by Brenda Padilla, University of Leicester, UK
The University of Leicester is a major provider of online education, with over 25 years of experience in distance learning degree programmes and continuing professional development courses. In October 2014, the University expanded its offer of online learning by launching two Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) on the EMMA platform: “Learning Design” and “Technology-Enhanced Learning”. These courses explore different ways in which people can support learning through the use of digital technologies.
The Learning Design MOOC describes the 7Cs of learning design, a conceptual framework that combines the Open University’s Learning Design Initiative with the Carpe Diem learning design workshops by the University of Leicester. This approach helps educators and designers make pedagogically effective course design decisions. It provides guidance for the development of an innovative storyboard, different learning activities and the general structure for the implementation of a course. Participants have access to a range of learning design resources, tools and methods, which they can apply to a learning intervention.
7Cs of learning design
The Technology-Enhanced Learning MOOC offers learners a broad overview of key technologies and ways in which they can be used across different learning contexts. Lessons include mobile learning, gamification, social inclusion and digital literacies. Participants are invited to experiment with these technologies and resources, and critique their relevance to practice. During our lesson on virtual worlds, learners also have support available in the University of Leicester training area in Second Life.
Laboratory in Second Life, virtual world
Communication within the MOOCs happens mostly via the conversation section at the bottom of each learning unit, an open space to share thoughts and discuss ideas. While most learners express themselves in English, a couple of them participate in Spanish and Italian. Personal blogs, available within the EMMA platform, are used to document students’ learning. Some units include additional resources and activities, which benefit participants wanting to expand their knowledge of specific topics.
To learn more about these MOOCs, see the EMMA platform.