agregador de noticias

The first batch of EMMA's MOOCs goes live

Open Education Europa RSS - 13 Octubre, 2014 - 13:31

The European Multiple MOOC Aggregator (EMMA), a large-scale piloting of MOOCs on different subjects and in different languages, is about to unveil its first batch of MOOCs. The registration for the first MOOCs will be opened at the beginning of October.

Interest Area:  Higher Education Training & Work Learning & Society

Le modèle 70:20:10 - Bien plus que des chiffres, il évoque le changement

Educación flexible y abierta - 13 Octubre, 2014 - 08:47

Dans ce nouvel article pour #ecollab, Charles Jennings, l'un des plus grands spécialistes du modèle 70:20:10, nous en explique les 5 grands principes

See it on, via Educación flexible y abierta

Facebook’s Identity Authentication Is Broken

OLDaily - 13 Octubre, 2014 - 02:16

Alec Couros, Open Thinking, Oct 12, 2014

Centralized systems eventually break down. In the current case, it's Facebook's identity service. As Alec Couross has described in the past (here’ s the original post  which outlines the problem and here is the followup) he has been beset with an endless series of people faking his account. "These profiles have shown up on sites such as Twitter,,, Christian Mingle, and most prominently, Facebook." And now, to add insult to injury, he writes, "while I have successfully had Facebook take down hundreds of profiles, apparently they no longer believe that I am Alec Couros."

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Categorías: General

Is It Ever Okay to Make Teachers Read Scripted Lessons?

OLDaily - 13 Octubre, 2014 - 02:16

Terrance F. Ross, The Atlantic, Oct 12, 2014

I guess that if the teachers were completely unqualified, and the students unable to read, then there might be a benefit to reading scripted lessons. But I think the benefits would be pretty minimal, and as critic Kate Redman says, “ Such an education is unlikely to spur the imaginations of the students or encourage critical thinking or social mobility. It is more likely to lead to rote-learning, and would likely leave little flexibility. There is no evidence it can serve as a permanent approach.” Nonetheless, such an approach has been taken by Bridge International Academies, a for-profit company that has has more than 350 locations and 100,000 students in Kenya. And if it's true that "at the only schools available to these families there was very little education being delivered," then this is better than nothing. But I still think (from a very distant first-world perspective) that they money they take from the system could be better spent. Via Doug Belshaw / Audrey Watters.

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Categorías: General

What is a MOOC?

Tony Bates - 13 Octubre, 2014 - 01:03

© Giulia Forsythe, 2012 and JISC, 2012

MOOCs as a design model

I have already covered seven different design models for teaching and learning in Chapter 6 of my open textbook, Teaching in a Digital Age. I have dithered a bit over whether MOOCs are a unique design model, because they contain a mix of familiar and somewhat unfamiliar approaches to teaching and learning – and also because there are different forms of MOOCs. I also don’t want to give too much attention to a form of teaching and learning that is already grossly overhyped. However I have decided to bite the bullet. I have to deal with MOOCs somewhere in the book, so a chapter on models of design for teaching and learning seems as good a place as any.

Because this topic is too big for one blog post, I plan a series of three or four posts. I could do a whole book on this topic , but this section of Chapter 6 has to be concise and accurate, while also dealing with the strengths and weaknesses of MOOCs, particularly with regard to meeting the needs of learners in a digital age, which for me means asking the question: can or do MOOCs provide the learning and skills that students will need in the future? Also please remember this book is aimed at teachers and instructors who are NOT specialists or even experienced in online learning, so the content of this blog post in particular will not come as a surprise to any of my regular readers.

This is the outline I am proposing for my section on MOOCs in Chapter 6:

  • Introduction
  • Brief history
  • Key characteristics of MOOCs
  • the xMOOC design model
  • the cMOOC design model
  • Strengths and weaknesses of MOOCs
  • Personal conclusions, including the political-economic context that has driven the MOOC phenomenon
  • References

I will cover the first three bullets in this post, the design models in one or two more posts, followed by my analysis of MOOCs in my last (couple of) post(s) on this topic.


