Some proactive steps, such as including a welcome video and FAQs, could assist students on finding solutions to potential technical problems, such as not being able to play videos.

4. Keep students engaged
While most courses follow the academic calendar, MOOCs may not need to. Engaging in a MOOC could allow a more flexible learning experience in the way that learners could begin a MOOC at their preferred time. However, teachers may need to consider learners’ attention span. The time students spend on a MOOC is between two to six hours per week. The length of a MOOC is usually around four to six weeks but sometimes it may take longer. In order to keep students engaged and sustain their motivation, teachers could use strategies, such as having guests discussing specific topics through online social networking sites (e.g. Google Hangouts, Facebook, Twitter), or initiating discussions within discussion forums.

5. Use different forms of assessment
In MOOCs, different forms of assessment could be used. Since many MOOCs focus on interaction through social media, teachers could consider grading on students’ efforts for assessment. For example, teachers could design a sharing platform for students to upload their works to encourage more interactions and students’ inputs. In the meantime, teachers should provide feedback to students and monitor students’ progress.

6. Be cautious about copyright issues
When creating a MOOC, teachers should be cautious about the copyrights and ownership of the content. It is also important to be aware that “by participating in a MOOC the user agrees to grant the platform provider a sweeping license to do what they want with user’s content” (EDUCAUSE, 2013). Therefore, the protection of students’ intellectual property (IP) rights and data is concerned. As there maybe complex copyright questions when developing MOOCs, teachers should consult the department and the institution. To understand copyright issues in VTC, you can visit Chapter 8 of VTC’s VET Academic Handbook: https://intra.vtc.edu.hk/division/iveas/Copyright_Issues.htm.

Although creating and curating MOOCs could be challenging, with eagerness and endurance as well as supports from a team of specialists (subject expert, instructional designer and production team) as mentioned earlier, it could broaden our horizon on learning and teaching and extend learning beyond the walls of the institution.

隨著混合式學習與流動學習越趨普遍,「大規模開放在線課程」(MOOC)已成為教育界的熱門課題。但實際上無論設計、管理或教授大規模開放在線課程,都並不容易。以下向各位有意開發此類課程的老師,提供六個心得:

1. 建立團隊
首先考慮誰來開創課程。「大規模開放在線課程」必先由有興趣及具備專業知識的人來設計和傳授內容。課程的設計、發展及促導等工作,該由一個小組(學科專家,教學設計員,製作團隊)互相協作,不時帶動討論,回饋學生。設計及傳授此類課程頗為複雜,需製作講課內容,錄製視聽教材,以及設計評估工具,考慮以上各點,老師必須就內容選取,教學活動設計,教材製作及教授課程設定時限,以確保運作暢順。課程推出前,預留時間作測試也是十分重要的。

2. 認清開辦「大規模開放網絡課程」的目的
另一重要考慮是開辦課程的目的。為何你覺得「大規模開放在線課程」適合教授這個科目或單元呢?怎樣能令學生得益?內容夠互動,能吸引人嗎?「大規模開放在線課程」必須朝著清晰目標而發,有意義,具價值才行。跟任何課程設計一樣,我們必須好好訂立學生完成課程後的學習成果。

3. 支援技術問題
課程網站宜設立「啟動頁」,簡單列出程序及指引,供學生閱讀並熟習整個學習流程,這點相當有用。學生開始修讀課程時,也許茫無頭緒,清晰的引言能幫助學生準備自己,預計花費多少時間心力,完成課程。另外,學生進行在線活動時,可能未能適應課程網頁設計或其他電子工具的運用。因此,一些積極主動的措施,例如加插一個歡迎短片及常見問答,都能輔助學生尋找潛在技術問題的解決方法,例如:播放不到短片的解決辦法。

4. 吸引學生參與
大部份課程都按校曆而編排時間表,「大規模開放在線課程」卻不受此限。學生可隨時隨地開始報讀課程,學習體驗既靈活且富彈性。雖然如此,老師仍必須考慮學生注意力的持續性。學生一般每星期花兩至六小時在此類課程上,大部份「大規模開放在線課程」為期四至六星期,少部份除外。為了吸引學生參與,保持學習動機,老師必須採取適當的策略,如邀請嘉賓於社交網站(如:Google Hangouts, Facebook, Twitter)討論特定議題或在討論平台上展開討論。

5. 採用不同的評估形式
在「大規模開放在線課程」裏,可使用不同的評估方式。由於很多課程著重社交媒體中的互動活動,老師可因應學生付出的努力而評分。例如:老師可設計互動平台,供學生上載作品,以鼓勵更多人參予。同時,老師應回饋學生,監督課程的進行。

6. 小心處理版權事宜
製作「大規模開放在線課程」時,老師必須小心處理內容版權及擁有權事宜。 「藉著參予『大規模開放在線課程』,使用者同意授予平台供應商許可,使其可自由運用使用者提供的內容。」(EDUCAUSE, 2013) 所以,學生的知識產權及個人資料必須小心保護。鑒於版權事宜複雜,老師宜向學系及所屬機構查詢,如要了解職業訓練局的版權事宜,請瀏覽本局學務手冊第八章。網址: https://intra.vtc.edu.hk/division/iveas/Copyright_Issues.htm

雖然製作和管理「大規模開放在線課程」充滿著挑戰,但憑著毅力及熱誠與及團隊間(學科專家,教學設計員,製作團隊)的互相支持,這類課程可以擴闊我們對教與學的固有想法,突破時間地域的限制,無遠弗屆。

Useful References:

EDUCAUSE. (2013). Copyright Challenges in a MOOC Environment.
Retrieved November 24, 2015 from
http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/PUB9014.pdf

Richter, S. (2015). Tips for Designing a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC).
Retrieved November 24, 2015 from
http://facdevblog.niu.edu/tips-for-designing-a-massive-open-online-course-mooc

Siemens, G. (2012). Designing and Running a MOOC (in 9 Easy Steps) Retrieved November 24, 2015 from
http://www.elearnspace.org/blog/2012/09/04/designing-and-running-a-mooc-in-9-easy-steps/

University of Wisconsin-Madison. (2015). How a MOOC Works.
Retrieved November 24, 2015 from
https://moocs.wisc.edu/how-a-mooc-works/

Vocational Training Council (VTC). (2015). VTC Academic Handbook.
Retrieved November 24, 2015 from
https://intra.vtc.edu.hk/division/iveas/Copyright_Issues.htm