Aussie Collaborative Launches New MOOC Platform, Open2Study
Nantes-Paris by Erwan F under Creative Commons
Earlier this week, a new Aussie MOOC platform went live. Open2Study looks a lot like other platforms so far — free, open to all, classroom spaces with videos and readings, certificate of achievement, no credits for now, maybe later. Sign-up is live, and the first classes commence April 22.
Ten courses are offered so far, with 40-50 anticipated by the end of the year, according to the Open2Study press release. Partners include: Macquarie University, RMIT University and the Central Institute of Technology.
At first glance, the course catalog seems to lean a little more toward career skills — Sports and Recreation, Writing for the Web, etc. — than toward core academics, compared to other providers except maybe Udacity. (I wonder if the MOOC platforms will eventually gain reputations that parallel the distinctions we make between liberal arts schools, professional schools, extension colleges, community colleges and the like?)
The most significant feature of Open2Study from my perspective is that they seem aware of the existence of social sharing platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn. (I’m baffled by the limited approach to student interaction that Coursera is taking.) I suppose that’s what the press release is referring to when it says, “Open2Study’s unique classroom environment ensures learning occurs in one place, allowing students to collaborate and support each other.”
Another distinction between this and other providers is that there looks to be more uniformity to the courses across the platform. Every “module” is 4 weeks long, and the FAQ indicates that the testing/evaluation scheme is common to all the courses. Too restrictive a structure could backfire, but some uniformity could be a welcome relief from the wild west feel on Coursera where no two classes have forums set up the same way.
What’s also interesting about Open2Study is that it is run by Open Universities Australia, itself a twenty-year-old online education collaborative of several Australian universities. The O2S press release argues this means they won’t simply be shoving traditional classroom practices onto the internet but building courses around what they’ve learned about online pedagogy.
I’m looking forward to finding out more about what that means practically speaking. Tune in to our reviews page in late May to see what the first students have to say.