Monday, 18 May 2015

liveblog #eMOOCs2015 collaborative MOOCs a challenging experience

This session is given by Sandra Soarez-Frazao and Yves Zech from RESCIF.
Very interesting as I can see parallels between other North-South course challenges.

The MOOC they talk about is about ‘Rivers and Men’, in the international (French speaking countries) RESCIF, a North South cooperation. This network has as an objective to focus on:
Water
Energy
Nutrition

Teaching support in this North-South context: lectures are organised in both institutions and teach each other’s. MOOCs can offer a different way of sharing teaching experience.

With the global climate change water is becoming an increasingly important commodity, which is at the basis of choosing to organise this MOOC.
Topic: dynamics of trained rivers from experience in Norther and Southern rivers. Designed for engineers that want to refresh their knowledge, or to understand all the basics that are needed for water measuring. And without intending it, citizens who had concerns about the environment came in as learners as well.

Welcome week, four week course, personal project (choice of a problematic and a related real case.

All the MOOC week topics are shared. They all build upon each other, so simple to complex.
Remark from Sandra: because the MOOC was in French less participants joined.
The participants were less African based then expected.
Learner participation was quite constant throughout the MOOC (for those participating actively).

Assets of collaborative MOOCs
· Extended resources:
· More people share the work
· The best practice of the various teams
· Extended network for advertising
· Opportunity for some teams to enter the MOOC world
· Various pedagogies (e.g. web references versus literature)

Teamwork
· Brainstorming
· Mutual incentive
· Mutual criticism
· Strong encouragement to hold the production schedule

Challenges of collaborative MOOCs
Heterogeneity of course team
Scientists and tech team might define concepts differently
Scientists of diverse disciplines (e.g. earth and life versus civil engineering)
Disciplines with diverse cultures
Vocabulary (uniform flow for example versus steady flow)
Empirical versus mathematical approach (also related to different jargon and ways of perceiving things)
Difficulty to define the target audience
Risk of a kind of competition (who’s presentation was best for example)

Heterogeneity of course itself
Each week with a distinct level of difficulty
Some reluctance to mathematics, even basic
Forums of discussion not in line with the course content

Required uniformity sometimes felt as a weight
Choice of templates
Constraints of uniform sequence schedules
Constraints due to the FUN platform

Problems of communication
Travels required to meet
Overloaded agendas of course team members
Weak efficiency of distance meetings.

Improve the teamwork effects
Systematisation of mutual (positive) criticism
Better links between lessons (avoid useless repetitions, and contradictions)

Real involvement of Southern partners
Using their study cases (partly done)
More open to teachers from the south
Organise adapted MOOC operations where required (offline versions, use as a support to local teachers, organise local evaluations)

Question: did you get remarks regarding the Northern tech that is used as a symbolic gatekeeper?