Much has been written and said in the national and international media about Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) in the last few years. It seems that everyone has an opinion about MOOCs: either they are hyped as the next big thing, they will revolutionise higher education for everyone, or they are nothing more than marketing and poor pedagogy which will soon fade away. MOOCs may have significant potential in extending or enhancing current higher education provision in key perceived shortage areas and, as such, their application to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) teaching is particularly relevant.
On Friday 23rd January 2015, The University of Manchesterheld a one-day seminar on MOOCs in STEM. It included general presentations by international leaders in the field on where MOOCs currently stand and what the future may hold. In addition, case studies from academics who have successfully delivered MOOCs in the STEM area were presented with the aim of giving and sharing experiences and practical advice on STEM MOOC delivery.
Some of the presentations from the day have been made available to share with a wider audience – links are below.
- Dr Patrick O’Malley, EPS Faculty eLearning Lead, University of Manchester (Chair of session)
- Prof David Schultz, University of Manchester. David will be delivering “Advice to Academics considering their first MOOC“. The elation of receiving funding to develop the MOOC quickly subsides into “Oh crap, now I have to deliver this sucker.” He will discuss the lessons he has learned as a MOOC newbie in developing “Our Earth: Its Climate, History and Processes”.
- Rick Levin, CEO, Coursera
- Simon Nelson, CEO, FutureLearn
- Dr Stephen Powell, Centre for Educational Technology and Interoperability Standards (CETIS), University of Bolton. Stephen will be presenting on “Making MOOCs work: partnerships in international education“. It will briefly introduce MOOCS including their origins and some the ideas that underpin them, then focus on a partnership building project between the University of SOuthampton’s Electronics & Computer Science department and the Beijing Normal University (BNU) Institute of Information.
- Dr Paul Yates, Academic Advisor for MOOCs, The Higher Education Academy. Paul will be speaking about “Understanding MOOCs: pedagogy and student engagement“. The talk will consider recent work undertaken by the HEA to explore aspects of MOOCs with an emphasis on learning and teaching. This has attempted to ascertain the benefits for learners, the principles of learning and teaching, what learning is taking place, and the potential for future use of MOOCs.
- Dr Jonathan Agger, University of Manchester (MOOC: Introduction to Physical Chemistry) – link: https://www.slideshare.net/secret/c3DE2abJmfkxJ8
- Dr Laura Dickinson, University of Bristol (MOOC: Cracking Mechanics: Further Maths for Engineers) – link: https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/cracking-mechanics
- Dr Christos Leonidopoulos, University of Edinburgh (MOOC: The Discovery of the Higgs Boson). The quest for an elusive particle that lasted 50 years, a Nobel Prize in Physics, Edinburgh’s role, and what we learned by making a MOOC about this adventure.
- Dr Leah Ridgway, University of Nottingham (MOOC: Electrify: An Introduction to Electrical and Electronic Engineering) – link: http://www.slideshare.net/LeahRidgway/electrify-university-of-liverpool