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Exploring MOOC Pedagogy

#Twitter: 
#aln83673
Presenter(s)
Karen Swan (University of Illinois Springfield, USA)
Scott Day (University of Illinois - Springfield, USA)
Len Bogle (University of Illinois Springfield, USA)
Daniel Matthews (University of Illinois Springfield, USA)
Session Information
November 20, 2013 - 12:00pm
Track: 
Technology and Emerging Learning Environments
Areas of Special Interest: 
Open Educational Resources
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Research Study
Institutional Level: 
Universities and Four Year Institutions
Audience Level: 
All
Session Type: 
Information Session
Location: 
Northern Hemisphere E3
Session Duration: 
35 Minutes
Session: 
Information Session 1
Abstract

An instrument designed to categorize MOOC pedagogy will be presented together with preliminary findings from its use with MOOCs being offered for ACE credit.

Extended Abstract

It is widely acknowledged that the United States must better prepare students to compete in the knowledge economy and increase our nation's social and economic competitiveness. Complete to Compete: Common College Completion Metrics (National Governors Association, 2010) summarizes this national imperative calls for states to dramatically improve the number and rate of high school and college graduates. The report notes that 43 percent of the U.S. adult population has little or no post-secondary education, and that our nation has too many low-skilled adults unable to make a successful transition to the 21st-century workforce.

On the other hand, Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce has predicted that there will be 46.8 million new jobs requiring some level of post-secondary education by 2018. At our current rate of producing individuals with post-secondary credentials, we will fall significantly short of meeting that need. Indeed, the U.S., which once ranked first in percentage of population with college degrees, now ranks 16th among industrialized countries (OECD Education at a Glance, 2011).

To address the national imperative to increase the proportion of Americans with a post-secondary credential and help the nation remain globally competitive, it is essential that we grow the number of students who successfully pursue a post-secondary education. Yet cost and time are significant barriers to those segments of the population who typically have the lowest college attendance, namely first-generation and low-income students (Mortenson, 2009-2011) and working adults, some 37 million of whom have some college but no post-secondary credential (Lumina Foundation for Education, 2010). Moreover, a significant problem is scaling current institutional offerings to manage the delivery of the needed 50% more course offerings.

One emerging technological solution to the problems of time, cost and scale is the Massively Open Online Course (MOOC). MOOCs have already proven that they can reach unprecedented numbers of informal learners by leveraging technology. Yet it remains to be seen whether and how those who could most benefit from open learning—such as young low-income adults—might best progress toward acquiring a post-secondary credential through this model. MOOCs are so new that they have not been subject to academic review for content, pedagogy, student engagement, and other variables that are the cornerstones of assuring quality.

Currently, several institutions are experimenting with giving institutional credit for MOOC achievement (eg., Georgia Tech's MS in Computer Science and Jose State's partnership with Coursera) but these are not only still clearly experimental, but also institution specific. In a slightly more inclusive but still clearly experimental vein, the American Council on Education (ACE) is leveraging its leadership role in credit equivalency evaluation for assessing learning that has occurred outside the formal classroom to develop credit equivalencies for courses offered by multiple MOOC providers.

With generous funding form the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, ACE is exploring the potential of MOOC credit for supporting the progression of at-risk adults toward post-secondary credential and degree completion. ACE will work with the University of Illinois Springfield's Center for Online Learning, Research, and Service (COLRS) the University and Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA) on this project which will include both research and implementation activities designed to identify and assess the potential and challenges of MOOCs.

As part of this project, COLRS researchers have developed an instrument to characterize the pedagogy used in MOOCs so that they can then investigate the efficacy of varying pedagogical approaches in supporting both student engagement and learning in the short term, and progression toward credential and degree completion at traditional post-secondary institutions in the long terms, especially among at-risk populations.

This presentation will review the MOOC Pedagogical Approaches instrument and share preliminary findings concerning pedagogical approaches and their efficacy. Audience interaction will be encouraged.

Lead Presenter

Karen Swan is the Stukel Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of Illinois Springfield. Dr. Swan has been involved with online learning for over a decade, both as an instructor and as a researcher. She helped develop one of the first fully online masters degrees, is active in the online learning community, and is well known for her research on learning effectiveness in online environments. For her work in these areas, Dr. Swan was awarded the 2006 Sloan-C award for Outstanding Achievement in Online Learning by an Individual and was inducted into the first class of Sloan-C fellows in 2010.