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Preparing to ride giant waves: developing procedural decision-making processes to support massive online courses

Preparing to ride giant waves: developing procedural decision-making processes to support massive online courses
Preparing to ride giant waves: developing procedural decision-making processes to support massive online courses
In 2013, we launched our first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) in a joint venture with Futurelearn. This was our first experience of riding the large waves of providing online support for a course with literally thousands of online learners. Afterwards we evaluated this provision and applied the lessons learned in the second iteration of the course in Spring 2014. As MOOCs continue to gain popularity and course registration numbers in the UK continue to increase we realised that we need to be gearing up to be able to ride giants.

Our session is important to the field of online learner support as we focus on ways of developing procedural decision-making processes to support effective online facilitation of a massive number of learners.

Our presentation is likely to be of interest to practitioners, researchers, academic content creators and project managers.

The presentation will be evenly distributed in two halves. During the first half, we will outline the main challenges we met, and the evaluation we made of them. In the second half, we will describe the protocols we developed, and will illustrate how we applied these protocols using specific scenarios.

The FutureLearn platform is currently unique with its one-step-one-discussion forum approach and our experience so far of delivering three MOOCs indicates that this encourages online participation (Nelson 2014). Steps may include videos, articles, activities, quizzes, or bespoke discussion activities which become common spaces where learners can share their insights, concerns, opinions, doubts, questions, and suggestions.

This affordance posed two main challenges, the first being in supporting massive participation from such a gigantic learning community, as there were individual steps that recorded over a thousand comments. To accommodate this challenge, a facilitation team was created, in turn giving rise to the second challenge, facilitator management. It turned out that procedural decision-making was required on an almost daily basis.

The scenarios we describe will range from specific content-based questions from learners to technical troubleshooting, code of conduct breakage, identification of activity peaks, assessment issues and facilitator hours allocation. It should be noted that, although our protocols were design to operate within the pedagogical structure of the FutureLearn platform, we understand that many of the scenarios described here can emerge in other platforms with different forum distributions (Brinton et al 2013).

Brinton, C. G. et al (2013). Learning about social learning in MOOCs: from statistical analysis to generative model. Cornell University Library Xiv:1312.2159.Accessed from http://arxiv.org/abs/1312.2159

Nelson S. (2014). Updated numbers from our platform. FutureLearn Blog. Accessed from https://about.futurelearn.com/blog/updated-numbers/
Leon Urrutia, Manuel
4c9d6ced-5e35-4f09-827b-c2e4c702df3c
Dickens, Kate
adfb4b5e-d331-40d4-9b34-2a17430bd3f0
Leon Urrutia, Manuel
4c9d6ced-5e35-4f09-827b-c2e4c702df3c
Dickens, Kate
adfb4b5e-d331-40d4-9b34-2a17430bd3f0

Leon Urrutia, Manuel and Dickens, Kate (2014) Preparing to ride giant waves: developing procedural decision-making processes to support massive online courses. Association of Learning Technologies Annual Conference 2014: Riding Giants, United Kingdom. 01 - 03 Sep 2014.

Record type: Conference or Workshop Item (Other)

Abstract

In 2013, we launched our first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) in a joint venture with Futurelearn. This was our first experience of riding the large waves of providing online support for a course with literally thousands of online learners. Afterwards we evaluated this provision and applied the lessons learned in the second iteration of the course in Spring 2014. As MOOCs continue to gain popularity and course registration numbers in the UK continue to increase we realised that we need to be gearing up to be able to ride giants.

Our session is important to the field of online learner support as we focus on ways of developing procedural decision-making processes to support effective online facilitation of a massive number of learners.

Our presentation is likely to be of interest to practitioners, researchers, academic content creators and project managers.

The presentation will be evenly distributed in two halves. During the first half, we will outline the main challenges we met, and the evaluation we made of them. In the second half, we will describe the protocols we developed, and will illustrate how we applied these protocols using specific scenarios.

The FutureLearn platform is currently unique with its one-step-one-discussion forum approach and our experience so far of delivering three MOOCs indicates that this encourages online participation (Nelson 2014). Steps may include videos, articles, activities, quizzes, or bespoke discussion activities which become common spaces where learners can share their insights, concerns, opinions, doubts, questions, and suggestions.

This affordance posed two main challenges, the first being in supporting massive participation from such a gigantic learning community, as there were individual steps that recorded over a thousand comments. To accommodate this challenge, a facilitation team was created, in turn giving rise to the second challenge, facilitator management. It turned out that procedural decision-making was required on an almost daily basis.

The scenarios we describe will range from specific content-based questions from learners to technical troubleshooting, code of conduct breakage, identification of activity peaks, assessment issues and facilitator hours allocation. It should be noted that, although our protocols were design to operate within the pedagogical structure of the FutureLearn platform, we understand that many of the scenarios described here can emerge in other platforms with different forum distributions (Brinton et al 2013).

Brinton, C. G. et al (2013). Learning about social learning in MOOCs: from statistical analysis to generative model. Cornell University Library Xiv:1312.2159.Accessed from http://arxiv.org/abs/1312.2159

Nelson S. (2014). Updated numbers from our platform. FutureLearn Blog. Accessed from https://about.futurelearn.com/blog/updated-numbers/

Full text not available from this repository.

More information

Published date: 2014
Venue - Dates: Association of Learning Technologies Annual Conference 2014: Riding Giants, United Kingdom, 2014-09-01 - 2014-09-03
Organisations: Web & Internet Science

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 377479
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/377479
PURE UUID: c8da9fb5-94e6-4576-a7c4-2f25ab165737

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 19 Jun 2015 11:16
Last modified: 26 Mar 2019 17:32

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