When it comes to MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) we’ve all heard the question: ‘Why can’t the study I’ve completed online via a MOOC be accredited to my degree?’ Students across the world are enrolling in MOOCs by the millions and they all seem to want the same thing: credit for their hard work. Well look out MOOC lovers – one of Open2Study’s presenters has listened and answered his students’ plea!
Dr David Salisbury, AKA Dr Dave, is an Open2Study’s presenter who has incorporated his ‘World Music MOOC’ (www.open2study.com/courses/world-music) into the curriculum at James Cook University (JCU). They’re offering marks for students who download and supply their certificate of completion. “The fact that you’ve essentially completed all the aspects of the course I think is really positive… I give them an extra 10% [credit], which for students who are on the borderline of a grade can actually mean they get a better grade,” Dr Dave explains.
“In a classroom I often only get two or three people answering questions. But in an online environment, there seems to be a higher percentage of people that will get involved. Maybe it has to do with the fact that they are not sitting in front of their classmates directly. So some of it is a bit about breaking down the walls of anxiety… You really have the opportunity to express yourself in a non-threatening situation,” says Dr Dave.
Dr Dave’s course at JCU addresses four main world music elements in four modules (rhythm, melody, harmony and texture) and runs for 10 weeks where he delivers 9-10 lectures. Eight of these lectures are focused on culture –the last four traditions are taught in class, whilst the first four traditions are introduced in the Open2Study MOOC:
“The advantage of that is because in the Open2Study MOOC there are quizzes at the end of every topic, and a quiz at the end of every module. So it gives us the kind of review process that I think is really helpful,” says Dr David. “I’ve had students give me some very positive feedback about that very aspect. I’m also aware that I now have, in some ways, a brand name worldwide. Dr Dave is now a known brand throughout the world!”
Not only has Dr Dave already implemented credit for completing the MOOC at the start of his course, he also has plans to continue doing so. “I would like to include credit via a MOOC for the second half of the course. But I also have other subject areas that I’d like to look at. I believe in Florida there’s actually legislation that essentially designates that students have achieved an accredited online course, or a MOOC course, will get credit towards their degree that they’re involved with in the Florida state system”.
When I asked Dr Dave on his thoughts about use of MOOC’s being used on a grander scale, he was a big advocate for it. “I’d like to see more of it,” he says, “It’s an absolute no brainer as far as I’m concerned.”
So the future is looking good for MOOCS – and it’s not just Dr Dave that is pioneering this new pathway. Open2Study is also working with other providers to drive this initiative, and introduce this accreditation through Open Universities Australia’s undergraduate courses. The more we talk to students and Universities about free online learning the more the vision becomes clear; free online learning is proving to be a great pathway for students into accredited courses; it also proves to be a very engaging, augmented learning experience.