Designing and Evaluating a Blended Course which Includes a MOOC [lightning talk]

Singer, J. , Dale, V. , Vanderbauwhede, W. , Barr, N. and Sim, A. (2018) Designing and Evaluating a Blended Course which Includes a MOOC [lightning talk]. 11th Annual Learning and Teaching Conference, Glasgow, UK, 28-29 Mar 2018.

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Rationale: Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) offer increased flexibility and accessibility to learners [1]. For students at the University of Glasgow, this offers them the option to undertake part of their studies online alongside a much larger external cohort. Description: This teaching tip describes the results of an evaluation of learner experiences on the Haskell Programming blended course. What we did: Context: Funded through the Blended and Online Learning Development (BOLD) initiative, authors Singer and Vanderbauwhede, with support from Dale, Barr and Sim, designed a blended course for 4th year and Masters Computing Science students. The first six weeks were delivered primarily online via FutureLearn, comprising a range of different learning activities, along with optional teacher-supported, drop-in sessions. The remainder of the course was taught traditionally. Study design: An evaluation study comprised an online survey and a focus group with volunteer students. Results: Thirty six (29%) students participated in the survey, and six students volunteered to take part in the focus group. 6% of students’ expectations were exceeded, 47% were fully met, 44% were partly met, and 3% were not met at all. The programming exercises were most favoured, followed by quizzes, instructional videos, face-to-face drop-in sessions, the TryHaskell compiler, readings, discussions and the least of all expert interviews. Students felt most supported by their lecturers, then tutors (graduate teaching assistants), the TryHaskell compiler, Glasgow peers, and least of all by other FutureLearn learners. However, there was evidence from the open comments that some students benefited from broader discussions with the massive cohort. Some students reported feeling underprepared for the assessment; as the online exercises were too simple to be representative. The lack of lab sessions was also viewed a drawback. However, some students reported not knowing about the drop-in sessions where the opportunity for detailed practice and feedback was provided. This tends to work better if: Elements of the course content are suited to self-study, and online learning exercises for practice and feedback can be automated. This doesn’t work unless: A copy of the MOOC material is also made available on Moodle, as FutureLearn only offers temporary access during the live running of the course unless participants purchase certificates. In addition, ongoing visibility and support from teachers and tutors is needed [2] and should be factored into workload allocations. Conclusion: A blended course incorporating a MOOC can enable learners to learn at their own pace and collaboratively with a wider cohort; however, clear signposting is required regarding the importance of the face-to-face drop-in sessions for practice and feedback from teachers. Class size: Medium (25-150) Environment: Lab, other Suitable for online learning: Yes IT competency required: Moderate Keywords: MOOC, blended learning, online learning References: 1. Yuan, L., et al. MOOCs and open education: Implications for higher education. 2013 [cited 2016 15 June]; Available from: 2. Bayne, S. and J. Ross. The pedagogy of the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC): the UK view. 2014 [cited 2014 21 August]; Available from:

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item
Keywords:MOOC, blended learning, learner experience research.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Singer, Dr Jeremy and Vanderbauwhede, Professor Wim and Dale, Dr Vicki and Sim, Mr Andrew and Barr, Mr Niall
Authors: Singer, J., Dale, V., Vanderbauwhede, W., Barr, N., and Sim, A.
Subjects:L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Computing Science
University Services > Learning and Teaching Services Division
University Services > Student and Academic Services > Academic Services
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 The Authors
Publisher Policy:Reproduced with the permission of the authors

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