Probably no development in teaching in recent years has been as controversial as the development of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). In 2013, the author Thomas Friedland wrote in the New York Times:

...nothing has more potential to enable us to reimagine higher education than the massive open online course ….For relatively little money, the U.S. could rent space in an Egyptian village, install two dozen computers and high-speed satellite Internet access, hire a local teacher as a facilitator, and invite in any Egyptian who wanted to take online courses with the best professors in the world, subtitled in Arabic…I can see a day soon where you’ll create your own college degree by taking the best online courses from the best professors from around the world ….paying only the nominal fee for the certificates of completion. It will change teaching, learning and the pathway to employment.

Many others have referred to MOOCs as a prime example of the kind of disruptive technology that Clayton Christensen (2010) has argued will change the world of education. Others have argued that MOOCs are not a big deal, just a more modern version of educational broadcasting, and do not really affect the basic fundamentals of education, and in particular do not address the type of learning needed in the 21st century.

MOOCs can be seen then as either a major revolution in education or just another example of the overblown hyperbole often surrounding technology, particularly in the USA. I shall be arguing that MOOCs are a significant development, but they have severe limitations for developing the knowledge and skills needed in a digital age.

Brief history

Elements of MOOCs have been around for some time. The British Open University, funded by the U.K. government, started offering open degree programs by distance in 1971, although sadly its degree programs are no longer free. Nevertheless, much of its teaching material is still open through its OpenLearn portal. Some of the British OU’s courses are also quite large (around 5,000 students).

In 2003 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) began offering digital video recordings of many of its lectures and accompanying materials such as slides for free downloading through its OpenCourseWare (OCW) project. Apple opened iTunes U in its iTunes store in 2007. I TunesU enables educational audio and video files from universities to be downloaded for free. It currently has over 50,000 entries. OpenLearn, OCW, and iTunesU are just some examples of open educational resources, free for students (and also instructors) to use in their learning and teaching. However, they are not courses.

Fully online credit courses have been offered by school boards, colleges and universities since 1995, usually in parallel with the on-campus version of the same course. Credit-based online learning has been gaining ground steadily, with increases in annual enrollment for fully online courses averaging between 10-20% per annum per year across the higher education system in the USA, resulting in somewhere between 25 to 30 per cent of all credit enrollments by 2012 (Allen and Seaman, 2014; US Department of Education, 2014). However, access to online credit courses requires admission to university and the payment of tuition fees, so although online, they are neither open nor massive.

The term MOOC was used for the first time in 2008 for a course offered by the Extension Division of the University of Manitoba in Canada. This non-credit course, Connectivism and Connective Knowledge (CK08) was designed by George Siemens, Stephen Downes and Dave Cormier. It enrolled 25 on-campus students who paid a tuition fee but was also offered online for free as an experiment. Much to the surprise of the instructors, 2,200 students enrolled in the free online version. Downes classified this course and others like it that followed as connectivist or cMOOCs, because of their design.

In the fall of 2011, two computer science professors from Stanford University, Sebastian Thrun and Peter Norvig, launched a MOOC on The Introduction to AI (artificial intelligence) that attracted over 160,000 enrollments, followed quickly by two other MOOCs, also in computer sciences, from Stanford instructors Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller. Thrun went on to found Udacity, and Ng and Koller established Coursera. These are for-profit companies using their own specially developed software that enable massive numbers of registrations and a platform for the teaching. Udacity and Coursera formed partnerships with other leading universities where the universities pay a fee to offer their own MOOCs through these platforms. Udacity more recently has changed direction and is now focusing more on the vocational and corporate training market.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard University in March 2012 developed an open source platform for MOOCs called edX, which also acts as a platform for online registration and teaching. edX has also developed partnerships with leading universities to offer MOOCs without direct charge for hosting their courses, although some may pay to become partners in edX. Other platforms for MOOCs, such as the U.K. Open University’s FutureLearn, have also been developed. Because the majority of MOOCs offered through these various platforms are based mainly on video lectures and computer-marked tests, Downes has classified these as xMOOCs, to distinguish them from the more connectivist cMOOCs.

In 2014 there are approximately 1,000 MOOCs available from universities in the USA, and 800 from European institutions. Also there are MOOCs now in several languages besides English, but mainly in Spanish and French.

