[This is a post about my PhD study on how educators learn how to teach in massive open online courses (moocs). My work is supervised by Dr. Doug Clow, Dr Rebecca Ferguson and Professor Allison Littlejohn. I am now in the final year of my PhD, and have completed the data collection, currently working on the data analysis.]
People working within HE institutions and organisations related to education need to use new methods of teaching and learning, to transform the ways they work to support learners. My PhD study explores the types of knowledge gained by those involved to teach massive open online courses (moocs). Therefore, it is useful to draw attention to the dual role that mooc educators have, not only teaching but also learning about their practice. Data were gathered through a multi case study involving interviews with 28 people with teaching roles on 7 moocs. Data analysis used Tynjälä’s model of integrative pedagogy to identify the different types of theoretical, practical, sociocultural and self-regulative knowledge needed in order to teach in a mooc.
The analysis so far shows that individuals did not engage in formal training (theoretical knowledge); they learned by experience; by (re-)running their moocs and from learners’ feedback (practical knowledge). They also reflected on their learning experience, on their contact with different cultures, on engaging with ideas from other moocs and people (self-regulative knowledge). They worked collaboratively, sharing expertise, but sometimes found communication with colleagues was difficult (sociocultural knowledge). When they faced challenges they integrated theoretical, practical and self-regulative knowledge to solve problems (mediating processes).
Institutions and educational platforms may provide guidance and training to educators with regards to filming, editing, online presence, copyright and legal matters on moocs. Moreover, educators should take a mooc themselves before creating and designing one. Apprenticeships could also be offered to educators that have never done a mooc. Shadowing other people’s work within their institutions may help their effort to teach better on moocs. Finally, encouraging collaborative work with colleagues from different expertise to create more effective moocs may be crucial as well as an inexpensive way to support educators.
The role of educators in moocs is changing. They need to learn new skills that they didn’t need in past practices, they need to collaborate with others and share each other’s expertise.
Here you can find a more detailed presentation I gave last week at the Future Learn Academic Network meeting in Barcelona, Spain – Universitat Pompeu Fabra