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Special Section: Open Educational Resources Initiatives in Oceania | Open | Published:

‘Fit for Purpose’: a cohort-centric approach to MOOC design

«Adecuaciôn al propósito»: un enfoque centrado en el colectivo de estudiantes para el diseño de un curso en línea masivo y abierto (MOOC)

Abstract

How do you design a quality massive open online course (MOOC) that will be ‘fit for purpose’? The Understanding Dementia MOOC is an initiative of the University of Tasmania’s Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre (Wicking Centre). It is an outworking of institutional commitment to open education resources (OER) and open educational practices (OEP). This paper describes the development of the university’s first MOOC, grounded in a philosophy that open learning design includes the criterion ‘fit for purpose’ and thus explicitly considers: the impetus for attempting a MOOC design; the goal (desired outcomes); the nature of the content; assumed capability thresholds of the intended cohort and; the technical and pedagogical design implications of the cohort’s learning readiness. The development team used a design-based research approach underpinned by an evaluation framework. This paper will discuss the interplay of factors which influenced decision-making, including the nature of expert content (packaged by the development team, translated by students and applied in individual contexts), the intended scope of influence, barriers to access in open learning design, pedagogical commitments including adult learning theory, technological constraints, as well as external stakeholder requirements. The paper concludes with a discussion of the impact of maintaining a clear purpose in making a specific body of knowledge available as open content. In particular, we suggest that considerations of content access are not simply physical or technical, but require tailoring the approach to threshold learning capabilities, as well as providing scaffolded content delivery such that individuals can translate their learning for their own contexts.

Resumen

¿Cómo se diseña un curso en línea masivo y abierto (MOOC) que sea «adecuado al propósito»? El curso MOOC Understanding Dementia (Comprender la demencia) es una iniciativa del Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre (Wicking Centre) de la Universidad de Tasmania y hace realidad el compromiso de la institución con los recursos educativos abiertos (REA) y las prácticas educativas abiertas (PEA). El presente artículo describe el desarrollo del primer MOOC de esta universidad, basado en la filosofía de que el diseño del aprendizaje abierto debe incluir el criterio de «adecuación al propósito» y, por ende, tener en consideración lo siguiente: el impulso para decidirse a diseñar un MOOC; el objetivo (los resultados deseados); la naturaleza del contenido; los umbrales de capacidad asumida del colectivo de estudiantes; y las implicaciones en el diseño pedagógico y técnico de la predisposición al aprendizaje del colectivo de estudiantes en cuestión. El equipo de desarrollo del proyecto utilizó un enfoque de investigación basado en el diseño y apoyado en un marco de evaluación. Este artículo analiza la interacción de los factores que influyeron en la toma de decisiones, como la naturaleza del contenido experto (recopilado por el equipo de desarrollo, traducido por los estudiantes y aplicado a contextos individuales), el ámbito de influencia perseguido, las barreras al acceso en el diseño del aprendizaje abierto, los compromisos pedagógicos (incluida la teoría del aprendizaje de adultos), las limitaciones tecnológicas, así como los requerimientos de otras partes interesadas externas. El artículo concluye analizando el impacto que supone mantener un propósito claro al poner a disposición un cuerpo específico de conocimientos como contenido abierto. En particular, los autores sugieren que las consideraciones relativas al acceso a los contenidos no son simplemente físicas o técnicas, sino que es necesario adaptarlos a las capacidades de aprendizaje umbral, además de proporcionar una provisión de contenidos con apoyo escalonado de modo que los individuos puedan trasladar el aprendizaje a su propio contexto.

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Correspondence to Carolyn King.

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Keywords

  • open learning design
  • MOOC
  • open educational resource
  • open educational practice
  • Understanding Dementia

Palabras clave

  • diseño de aprendizaje abierto
  • MOOC
  • recurso educativo abierto
  • práctica educativa abierta
  • comprender la demencia