eLearning Europa at Open Education Week
It's been several years since Massive Open Online Courses heralded the OE wave, so this year makes for an appropriate time to assess where different trends are headed. eLearning attended various webinars that addressed current and future challenges for Open Education (OE).
"Learning Innovations and Learning Quality: The Future of Open Education and Digital Resources" was hosted by Christian Stracke, and pinpointed one major challenge for establishing Open Education in the future: incorporating OE into formal and higher education. To this effect, Stracke highlighted the role advocacy must play among faculty members, suggesting that there is much room for persuading educators of the potential Open Education has for them and for the world. One way to take the next step, he commented, is to teach teachers about Open Education, that they might appropriate it and pass it on.
Another noteworthy event was the one run by The Open University UK, titled "MOOCs at the Open University: Past, Present, Future, Live Webstreaming." This series of live talks honed in on the design and presentation of MOOCs, and how they can be improved, and examined the potential of open translation tools as a way to transcend linguistic barriers, among other topics.
A welcome spoiler alert came in the guise of the portal FutureLearn, which will launch a new UK-wide MOOC platform this coming June. The platform will aim to enable innovative learning methods from a diverse set of courses, while supporting large-scale participation.
The new platform, which is supported not only by universities, but by the British Council and the BBC, will provide an approach to MOOCs that is different from well-known US examples. The aim is to build social learning into the MOOC experience, so that it isn't instructor-led necessarily, or just content with no life. Rather, it will feature social learning primarily.
There will also be a diverse offering of types of MOOCs, including those with a definite start and end date, "carrousel" MOOCs (users can "get on, get off" at any point), and "Mini-MOOCs" (2-week intensive courses). All of these will be available to use with different devices, from smartphones to tablets, to computers. The first public BETA course will take place in June 2013.