At Saxion there is already some experience with the development of an MOOC. The phased plan below will give you an overview of which steps and considerations you should take into account.
What do we mean with an Open Online Course? This is an online course which anyone in the world can enrol for free and for which you are not tied to a location. The subject matter is offered online through, for example, online lectures, videos, articles, self- or peer assessments and discussion fora. Afterwards, you can often take a final exam, sometimes for a fee, to obtain an official certificate (or credits). In addition to being open in access, the course also offers Open Educational Resources. All open online courses developed within Saxion are offered with a Creative Commons licence, making (re)use by other educational institutions possible.
What makes our Open Online Courses unique? The education of a University of Applied Sciences is closely linked to the professional field. So are our open online courses. An important condition is therefore that the professional field is integrated into every open online course. In this way, education can be developed together with a company, but companies can also act as cases within the course.
Interested in developing an (M)OOC? Please contact the TLC consultant or learning developer of your school for an exploratory meeting or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The first step in the process is to ask yourself the following question:
- Why is the course unique and should it be developed, open and online? In other words: what problem are you trying to solve?
We want to prevent you from developing a course or materials that is already open online. First find out if the topic (or parts of it) does not already exist as an online course or as Open Educational Resources.
Then you will get a clear picture for yourself:
- What is the main focus of the course?
- What is the target group?
It is important to know clearly who your students are and how they will benefit from the course given in an online format. Get clear:
- Who are your students? How old are they?
- What are the students studying or have they studied? What prior knowledge is expected of them?
- Is the course national or international? When making an international course, think about the possible use of a translation agency as well as cultural differences and time differences.
- What tools do the students need (besides a computer and internet)?
- What do these students need and what does this course offer them?
To develop an open online course, you will assemble a development team. An effective team consists of a course coordinator, course developer(s) and an instructional designer.
- The course coordinator is responsible for the preparation and execution of the planning and for the final delivery of the course.
- The course developer is responsible for the content of the course.
- The instructional designer advises and supports the course developer with the design of the course.
In addition, keep in mind the following people who will be involved in the course development: the moderator, reviewers and beta testers.
- The moderator monitors the course when it is in progress.
- The reviewers are content experts who think along with the course content and review the content before it is tested.
- The beta testers get, when the course is almost finished, access to test and review the course.
If you want to use video in the course, you need to think about this in time and take action. Keep in mind that producing videos can be valuable. You can, of course, record videos yourself, see video.saxion.nl/aandeslag for both didactic and technical tips and manuals. In addition, you can get help from the Saxion Video-Unit. The Video-Unit creates educational audiovisual material that fits in with the online and blended education at Saxion and shares its productions openly and online via video.saxion.nl.
Make a planning for the development of the open online course. Determine at least the start date. This way you can calculate what needs to be done in the meantime. Is it a realistic planning? Registration should be possible at least one month before the start date. Plan the start date on a weekday. The last month is for final details. Keep this in mind in your planning. In addition, the study manual and the 'About page' must be ready on time and the course must be promoted on time.
Make an overall planning for the steps to be taken and plan interim results based on this and also set dates for meetings with the development team.
Be aware that developing an open online course is a nice, but above all time consuming job. The course team should therefore have enough hours available to work on the development. The efforts of TLC will be planned in agreement. In addition to the efforts of hours, there may be costs for the development of videos by the Saxion Video-Unit, the efforts of work students, the efforts of a translation agency and promotional materials.
In the first phase, think about how and where you want to promote the course. This of course depends on your target group and what you want to achieve with this course. Make a communication plan for the marketing of the course. Involve the Communication and Marketing Department if necessary.
In this phase you will design the course. You will focus on formulating learning outcomes, determining the assessment, determining the learning activities and collecting sources. You will present the course design to colleagues, experts and/or students for feedback. With the course design you can make a more concrete planning.
Formulate learning outcomes. Learning outcomes form the basis for the development of education and testing. A learning outcome is a description of what the student can do as a result of what has been learned.
