2a) The University of Sheffield's first MOOCs. How did they go?

Luke Miller (ScHARR), Dan Smith (ScHARR), Chris Blackmore (ScHARR), Dr Katie Powell (ScHARR)

First Session (11:15 – 12:15) 
Inox Conference Suite 1
What is this about?
MOOC was the buzzword in HE throughout 2013 and many of us have now tried a ‘massive open online course’. The University’s first three MOOCs were launched by a team in the School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR). Each one was based on a topical ‘health’ theme: sustainable healthy diets, health inequalities and health technology assessment. Over 5,000 people registered for the MOOCs in total; 3276 participated in some or all of the sessions with a percentage of these completing all course sessions and tasks and in the process obtaining a certificate. Here, we present the team’s reflections. We aimed for a ‘connectivist’ emphasis, not a one-way broadcast model; did we achieve it? We hoped that MOOCs might attract PGT applicants: was this hope met? What did the MOOC participants tell us about their experience, themselves? At this session, we might even have an answer for the question ‘are MOOCs worth running?’

How will colleagues benefit?
Colleagues will benefit in at least two ways. First, participants will gain an in-depth view of the life cycle of a MOOC, from the initial germ of an idea through to making it work and evaluating it afterwards. The presentation will include some explicit reflections on the pedagogical debates about MOOC learning styles - network-based? content-based? task-based? - and their pros and cons. Second, participants will have an opportunity to see this ScHARR-specific example in the context of wider HE and TUOS developments. The University is now signed up to deliver MOOCs with the FutureLearn consortium. In that context, this session will shed light on the costs (opportunity and financial), problems, benefits and implications of running MOOCs. There will be time to discuss these themes, and to explore how MOOCs compare with other directions and experiences in on-line learning.

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