Friday, April 06, 2018

A NOOC in a MOOC World: on course for your Masters #lilac18

The final talk I'm blogging is Elizabeth Newell (University of Nottingham, UK) A NOOC in a MOOC World: on course for your Masters. She started by saying that the university library had been restructured and following on from that, they reviewed the information literacy programme, with the aim of standardising, and focusing on transition (particularly school to uni and undergrad to postgrad). The longer journey of undergraduate students gave a number of opportunities for intervention, but in the UK Masters programmes are mostly just 12 months. The University of Nottingham was also planning to expand its distance learning for Masters students as a general policy.
Therefore they opted for an online approach, and decided to use the Nottingham Open Online Course (NOOC) platform to develop a course for Masters students. Newell worked with other professionals e.g. senior academic lead for teaching enhancement and a learning technologist. Academics on a steering group were initially concerned about the online learning mode, e.g. that some international students would not have the digital competencies, and this feedback helped in designing the course. The NOOC is self paced and open through teh year so students can return to it. Both on-campus and distance learning students, and students from many disciplines, use the NOOC.use of information
Most of the content focuses on students' use of information in academic studies. It starts with a module "stepping up a level" which aims to help in their transition. Later modules include elements such as searching and referencing. Some examples were given e.g. the "Stepping up" section includes short videos of academics in different disciplines saying what they thought transition to postgraduate work meant (e.g. saying that students are expected to be more critical, be more self-directed).
There is a welcome and introductions forum, in which students are encouraged to post and respond. Newell gave other examples of peer to peer learning and sharing in discussion fora. She noted there was more sharing in the postgraduate NOOC than on the undergraduate one. They have facilitators who will intervene and comment in the discussion fora, and there is training for that role.
Looking at number of participants, there have been about 1400 a year in the first 3 years, mostly from the university's UK campus (which is where most taught postgraduates are). Interestingly, the distance learning students are under represented. Some academics have started designing specific parts of the NOOC into student learning.In the future, assessments on a common compulsory module will require students to draw on learning from the NOOC. They are developing strategies to get students from the non-UK campuses to engage more actively e.g. asking for videos and support from Chinese colleagues.

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