EMMA Partners from the open University, Netherlands presented their paper at the L@S16 conference in Edinburgh end of April. The paper Designing for Open Learning: Design Principles and Scalability Affordances in Practice by Olga Firssova, Francis Brouns and Marco Kalz was positively received. Although there were about 57 posters and 7 demos, the poster attracted a lot of attention and triggered interesting discussions.
The two-day program was packed with interesting sessions and keynote speakers. The conference was not dedicated specifically to MOOCs, but to all kinds of aspects related to learning at scale. Of course, experiences on MOOCs were well represented. Just to mention some highlights: It was refreshing to hear the speaker from Leiden Universiteit who argued that we should not take MOOC data for granted and that we need to take a critical view on the interpretation. He suggested that longer video viewing time does not necessarily indicate better engagement. We also need to carefully consider how to implement any kind of certification in MOOCs as it seems that quite a few learners create dummy accounts to retrieve correct answers and submit that as their own work.
Mike Sharples gave us some insights on the reasons why and how FutureLearn was designed and why it is still being improved. The ‘Hole in the wall’ project still makes for a good story and experience as professor Sugata Mitra told us that it works even if the theory behind it is not yet clear. A similar successful experience was the use of mobile devices to teach literacy skills to people in rural areas and the developing world. And of course not to forget to mention: Edinburgh is a very nice location, despite the hail and snow!
Find the presentation of the paper here.
Conference website: http://learningatscale.acm.org/las2016/
Learning@Scale proceedings available at ACM digital library
MOOC ‘Learning@Scale 2016 Flipped Conference’ with selected full papers and work-in-progress papers available at edX.