Massive open online courses (Moocs) have been in very short order both a revolutionary educational paradigm for 21st century and a grave disappointment. In late 2012 the New York Times was declaring “The Year of the MOOC” (Pappano 2012) whilst a year later Sebastian Thrun described as “the godfather of the MOOC” was declaring them to be “a lousy product” (Chafkin 2013).
Among the concerns levelled at MOOCs are that they:
– Cater largely to middle-class people educated to degree level so they are ‘preaching to the converted’ rather than attracting those new to higher education. (Emanuel 2013)
– Have huge drop-out rates – a recent estimate was an average of 6.5% completed the course (Jordan 2014)
– Encourage passive learning that is not translated into change (Littlejohn 2014)
A new FutureLearn Mooc which will run in September 2015 aims to address these issues head on. A collaboration between a University Library Service and an academic team in healthcare, the Mooc will be designed to engage with a wide audience across a range of media. It will be developed with input and advice from potential users via Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) initiatives and will incorporate ways in which participants can get involved in projects during and after the course.
A research project will run alongside to provide evidence related to the development and results from those who enrol in the course.
Max Chafkin. 2013. Udacity’s Sebastian Thrun, Godfather Of Free Online Education, Changes Course. Fast Company November. http://www.fastcompany.com/3021473/udacity-sebastian-thrun-uphill-climb
Ezekiel J. Emanuel 2013 Online education: MOOCs taken by educated few. Nature 503:342. 21 November
Katy Jordan 2014. Initial trends in enrolment and completion of massive open online courses. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning.
Alison Littlejohn 2014. Professional Learning through Massive Open Online Courses http://littlebylittlejohn.com/professional-learning-in-moocs/
Laura Pappano. The Year of the Mooc. New York Times 2 November 2012