Learning trekking easier and cheaper with Moocs method.

Difficulties of the trekking. Honestly and without grimaces.

It is necessary to cany a heavy backpack. The shoulders are gradually getting used to the load, but the weight is always pressing, especially when you are walking uphill. And it takes 6 … 8 hours a day. And tomorrow too…

Dirty, sometimes knee-deep, trails. Lying across the trail are trees. Stones and roots on the path and strive to turn your legs. Wandering cold rivers should be in shoes. The nights are cool and shivering, but there is nobody to warm it up. You can use best Police flashlight to get more light during the trekking.

Branches cling and tear clothes and body. The rains and the wind are ready to freeze you. The sun – are fry alive. And so it can be in turn for an hour.

To women: unwashed head, dirty clothes, no romance, no “comforts”, scratched hands and feet, men are mating, mosquitoes bite, and «no personal life”. And just hard! Loving nature happens in fragments, it is more necessary to look under the feet, so as not to roll your neck. And the leader-sadist again ran forward. Your head does not take into account your “logical reasoning”. Believe me, he knows better.

Positive sides. Well, not all is so “bad»…

It is so beautiful around only in the mountains. There, nature is untouched by civilization. Active outdoor movement is very useful. After the hike, it will be something new and interesting to tell friends, and then all the stories -about gossip and about “booze.”

There may be new Friends who have passed with you windbreaks, fords and passes. You understand that without a telephone and a TV7 you can live very much. You will learn a lot about yourself new. And good and not very … Something can be proud of! The physical form (in those who had it) is greatly improved.

I hope that these simple notes and tips can make your life easier during the hike.

And, accordingly, you will have more time to enjoy the wildlife. Unfortunately, the English – not my mother tongue. I maintain my notes in Spanish and Portuguese. Some notes may appear overly formalized, but that does not deprive them of their valuables.

A few simple rules in the hike

  • The leader of the hike is always right.
  • No one forced anyone to go on a campaign and even dissuaded.
  • Each participant carries his own backpack or goes home.
  • If the muscles hurt – it means they are, but it was possible to train better.
  • Collect firewood for the campfire all the participants of the hike, and not just the attendants. You can prepare some  best bipod for AR 15 to defense thief and beast.
  • Crying songs around the fire in the middle of the night is possible, but only in a whisper.
  • On the path, remember who goes behind you, because someone is also ahead.
  • Nature has no bad weather, and there is bad equipment.
  • There is no tasteless food, but there are unhappy tourists. You will also be on duty.
  • The thing left by the fire, has a habit of burning in it.
  • Attempts to cross the river on stones with dry boots result in a fall into the river.
  • A good stash is not superfluous, but a Hero of the day does.
  • Together, nobody is frozen in one sleeping bag.
  • Sometimes, it’s better to bypass than climb over, and it’s better to step over than to turn up.
  • The morning is wiser than the evening. It is better to sleep through a difficult decision.
  • If you forgot to take something, then you do not need it, but there can be problems.
  • In the campaign all are equal; there are no ages and posts.
  • For everything that happens to you, in the answer only you yourself.
  • The size of the problem depends on the size of the desire to solve it.
  • Most terrible beast is a Chipmunk.
  • The more isolated the terrain, the safer, cleaner and more beautiful.
  • Do not offend Nature – it may not calculate the strength and size of the surrender.
  • Parking after the group should remain clean, with a stock of firewood and without any forgotten things.
  • I would very much like you to follow these rules in any campaign.
  • Still no one was hurt by doing them.
  • And jww we will get acquainted with several practical recommendations for preparing for the campaign.
  • These are useful notes.
  • For example, I always try to follow them.
  • And till now I had everything in order.

Thank you for reading my short article about how to trek and useful tips that you have never forget to get a better trip with your family and friends. Cheers!

Update for you:

Interesting tips for backpacking

  • To begin with, buy digital scales of small size or digital bezmen. It is perfectly suitable scales with a load capacity7 of up to 10 kg. Now you can safely take your exact instrument to the store and weigh what you buy. Do not be afraid to scare sellers. And let them do not frighten you anymore, now everything is under control!
  • The most reliable and affordable way to lose weight is to reduce your own weight. A few pounds to lose are not difficult, and the ease and endurance
    that you will get is irreplaceable!
  • Think carefully about the list of equipment, much you can just leave at home!
  • Try to avoid fees at the last minute; this is the best way to avoid unnecessary and unnecessary things, for example, to sort out with clothes.
  • If you are planning to go camping with a companion, think over the general equipment, such as awning and dishes.
  • Develop your serving skills; be more creative, most of the expensive equipment can be made with your own hands.