Key characteristics of MOOCs

All MOOCs have some common features, although we shall see that the term MOOC covers an increasingly wide range of designs.


In the three years following its launch in 2011, Coursera claims over 7.5 million sign-ups with its largest course claiming 240,000 participants. The huge numbers (in the hundreds of thousands) enrolling in the earliest MOOCs are not always replicated in later MOOCs, but the numbers are still substantial. For instance, in 2013, the University of British Columbia offered several MOOCs through Coursera, with the numbers initially signing up ranging from 25,000 to 190,000 per course (Engle, 2014).

However, even more important than the actual numbers is that in principle MOOCs have infinite scalability. There is technically no limit to their final size, because the marginal cost of adding each extra participant is nil for the institutions offering MOOCs. (In practice this is not quite true, as central technology, backup and bandwidth costs increase, and as we shall see, there can be some knock-on costs for an institution offering MOOCs as numbers increase. However, the cost of each additional participant is so small, given the very large numbers, that it can be more or less ignored). The scalability of MOOCs is probably the characteristic that has attracted the most attention, especially from governments, but it should be noted that this is also a characteristic of broadcast television and radio, so it is not unique to MOOCs.


There are no pre-requisites for participants other than access to a computer/mobile device and the Internet. However, broadband access is essential for xMOOCs that use video streaming, and probably desirable even for cMOOCs. Furthermore, at least for the initial MOOCs, access is free for participants, although an increasing number of MOOCs are charging a fee for assessment leading to a badge or certificate.

However, there is one significant way in which MOOCs through Coursera are not fully open. Coursera owns the rights to the materials, so they cannot be repurposed or reused without permission, and the material may be removed from the Coursera site when the course ends. Also, Coursera decides which institutions can host MOOCs on its platform - this is not an open access for institutions. On the other hand, edX is an open source platform, so any institution that joins edX can develop their own MOOCs with their own rules regarding rights to the material. cMOOCs are generally completely open, but since individual participants of cMOOCs create a lot if not all of the material it is not always clear whether they own the rights and how long the MOOC materials will remain available.

It should also be noted that many other kinds of online material are also open and free over the Internet, often in ways that are more accessible for reuse than MOOC material.


MOOCs are offered at least initially wholly online, but increasingly institutions are negotiating with the rights holders to use MOOC materials in a blended format for use on campus. In other words, the institution provides learner support for the MOOC materials through the use of campus-based instructors. For instance at San Jose State University, on-campus students used MOOC materials from Udacity courses, including lectures, readings and quizzes, and then instructors spent classroom time on small-group activities, projects and quizzes to check progress.

Again though it should be noted that MOOCs are not unique in offering courses online. There are over 7 million students in the USA alone taking for-credit online courses.


One characteristic that distinguishes MOOCs from most other open educational resources is that they are organized into a whole course.

However, what this actually means for participants is not exactly clear. Although many MOOCs offer certificates or badges for successful completion of a course, to date these have not been accepted for admission or for credit, even (or especially) by the institutions offering the MOOCs.


It can be seen that all the key characteristics of MOOCs exist in some form or other outside MOOCs. What makes MOOCs unique though is the combination of the four key characteristics, and in particular the fact that they scale massively and are open and free for participants.

To come
  • the xMOOC design model
  • the cMOOC design model
  • Strengths and weaknesses of MOOCs
  • Personal conclusions, including the political-economic context that has driven the MOOC phenomenon
Over to you

1. Is this an accurate description of MOOCs and their history?

2. Is there something I have left out that needs to be included in this basic description (remembering I will be going into more detail about completion rates, assessment, etc., in describing the strengths and weaknesses)?

