Did you know that the University of Kentucky has several Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) up and running?
- Drs. Kim Woodrum and Allison Soult (College of Arts & Sciences) on Coursera: Chemistry (runs for 10 weeks in the spring) and Advanced Chemistry (enrollment on demand)
- Dr. Kathy Swan (College of Education) in partnership with the Smithsonian on edX: Teaching Historical Inquiry with Objects (six weeks in the fall)
- Drs. Phil Kraemer and Jonathan Golding (UGE Academy for Undergraduate Excellence and College of Arts & Sciences) on Coursera: How to Succeed in College (five weeks at various times of the year)
In addition, Dr. Gerry Swan (College of Education) offers the Digital Driver’s License (DDL) project as a “distributed MOOC” from a platform he created here at the University of Kentucky. This platform has over 120,000 users from around the world.
The DDL is collaboratively designed and offers sets of self-paced modules in the format of “cases” that anyone can use to learn crucial concepts on digital citizenship as identified by Mike Ribble and Gerald Bailey in their book Digital citizenship in schools (2007) – see the nine themes of digital citizenship here. There are five cases that represent the nine elements and a sixth case serves as a capstone, summative assessment for the participant to show their understanding: “Prove It!” Each of the cases contain text, images, video and assessments. The practice assessments have several types of questions such as true/false, multiple choices and open response – and offers feedback. The “Prove It!” assessment must be completed with a score of 80% or higher to be successful. This assessment can be pre-built with correct answers or graded by individuals who review a capstone project presented by the learner.
Participants in the DDL connect their accounts to a school, and the registered personnel at the district or school can observe their progress and test results. If a participant moves to a new school, s/he updates the connection information and the new group of personnel can now see the results.
The DDL content is both freely accessible and open — the content is presented with a Creative Commons license (Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported) that shows it is in the public domain for anyone to re-use and adapt. Of the 300+ school districts current registered in the DDL, over two dozen teachers, chief information officers and school leaders have developed or submitted material to be included in the cases.
Recently MIT and Harvard researchers who examined the HarvardX and MITx enrollments for the last two years found that not only do residential students take them but also a significant number of teachers enroll for personal professional development. This is true also of the UK courses, for example, Dr. Kathy Swann reports that her course on edX had over 500 teachers last year, and they anticipate even more as they expand the ability to enroll more participants. As Timothy Vollmer wrote in his blog post “Keeping MOOCs Open” for us to imagine how to impact our larger communities through MOOCs, we need to think about “open” in both enrollment and licensing. This seems to be the direction that UK faculty are going as they work on developing new MOOCs.