General Chair

Saman Amarasinghe, MIT

Program Chair

Candace Thille, Stanford

Co-Program Chair

Ross Strader, Stanford

Publicity Chair

Kalyan Veeramachaneni, MIT

Finance Chair

Una-May OReilly, MIT

Steering Committee

Anant Agarwal, EdX, MIT
Armando Fox, UC Berkeley
Jeff Haywood, Edinburgh
Daphne Koller, Coursera, Stanford
Daniela Rus, MIT
Sebestian Thrun, Udacity, Stanford
Barbara Chow, Hewlett Foundation

Program Committee

George Siemens, University of Texas at Arlington
Rob Miller, MIT
Doug Fisher, Vanderbilt University
Derek Bruff, Vanderbilt University
Amy Bennett, University of Pennsylvania
Phil Long, University of Queensland
Deepak Phatak, IIT Bombay
John Mitchell, Stanford University
Justin Reich, Harvard University
Ryan Baker, Teachers college, Columbia University
Rebecca Petersen, edX
Norman Bier, Carnegie Mellon University
Neil Heffernan, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Marcia Linn, UC Berkeley
Zach Pardos, UC Berkeley
Kurt VanLehn, Arizona State University
Matt Easterday NorthWestern University
Barbara Means, SRI
Marie Cini, University of Maryland, University College
Allison Dulin, Davidson College
Pierre Dillenbourg, EPFL
Dan Grossman, University of Washington
Chris Brooks, University of Michigan
Maria Janelli, American Museum of Natural History
Carin Nuernberg, Berklee
Cassandra Horii, Caltech
Isaac Chuang, MIT/MITx
Dick Clark, University of Southern California
Lynne OBrien, Duke University
Tanja de Bie, Universiteit Leiden
Yvonne Belanger, Gates Foundation
Peter Norvig, Google
Bror Saxberg, Kaplan


I see that the application deadline has passed. Can I still participate in the Learning with MOOCs workshop?
No. We have had an overwhelming interest in this workshop, but unfortunately have limited space and are not able to accept any more applicants.

What is the format of the workshop?
The workshop will consist of the following types of sessions:

  • Keynote Speakers: Themes are Teaching Learning, Research, Openness, Technology, and the International Perspective.
  • Panel Presentations: Short presentations by a few individuals followed by 30 minutes of facilitated discussion
  • Individual Presentations: A 15-20 minute presentation followed by 40 minutes of facilitated discussion
  • Lightning Rounds: Ten 3-minute presentations grouped with by theme followed by a 30-minute facilitated discussion about the presentations.

There will also be plenty of time for ad-hoc discussion so that participants may connect with others working in the same area and share thoughts, ideas, and experiences.

I received an invitation to attend the Learning with MOOCs workshop. Does that mean that I am presenting?
No. The one-page descriptions of work were used for two purposes:

  1. As an application to attend the workshop. If you were selected to attend the workshop, you received an email on May 19 (subject: 2014 Learning with MOOCs Workshop).
  2. To invite presentations for the workshop. If you were invited to present at the workshop, you received an invitation by email on June 19 describing your presentation format (subject: Invitation to Present 2014 Learning with MOOCs Workshop).

I was invited to attend, but do not have sufficient travel funds. Is there any financial support available?
Yes. If you are unable to attend the workshop due to severe financial constraints, we have a very limited amount of scholarship funds (available to participants whether or not you were invited to present). More information is available on the registration page (link included in your invitation email).

Candace Thille

Candace Thille is a senior research fellow in the Office of the Vice Provost for Online Learning and an assistant professor in the Graduate School of Education at Stanford University. She is the founding director of the Open Learning Initiative at Carnegie Mellon University and at Stanford University. The focus of her work is in applying the results from research in the science of learning to the design and evaluation of open web-based learning environments.

Dr. Thille serves as a redesign scholar for the National Center for Academic Transformation; as a fellow of the International Society for Design and Development in Education; on the Assessment 2020 Task Force of the American Board of Internal Medicine; on the advisory committee for the Association of American Universities STEM initiative; on the advisory committee for the NSF Directorate for Education and Human Resources; and on the board of directors of the Association of American Colleges and Universities. She served on the U.S. Department of Education working group, co-authoring the National Education Technology Plan, and on the working group of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology that produced the Engage to Excel report.


