In this post, one of the candidates from Hedda master programme, Amar Bahadur Singh shares the key findings from his master thesis that he has completed at the University of Oslo.
I carried out a master’ thesis research on the very first international MOOC entitled “What Works: Promising Practices in International Development” that University of Oslo Offered from 23 February to 5 April 2015. Professor and Research Director, Dr. Dan Banik, at University of Oslo’s Centre for Development and the Environment developed the very first international interdisciplinary MOOC in close collaboration with Stanford University in the United States, the University of Malawi’s Chancellor College in Malawi, China Agricultural University in Beijing, and Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD), and launched through the FutureLearn platform. The interdisciplinary researchers, scholars and development specialists from the collaborating universities and organizations contributed to delivering video lectures, reading materials, etc. to the six-week course.
What is a MOOC?
Generally speaking, a MOOC refers to an online course that resembles an on-campus course in many ways. For example, it has a video lecture, discussion forums, and e-assessment. Daniel (2012) contends MOOCs are commonly defined by signature characteristics that include: free courses and short video lectures combined with formative quizzes that are easily accessible through technology devices that have Internet connectivity. But, as Hvam (2015) states, all MOOCs are not free and non-credit bearing. Some of the MOOCs are degree awarding and charge tuition fees. Thus, a single definition does not cover all MOOCs.
McAuley et al. (2010, p. 5), however, give an elaborated definition of MOOC: A MOOC integrates the connectivity of social networking, the facilitation of an acknowledged expert in a field of study, and a collection of freely accessible online resources. Perhaps most importantly, however, a MOOC builds on the active engagement of several hundred to several thousand ‘students’ who self-organize their participation according to learning goals, prior knowledge and skills, and common interests. Although it may share in some of the conventions of an ordinary course, such as a pre-defined timeline and weekly topics for consideration, a MOOC generally carries no fees, no prerequisites other than Internet access and interest.
There are two types of MOOCs: cMOOCs or connectivist MOOCs and xMOOCs or content-based MOOCs. Siemens (2012a) The cMOOCs, as Siemens (2012a) asserts, emphasize “creation, creativity, autonomy and social networking learning” while xMOOCs emphasizes “a more traditional learning approach through video presentations and short quizzes and testing” (p.5).