Ben Stranieri and I have been looking at how an introductory MOOC could be shaped from his current logistics in fashion and textiles course. The course is the associate degree in Global Logistics (from 2017 the title will be Global Impacts: Fashion Merchandise). http://www1.rmit.edu.au/courses/044998 .
After initial interest from Ben we were given permission to scope the possibilities.
RMIT School of Fashion and Textiles would benefit by having an online presence via a free open course. Currently, the only similar(?)course
a British based course How to Build a Sustainable Fashion Business run by The Ethical Fashion Forum on the Futurelearn platform. Global demand for education that discusses the environmental and social impacts of the fashion industry would be highly sought-after by students and industry alike. A well received learning experience would greatly enhance the profile of RMIT’s School of Fashion and Textiles.
X or C?
Ben has previously done some MOOCs with Coursera and FutureLearn and thought this sort of approach could be a good introduction to the merchandising course as well as possible promotion for the course. In terms of resourcing a MOOC one question was which way to lean in terms of choosing an xMOOC or cMOOC format. xMOOCs like Coursera or Open2study are entirely video-based delivery with built-in assessments, giving the opportunity to create repeatable content once only, in a linear format. The advantage of the cMOOC is that with the lecturer not at the centre of the teaching and learning, participants share their learning and contributions back into the course where shared and distributed knowledge creation is merely facilitated by the educator. The challenge is that the educator needs to be there each time to facilitate direction in activity.
As Ben was thinking about a specific 12 week block of weekly lecture-based activity, I was thinking the xMOOC approach would suit Ben better.
We went through options such as:
- Google Sites. Great for the simplicity and speed of self-built content.
- Blackboard. Complex to build and unattractive for participant navigation.
- Google Communities. Easy to use communities format, where open practice can be available
- FutureLearn. RMIT has already committed to developing 2 MOOCs in the FutureLearn platform. The interface provides an attractive experience which, while linear, does not have to be as dominated by video. Courses tend to mix up the mediums. There is also some participation in live events with educators such as Q and A sessions in Google Hangouts that break up the otherwise formulaic xMOOC experience.
- OPENEdX. Provides a free MOOC platform aimed at creative subject delivery. The DSC Digital Learn team managed to do a vanilla installation of EdX which Ben was able to explore.
- Test Task Manager or TTM. This is a tool developed in the school of business for providing feedback to students on their performance in a series of quizzes. This tool would provide an excellent component for formative assessment between video or other content delivery modes, similar to the quiz tools in Open2study MOOCs.
I was really glad to see Ben have a go at creating a couple of sample videos such as the one below. While the lighting and camera angle need adjusting (and perhaps some warmer weather!), Ben comes across really well. It made me think that with a few improvements, producing video-based content with Ben would be relatively easy. This is something which is often not the case as, in my experience, even experienced educators can have a knack of freezing in front of the camera.
As for the choice of tools that really depends on resourcing and perspective. xMOOCs are highly resource intensive up front, and so film production and editing can require a large investment. cMOOCs with their more open and flexible approach could greatly reduce this cost. The platform also influences investment. The more complex platforms whilst they may produce glossy impressions on the final user, can be a nightmare for learning designers and educators, not to mention time consuming. We both like the flexibility of Google Sites and Communities as it would be fast and easy for a small team to develop fast.