MOOC around the world – Our Global List of Open Online Classes, Part 3
Ready for the next leg of our around the world MOOC tour?
If you’re just joining us, so far we’ve stopped in on as many MOOCs as we could find in Germany, England and Ireland and then, after a rest stop there, made a few thorough laps around the rest of Europe. But there are more open online classes out there. It’s a big world, after all.
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Our next destination would be a long trip in real life, but online we’ll get there in a snap. All aboard for . . .
Open Universities Australia (OUA), a private distance and online education organization, launched a new free online education platform called Open2Study last March. They’re starting with 10 courses including nursing, anthropology, financial planning and management. OUA expects to offer 40 to 50 subjects by the end of 2013. Like the FutureLearn initiative in the U.K., Open2Study is a collaboration of many different institutions, including Macquarie University, RMIT University and the Central Institute of Technology.
Open2Study has a very particular model. Each course takes four weeks, with 10 intakes per year. Most classes have an emphasis on career exploration and vocational and life skills. The free courses from Open2Study are taught as “starters” that let students taste what is available at OUA.
Like with many open online courses, the materials include recorded lectures, animations, simulations and quizzes. The course subjects are free to everyone, regardless of educational achievement. You just need to register an account and enroll. You do not, however, need to register to participate in the community forum, which allows prospective and current students to ask questions.
To receive a certificate of achievement, students need to complete at least three of the four multiple choice tests by the deadline with an average mark of at least 60% to pass. Be aware that your total score is divided by the number of modules in the courses. Additionally, Open2Study rewards learning and helping other students with different categories of badges, which are used as an incentive in a game-based approach. The more points and badges you earn the higher you move up the high score list.
Rozalia Zeibeki and other writers for MOOCs News & Reviews are just now finishing up their first classes on Open2Study, so watch the reviews page for their take on how the gamified approach is working. In the meantime, you might be also interested in Debbie Morrison’s write up on her site, Online Learning Insights.
OpenLearning.com, a project from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, started November 2012. At the moment, about 13 courses are available, including Computing – the Art of Programming, Service Marketing, Small Engine Repair and Peace Game, a course that uses conflict and peace studies to explore critical thinking. If you look closely at the list of courses, you’ll even see an Arabic-Language MOOC on teaching online. Courses are generally 3 to 12 weeks long.
OpenLearning follows a similar approach as Open2Study with their focus on building a community around a course to foster collaboration and communication. OpenLearning believes student’s learn best when they are self-motivated, engaged and interested in learning. However, at first glance, the OpenLearning platform appears less sophisticated than Open2Study’s.
The University of Western Australia offers currently offers four open online classes. They are unique in that they use Stanford’s open-source online platform, Class2Go which is in the process of merging with the edX platform and which is converting to open source. Also worth mentioning is the fact that online courses at the University of Western Australia are accessible through mobile devices. Perhaps that means the mobile app will then be available for use by Stanford – and anyone else.
The University of New England in New South Wales offers several free online courses through a program called uneOpen. The classes potentially will count for credit for students who apply for admission there and enroll. Many classes include self assessment, but many use exams that charge fees. They also offer “premium services” such as one-on-one and group tutoring for fees.
Well, there’s plenty to see in Australian MOOCs, but it’s time to be moving on.
International business students should check out Delhi-based Sunstone Business School, which is starting to offer two-week courses in MOOC form using some content provided through a partnership with Saylor.org. Two courses on negotiation are currently running. They claim to have India’s first management MOOCs.
EducateMe360 is a project still under construction with no courses scheduled yet. Under the slogan “Education is a right, not a privilege,” EducateMe360 plans to bring MOOCs to India to help improve the quality of education on every level. Courses will be available to anyone with an internet connection or a phone and the content will be also available for offline consumption for people with low Internet connectivity in India. Courses will be designed for the specific needs of the Indian students and delivered in their local language. Nevertheless, courses will be open to people around the world. Though Educateme360 is an Indian trust, it is New York-based. The founders plan to make their MOOC platform open source.
Open online classes in Latin America
Centro Superior para la Enseñanza Virtual CSEV (Center for Virtual Education) is a foundation created to promote virtual education in Latin America by offering MOOCs through a Spanish platform called unX. They have three MOOCs available now, on entrepreneurship , on developing mobile apps and on basic digital skills. The classes are in Spanish or Portuguese, and they also utilize badges.
