Tag: master programme

Guest blogger: Learning through MOOCs


Amar Bahadur Singh

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).

Welcome new Hedda students!

A new year has started at the university, and Hedda has welcomed a new cohort of Master students, eager to start their interdisciplinary studies in the field of higher education. This year, the student cohort again includes  students from all over the world as usually is the case for the Hedda master programme.


first information meeting with the new Hedda students in 2015

Getting to know new fellow Master students

Getting to know fellow Master students

This year we have some students who come from Norway locally, but also from a number countries in and around Europe (Austria, Germany, Greece, Norway Spain and Turkey), the African continent (Ethiopia, Ghana, Mozambique, Uganda), Asian countries (Nepal and South Korea) and the Americas (Canada, USA and Chile).

We are extremely happy to have this diverse student body also this year. This provides students wonderful opportunities for learning about higher education systems world wide. This gives a whole new meaning to studying different higher education models!

During the first information meeting the students met with the Hedda master programme staff and had great opportunities to mingle with their professors and lecturers afterwards.

Tips and Tricks: How to get started as a new master student? 16 top tips from a second year student!

Enzo Rossi  (Hedda master student)

Enzo Rossi
(Hedda master student)

Have you recently been admitted to the Hedda master programme in higher education? Wonder what to do next? Well, second year student Enzo Rossi shares his 16 top tips for a new student! While targeting new students at the Hedda master programme, these tips are of relevance also for others who might be starting their studies as international students. 

So, you got accepted to the Mphil in Higher Education at the University of Oslo! If you are a bit like I was when accepted, you are probably freaking out right now. So to help you freak out a little bit less, I thought about some things you might find helpful to know before you start.

1) Congratulations! You should pat yourself in the back (or get someone else to do it for you) Around 300 people applied to this programme, and less than 30 typically get accepted, so you should be very happy to be counted amongst the chosen ones.

2) You are going to look at the syllabus and think “I have no idea what any of these things mean”. The first course is an introduction, so all will be clear and it would build up a good base for the rest of the course. Second year students will be assigned to have “colloquiums” with you, where they will go over what you have learned and answer questions you may have and help you link concepts.

3) PANIC, the first semester is very intensive, and even though there are gaps in between lessons, you will use that as valuable study time. The following semester is not as heavy.

4) Yes, you will find a job after you graduate. Coming from business, I was a bit worried about my career opportunities after graduation, but turns out that there are many opportunities for Higher Education graduates. Look at the alumni profiles on the Hedda blog for some examples.

5) Prepare to be challenged. You know all those things you knew about how Universities worked? That amazing knowledge you had from being a student representative? Prepare to see it crushed. It’s all gonna be super useful, but you will find yourself re-thinking a lot of conceptions you had. You will hear from your classmates about how things work in their countries and academics that will challenge what you thought was written in stone with hard evidence. But that’s all part of the charm.

Alumni Chronicle: Master thesis defense experience from abroad

Mohammad Abul Kawser (Hedda alumni)

Mohammad Abul Kawser
(Hedda alumni)

As spring is coming up and a lot of Master students are soon delivering their thesis and soon having defenses coming up, we have collected some insights from students who have experienced a defense. So what is it all about? In this post, a recent graduate Mohammad Abul Kawser writes about his experience.

Remember, these are the experiences at the Hedda master programme in Higher Education at the University of Oslo. If you are studying in another higher education, be sure to check the formal requirements at your institution!

It’s very exciting to have finished the thesis and oral defense successfully, and good preparation can lead to this end. Usually, oral defense is held face to face where examiners and the student meet in a close environment. But in my case it was different as I attended the defense using electronic media form Bangladesh which is thousands of kilometers away from Oslo.

I conducted my field study in Bangladesh and wrote my thesis from here, this allowed me to avoid commuting to Oslo for the defense, with the permission of the university. Then the whole arrangement was done through Skype. This online thesis writing experience did not deprive me of expert advices in the process. My supervisor, Prof. Monika Nerland was available all the time through electronic communications and I could also work closely with my local co-supervisor Dr. Zahid A. Choudhury by being here.

After the submission of the thesis, I was allowed more than a month to prepare myself. During this time, I reevaluated the decisions that I took in my thesis. I assessed how far these decisions were appropriate? In cases where they are not appropriate, what could I have done alternatively? I discussed these issues with my supervisors. Prof. Monika provided me with some more literature so that I could connect my findings with the broader perspectives in the field. In addition, I was prepared to say something about the formulation of my research questions, analytical framework, methodological choices, ethical issues etc.

Hedda Master Programme in Higher Education: European and Nordic admission round!

We are delighted to inform you that the application round for European and Nordic countries is now on its way!

Are you interested in knowing more about the role of higher education in modern knowledge society and how it operates? The Faculty of Education at the University of Oslo (Norway) is proud to offer an award winning 2-year Master of Philosophy Programme in Higher Education.

The two year research focused international programme is the first Master’s programme on higher education in Europe and one of the few in the world covering a broad range of disciplinary perspectives on higher education.

Listen to the Director of Hedda, Professor Peter Maassen talk about the Master Programme:

Or, view two of our students sharing their views of the field and the Master Programme after completing the first semester of the programme.

Multidisciplinary programme

The programme is focused on changing functions, policies, and operations of Higher Education using an international and comparative perspective. The students receive a solid basis for analysing and critically assessing change processes at all relevant levels in higher education – from activities inside the classroom to understanding national and global developments.

International focus

The student body and staff are highly international. The programme has had students from more than forty countries in the world, including faraway places such as Maldives and Vanuatu, as well as USA, China, Brazil, UK, Australia and various European countries. 
In addition, the students have an opportunity to spend parts of their studies in partner institutions abroad.

Innovative and high quality learning environment

The programme features lectures from highly renowned researchers from across the world and is based on multi-faceted modes of delivery and supported by a state of the art e-learning platform. 
In 2009, the Master of Philosophy in Higher Education programme was awarded the prize as the best learning environment at the University of Oslo.

Research integration

The programme is research oriented and the students have the opportunity to have their master thesis integrated into larger research projects and learn first-hand skills of conducting research in a team.

Master Programme Brochure (pdf)

Master Programme Brochure (pdf)

Multiple career opportunities

Understanding the key institution of the knowledge economy – higher education – is a highly valued competence in the modern society. About 40% of the graduates continue onto a PhD, and the graduates of the programme are employed within higher education in various international and supranational organisations, such as the European University Association and the EU, ministries of education and national agencies, as well as university administrations around the world.

Comments from our alumni

Here is what our alumni says!