MOOC as a tool for teacher training

By December 14, 2016 News No Comments

Digital skills are an important element in the educational environment, their development and integration should be a priority in order to address modern society demands.

This article forms integral part of that course. Our fourth edition has been already launched so you enrol!. “sMOOC Step by Step” is a free Massive Open Online Course – MOOC is being made available by ECO, which is a European project based on Open Educational Resources (OER), that gives free access to a list of MOOCs in 6 languages, in most languages via Closed Captions (via YouTube subtitles).

The objective of this article is to give an overview about how a MOOC for teachers influences the development of their digital skills.

Results show that MOOCs have the potential to develop digital skills to use OER and to solve information problems (especially the ones related to communication and project planning); and visualizing a practical application of course content increases participants’ overall satisfaction.

Increased digital and technical skills MOOC are the next step in the evolution of on line learning. But where e Learning was first organized and confined to the boundaries of an institutional Learning Management System (LMS), MOOC made the on line courses open to a global, international public.

ExperieTeacher toolsnced teachers deploy multiple teaching strategies. They are experts in teaching; they know how to transform any content and any dynamic into an engaging learner experience. And most importantly, teachers understand where their learners come from and where they need to be heading. As such teachers, use creative learning actions which they pull out of their pedagogical backpack.

MOOC are the next step in the evolution of on line learning. But where e Learning was first organized and confined to the boundaries of an institutional Learning Management System (LMS), MOOC made the on line courses open to a global, international public.

There is however three essential factors needed to be able to follow MOOC: on line access, and digital skills to know how to work in the on line learning environment, and the capacity for self-regulated learning.

Technological skills:
With the addition of social media tools (= more peer-to-peer interactions and more dialogue in general) and mobile or ubiquitous options to allow the learners to stay tuned to all the interactions happening in a MOOC. This means that the course is ideally ubiquitous, allowing students to access the course and its interactions with mobile and non-mobile devices.

Digital skills:
More Digital skills are needed as MOOCs can make use of a variety of social media tools and all the latest on line tools. This inevitably results in a need for the participants to practice and acquire new skills. MOOC are also not standardized and when investigating all current MOOC platforms, one can see that there is a difference in pedagogical approach, design of the user interface and the embedding of social media tools, which results in a challenge to really understand all the options within different MOOC platforms.

Self-regulated learning:
Within MOOCs learning increasingly becomes the responsibility of the learner. Sometimes that responsibility can be limited to the learner having to take responsibility for their self-directed or self-regulated learning where the learner take their learning into their own hands and regulate their learning using personally constructed learning strategies. This self-regulated learning is a complex skill to acquire.
It is not only complex on an individual level, but also on a group level involving different teaching skills to scaffold and mold the self-regulated skills.

Enhancing these self-regulated skills is one of the many challenges MOOC teachers face, as MOOCs gather a very diversified group of learners.The same can be said about the expectations and abilities in teachers. In order for MOOCs to work, it is pivotal to understand and tune what teachers are expecting.

Rethinking assessment:
In MOOC new assessment options are now provided ranging from mandatory participation in discussion forums (with clear rubrics on what is expected from the participants), over student produced content using digital tools such as YouTube and Facebook, to peer-to-peer reviewing.

There are also a set of newly, automated assessment options being developed. eRubrics are also an assessment tool that gets increasing attention especially in the competency based educational models which emphasize student’s self-regulation skills.

Increased success for students from vulnerable socio-economic classes
Due to its complex interactions and prior knowledge, MOOCs risk to increase the digital divide between students from different socio-economic classes. However, recent research from Jiang et al. (2014) have provided proof that with the right approach MOOC can be used to strengthen students from more vulnerable socio-economic classes.

Scaffolded teacher development:
The complexity in new teaching and learning skills is a reality within MOOCs. This poses a problem for both the educational institutes, as well as for the teachers. But there is an approach which allows teachers to gradually become expert at MOOCs, while staying on top of their field at the same time: MOOC blending.

In order to provide teachers with MOOC confidence, it is crucial that their digital and technological skills are enhanced, and that a gradual exposure to MOOC is planned within the educational institute. This will allow both teachers and learners to understand and build upon current MOOC pedagogies and interactions, so teachers can get the most out of this new learning and teaching format.

Are you ready for new challenges? If you would like to become the instructor of your own MOOC, after completed “sMOOC Step by Step” please apply to “Become an e-teacher”. We can’t wait to see what you create. – Team UoMan.

Note: Article idea and some texts are taken from:
http://oro.open.ac.uk/44528/3/MOOC%20and%20teacher%20developmen%20final.pdf
https://repositorio.itesm.mx/ortec/handle/11285/581442