Mining a MOOC: What Our MOOC Taught Us about Professional Learning, Teaching, and Assessment

Mining a MOOC: What Our MOOC Taught Us about Professional Learning, Teaching, and Assessment

Sandra Milligan (University of Melbourne, Australia) and Patrick Griffin (The University of Melbourne, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8324-2.ch001
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Abstract

In July 2014, a massive open online course (MOOC) entitled The Assessment and Teaching of 21st Century Skills (ATC21S) was offered within the University of Melbourne's programme. Designed as a research engagement and dissemination initiative, the ATC21S MOOC enrolled 18,000 education practitioners, predominantly interested in teaching and assessment of complex 21st century skills. This chapter describes the experience of developing and teaching in the MOOC, and of learning through it. The authors suggest areas for ongoing research, and highlight areas in which MOOCs may stimulate broader change. This chapter commences the dialogue for the opening book section – policy issues in MOOCs Design, and responds to the topic of ‘emerging technology and change management issues for eLearning in the MOOCS environment.'
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Introduction

This chapter examines aspects of teaching, learning and assessment in a massive, open, online course (MOOC) aimed at supporting the professional learning of teachers. It arises principally from the experience of running the MOOC as a research engagement initiative at the University of Melbourne (UM) in 2014. It also draws on research on massive open online courses (MOOCs) being conducted under the joint auspices of the Science of Learning Research Centre, the Assessment Research Centre (ARC) and the Learning Analytics Research Group at UM.

Nearly two years after the decision to use a MOOC as a form of research dissemination and engagement, we have developed improved conceptual lenses through which to interpret what we observed. We learned much about MOOCs and their capacities and limitations as a means of supporting professional learning of education professionals. We came to understand how little is known about learning in MOOCs. We developed a greater appreciation of the nature of teaching and assessment in the MOOC, of the skills required of participants to learn in a MOOC, and of how to judge the performance of a MOOC. We developed optimism about the potential for MOOCs as incubators for new and improved approaches to assessment and learning. This chapter explains what we saw, and what we made of it, and avenues we have identified for future inquiry and development, with particular reference to our developing understanding of how MOOCs might contribute to professional learning.

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