Coming next

In a day or two: the design models of xMOOCs and cMOOCs


Allen, I. and Seaman, J. (2014) Grade Change: Tracking Online Learning in the United States Wellesley MA: Babson College/Sloan Foundation

Christensen, C. (2010) Disrupting Class, Expanded Edition: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns New York: McGraw-Hill

Engle, W. (2104) UBC MOOC Pilot: Design and Delivery Vancouver BC: University of British Columbia

Friedland, T. (2013) Revolution hits the universities, New York Times, January 26

U.S.Department of Education (2014) Web Tables: Enrollment in Distance Education Courses, by State: Fall 2012 Washington DC: U.S.Department of Education National Center for Education Statistics



Para una tecnología educativa crítica

Jordi Adell - 12 Octubre, 2014 - 11:37

Hace unos días, leyendo el libro de Selwyn y Facer (2013), que recomiendo vivamente a toda persona que se dedique a la tecnología educativa o que la utilice en su práctica docente (no tengo comisión), encontré una cita que no me resisto a copiar aquí. Es de un artículo de Amin y Trift de 2005 y explica qué es, según Selwyn y Facer,  “adoptar un punto de vista políticamente consciente” de la tecnología educativa

It is important to note at this point that adopting a politically aware “critical” approach toward educational technology does not necessarily entail a dogmatic adherence to any particular theoretical stance, school-of-thought or “-ism.” Rather the critical perspective is rooted in a broader recognition of technology and education as a set of profoundly political processes and practices that are usefully described in terms of issues of power, control, conflict, and resistance. As such, much of the underlying impetus for a critical approach toward educational technology stems from a desire to foster and support issues of empowerment, equality, social justice, and participatory democracy (see Gunter, 2009). These ambitions are perhaps best summarized by Amin and Thrift (2005, p. 221) in their four-point agenda for critical scholarship as follows:

First, a powerful sense of engagement with politics and the political. Second, and following on, a consistent belief that there must be better ways of doing things than are currently found in the world. Third, a necessary orientation to a critique of power and exploitation that both blight people’s current lives and stop better ways of doing things from coming into existence. Fourth, a constant and unremitting critical reflexivity towards our own practices: no one is allowed to claim that they have the one and only answer or the one and only privileged vantage point. Indeed, to make such a claim is to become a part of the problem.

 Pues eso.



Amin, A. & Thrift, N. (2005). What’s left? Just the future. Antipode, 37, 220–238.

Facer, K. & Selwyn, N. (2013). The Politics of Education and Technology: Conflicts, Controversies, and Connections. New York: Palgrave MacMillan. (el primer capítulo, del que he tomado la cita,  se puede bajar gratuitamente).

Categorías: General

The Battle for Beauty

OLDaily - 12 Octubre, 2014 - 02:10

Peter Vanderauwera, Petervan, Oct 11, 2014

I don't agree with all of this, but I do agree with the core sentiment, especially as it regards my work and my reserach. "It was about architecture that had been taken over by businessmen, and artists not being allowed to carry out their rich hunger for beauty. A bit like Evgeny Morosov’ s fight against “ solutionism” , where the world is taken over by VCs and commerce in stead of asking the real big questions related to ethos and quality of life." Sadly, however, beauty has already been acquired by businesses and VCs. Books like  Lovemarks make it clear how they draw on human emotion to connect people to brands. So to me this article has the flaavour of wanting from humans what VCs and commerce already (promise to) deliver. There is a space, though, beyond even this, perhaps captured most evocatively by the phrase in Moulin rouge and reflected in my Moulin Ching.

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Categorías: General

Nueva guía didáctica para las aulas 1x1

Cuando hacia 2008 empezamos a hablar de las aulas 2.0 (en algunos lugares se llamaban aulas 1x1), las asociábamos a que los estudiantes pudieran disponer de un pequeño ordenador portátil (netbook) para realizar diversos trabajos (cada alumno un ordenador, 1x1).
Además, se contaba con que las aulas tendrían conexión a Internet, de manera que los estudiantes con su netbook podrían utilizar las prometedoras aplicaciones de la llamada web 2.0, que permitían que todos pudiéramos interaccionar y compartir nuestros materiales y comentarios con todos.
Han pasado 6 años, ahora las cosas ya no son exactamente así.

En esta nueva guía de las aulas 1x1 se abordan  tres cuestiones:

  • ¿Qué son? ¿Qué recursos tecnológicos integran? ¿Qué aporta cada uno?
  • Orientaciones para su utilización
  • 29 modelos didácticos de uso de las aulas 1x1

Como siempre, agradeceré comentarios y sugerencias para mejorar esta guía.