In the design you also determine the assessment: how do students complete the open online course and does it assess the learning outcomes you have determined? It is also important to think about whether and how this online course is part of the curriculum. Of course, when determining and designing the assessment, the form should be taken into account: online and suitable for large groups.
When designing the learning activities, you take into account the form: online and suitable for large groups. There are of course some limitations compared to face-to-face teaching, but well-designed online learning activities, such as exercises, quiz questions, polls, discussions and self-assessment questions, can provide an effective way of learning. Take a look at this page of edX about possible exersices and tools.
Did you know that in addition to using video, you could also use audio only? A lot faster to make and sometimes just as effective for students.
Think about how interaction is part of the course: where can students ask their questions and when and how often do they receive feedback?
You are probably already an expert on the subject of the course, but it is always wise to make sure you have the most recent and up-to-date sources. So: take another good look at the sources you already have and possibly collect new ones. Consider the use of Open Educational Resources in the course. It can save costs and time. Of course, you can contact the accountmanager of the library if you need support in searching for and finding OER. It can also be very useful to cooperate with colleagues who are connected to the topic. You could use them as a source to write (parts of) the course or to critically assess the course.
Make sure you always mention a good source and also mention the (Creative Commons) rights of the course you have developed.
The design and planning has been made. Now the actual development and testing will start. Quite a job!
Start by developing a study guide based on the course design. The study guide can be used as communication material in which course information and expectations are mentioned. The study guide will also be available on the edX platform.
In any case, the following sections will be included in the study guide:
- About the course: general course information with an explanation of the subject and form of the course (a rough idea of the learning activities). You can also choose to make the course structure clear and indicate per week what the student is going to do or learn.
- Learning outcomes: what skills or knowledge have students learned at the end of the course? Is specific prior knowledge required?
- Assessment: what form is the assessment, which components count towards the final assessment, what are the deadlines and can a certificate be obtained?
- Expectations: what do you expect from students and what can students expect from you?
- Requirements: what does the student need for this course?
- Contact: who developed the course and how and with whom can the student make contact in case of questions?
Take a look at the example of the study guide for MOOC Business Analytics.
After designing the course, you will enter the course content and develop it further on the open source platform edX, accessible via studio.saxion.nl. TLC provides you with rights to use this platform and can support you. It is up to you, whether or not together with colleagues, to develop the course and make it available. If necessary, you can ask (work)students for this purpose. Via edx.readthedocs.io, as the name suggests, you can view documents explaining how the studio works. To use the search function (recommended!), open the link with Google Chrome.
To get more information about the students of the course and their feedback, you can use a survey before, during and/or after the course. This can be done using the survey tool of edX or by creating a Qualtrics survey and embedding it in the learning platform.
If you're almost done developing the course, test the course with a group of "beta testers". The beta testers are arranged by the course team. These are preferably students, colleagues or professionals from the work field who will take the course as if they were intended students. They give feedback, recommendations and point out errors in the course. A small reward can help convince people to take the beta test. Advice and guidelines on beta testing can be found in edX's read the docs.
In the communication and marketing plan you have indicated how you want to promote the course. Is this plan still correct and have tasks already been carried out?
The study guide is ready to be shared. Open registration at least one month in advance via mooc.saxion.nl.
It’s time! The course is ready and about to begin. However, you’re not finished yet. Keep a constant eye on the course and guide students to the desired result.
Once the course has started, the moderator should monitor progress on a regular basis. Monitor the activity of the course every day, including weekends. Respond quickly to problems, questions and the discussion forum. In addition, motivate students. Have you planned live online sessions? Send an additional announcement if necessary and actively deal with the questions and comments.
Where possible, plan moments to provide updates. For example: the course is about to start, a welcome message, the deadline, etc.
Collect relevant information during the course such as the most frequently asked questions, comments, feedback, quotes, etc. This can be used not only to improve the course or a FAQ, but also for later communication and marketing of the course.
The evaluation will take place within one month after completion of the course. With the results of the survey, the collected feedback and experiences of the course team, you evaluate the course and the process. Document this and give recommendations for the repetition of the course. You also provide a list of changes that need to be made to the courses for rehearsal, feedback on support, and a date for rehearsal.