CSEV works together with institutions like Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the National University of Distance Education, Banco Santander and Telefonica Gumtree. CSEV aims to encourage and promote virtual education to ensure inclusion in the context of education by removing geographical, physical and social barriers in the Ibero-American community. They believe learning should become more accessible, egalitarian, flexible and free. The unX MOOC is a learning model based on collaboration, free use of educational resources and innovative technologies in an open context. Collaborative learning forums facilitate the exchange of knowledge, experiences and opportunities.
On the second leg of our MOOC around the world journey, I reported on Miriada X, a Spanish-language platform created by Universia and Telefonica Learning Services. Miriada X has partnerships with 1,241 universities from 23 countries in Latin America representing 15.3 million students and academics. Miriada X provides a platform for teachers or teaching teams from any Latin American universities to create and deliver Massive Open Online Classes accessible to everyone free of charge.
My MOOC journey comes to an end (for now)
Our journey will pause here for awhile, though I am already collecting ideas for a fourth leg. While I’ve mostly concentrated on MOOC platforms and larger organizations, I know there are many more independent and unaffiliated MOOCs out there also. For instance, I didn’t get into the Canadian origins of today’s Massive Open Online Courses, although you can read Juliana Marques’ history of Connectivism and Connective Knowledge (CCK08), created by Canadian educators Stephen Downes and George Siemens.
And, although my goal was to survey all the MOOC opportunities outside the U.S., it was really only the best-known American platforms — Coursera, edX and Udacity — that I was trying to travel beyond. Meanwhile, there are many other less-known MOOCs in the U.S. that we should tour soon. I discover many of these by subscribing to the MOOC News and Reviews weekly newsletter, which highlights overlooked MOOC opportunities.
I am amazed at how many MOOCs, represented by dots in this illustration, I can add to my travel map after my MOOC journey around the world. As you can see, a great concentration of MOOCs is displayed in Europe, contradicting the general assumption that MOOC platforms are mainly based in the US. The MOOC movement seems unstoppable, though the map still displays blank spots which still need to be explored.
Recently, I was asked if I consider a MOOC a hype or a trend. Having finished my around-the-world MOOC tour for now, I think, without question, MOOCs are not a short-lived hype but are already an established trend. MOOCs have a great potential to change education. Open online classes are designed to enable a large number of people around the world, including remote regions lacking access to education, to educate themselves for free in collaboration with other learners, using a variety of interactive tools and self-paced media.
You might remember back in part 1 of this journey that we learned about the Irish online learning platform, Alison. I found their mission statement quite apt. They said:
We believe that all certifiable or standards-based learning for every subject can be made available for free online . . . . Article 26 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights . . . states “Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free . . . .”
The advantages of MOOCs are undeniable and I could continue listing further benefits, but that would be another article. However, we need to consider critics like Jason Lane and Kevin Kinser who wrote a critical article titled “MOOC’s and the McDonaldization of Global Higher Education.” The authors argue that, although MOOCs provide access to education, the courses are prepackaged and standardized.
Fortunately, learners can affect the quality of courses. Eventually, demand determines the supply and in the future, hopefully, only those platforms which deliver high quality and good service will continue to exist. That’s where MOOC News & Reviews come into play, by offering a forum for those who want to share their MOOC experience, be it good or bad.
I was definitely thrilled to learn so much about MOOC platforms. Language barriers made it not always easy, and my next MOOC should probably be Spanish MOOC powerd by Instreamia. SpanishMOOC is an undergraduate-level course for students with no background in Spanish to become competent in communicating through listening, speaking, reading and writing. The Rapp brothers, Scott and Ryan, launched the open online course without the help of a large university, similar to how Ignatia Inge de Waard, author of MOOC Yourself, organized MobiMOOC independently.
Having participated only in cMOOCs until now, I will definitely take an xMOOC as soon as I finished my #COER13. Open2Study from Australia made a great impression on me, but Iversity from Germany, starting in the fall, is on my list as well.
It’s a pity that time is too short to test them all. In any case, I think I’ve run out of pages in my passport. ;-).