Online Courses and MOOCs

Flexible Learning

In today's university, the students have diverse backgrounds and life circumstances, such as family life or part time jobs. They may also be studying at the university while living in another city or country. This calls for a model of teaching that is flexible in terms of time (when to learn), mode of delivery (how to learn), and pace of learning (how long to spend on a task). One such model is using the Internet to create online courses.

Online courses can be synchronous, where students meet in real time in a virtual conference room, or asynchronous where learning takes place via discussion boards (audio-, video- or text-based), blogs, wikis, etc. In both cases, teachers may use different content delivery modes, such as short video lectures or screencasts and different forms of assessment such as multiple choice quizzes/tests or peer review assignments.

In 2008 teaching online was made scalable to accommodate thousands of students by educators Stephen Downes and George Siemens. This was the birth of the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). There are roughly two types of MOOCs: the ones that use different platforms and online learning tools for learning via collaborative processes in networks, and the ones that connect the learners via MOOC platforms, such as Coursera, edX, Udacity, and Futurelearn. Courses in these MOOC platforms are typically designed around video lectures with in-video-quizzes, discussion boards, and different types of assignments and tests. DTU partners with Coursera to offer MOOCs on their platform.

Both regular online courses and MOOCs can be used in conjunction with face-to-face teaching to create a blended learning course.

How to Create and Facilitate Online Courses

On the basis of several years of experience with online teaching and research within this field, Professor Gilly Salmon has created a model for asynchronous online teaching with three main elements:

  • The 5 stage model - a structured process for online learning design
  • E-tivities - a framework for enabling active and participative online learning by individuals and groups.
  • The teacher as an E-moderator - a guideline for teaching online

Learning Technology for Online Courses and MOOCs

Have a look in the TOOL section or check out the resources below:

Reading & References

  • Salmon, G. (2013). E-tivities: The key to active online learning (2nd ed.). London and New York: Routledge.
  • Salmon, G. (2011). E-moderating: The key to teaching and learning online (3rd ed.). New York: Routledge.

Online Courses and MOOCs