Tuesday August 12, 2014

8:00 AM  9:00 AM Registration and Continental Breakfast
9:00 AM  –  9:30 AM Room 123 Opening Session
Welcome Anant Agarwal, edX
Overview of Learning with MOOCs Workshop Candace Thille, Open Learning Initiative, Stanford University (watch online)
9:30 AM  10:30 AM Room 123 Keynote The Learning Perspective
Susan Singer, National Science Foundation
(watch online) 
10:30 AM  11:00 AM Break
11:00 AM  12:00 PM Room 141 Design Track: Design and Development of Project and Case Based MOOCs in educational technology and games Eric Klopfer and Ilana Schoenfeld (15 minute talk followed by 45 minute facilitated discussion) (watch online)
Room 124 Teaching Track: A successful learning experience using SPOCs Carlos Delgado Kloos, Pedro. J. Muñoz-Merino, Jose Ruiperez Valiente, Maria Auger, Susana Briz, Vanessa de Castro, Silvia Santalla (15 minute talk followed by 45 minute facilitated discussion) (watch online)
Room 123 Research Track: Learning Exists in MOOCS, What Resources Correlate with It? Kimberly Colvin, Colin Fredericks, Alwina Liu Liu, Daniel Seaton, Raluca Teodorescu, Zhongzhou Chen, John Champaign, David Pritchard (15 minute talk followed by 45 minute facilitated discussion)(watch online)
Room 144 Technology Track: The Shikkhok Project: Building an Ultra-low cost Crowdsourced MOOC for Non-English Speaking Students in South Asia Ragib Hasan (15 minute talk followed by 45 minute facilitated discussion) (watch online)
12:00 PM  1:00 PM Lunch
1:00 PM  2:00 PM Room 123 Keynote OER and the State of the MOOC
Cathy Casserly, Hewlett Foundation
(watch online)
2:00 PM  2:30 PM Break
2:30 PM  3:30 PM Room 124 Design Track: Pre-Algebra MOOC for College Readiness Sasha Thackaberry (15 minute talk followed by 45 minute facilitated discussion) (watch online)
Room 144 Teaching Track: Using a MOOC to Flip My Freshman Biology Course Brian White (15 minute talk followed by 45 minute facilitated discussion) (watch online)
Room 141 Research Track: Researching for better online instructional methods using AB testing Zhongzhou Chen, Christopher Chudzicki, Demirci Neset, Peter Bohacek, David Pritchard (15 minute talk followed by 45 minute facilitated discussion) (watch online)
Room 123 Research Track: Lightning Round Session 1 (Short presentations followed by 30 minute facilitated discussion). Facilitated by Rebecca Petersen. (watch online)

  • Exploring Social Factors that Impact Persistence in MOOCs Carolyn Rose, Diyi Yang, and Miaomiao Wen
  • Big data in MOOCs Laura Perna, Alan Ruby, Robert Boruch, Nicole Wang, Chad Evans, Seher Ahmad, and Janie Scull
  • Evaluating the Flipped Classroom in An Undergraduate History Course Yiran Zhao and Andrew Ho
  • Peer Grading Design with Cloud Teaching Assistant System Tim Vogelsang and Lara Ruppertz
  • Diagnosing Dropouts in MOOCs Sherif Halawa and John Mitchell
  • An Investigation on Optimal Text Length for MOOCs Tiffany Wong and Meghan Morrissey
  • The Promise of Social Learning and Annotation in MOOCs Emily Schneider and Rene Kizilcec
  • A MOOC Data Infrastructure for Research and Feedback John Zornig and Andrew Dekker
3:30 PM  4:00 PM Break
4:00 PM  5:00 PM Room 124 Design Track: An Approach to Skill Mapping in Online Courses Sean Lip, Dawn Zimmaro, Ross Strader, Norman Bier, Candace Thille (15 minute talk followed by 45 minute facilitated discussion) (watch online)
Room 141 Research Track: Panel Discussion: Understanding Our Learners and Meeting Them Where They Are Maria Janelli, Jennifer Deboer (Two 10 minute talks followed by 40 minute facilitated discussion) (watch online)
Room 144 Technology Track: Open Edx Annotation tools: breaking the unidirectionality of online course content Philip Desenne, Leah Reis-Dennis (15 minute talk followed by 45 minute facilitated discussion) (watch online)
Room 123 Teaching Track: Lightning Round Session 2 (Short presentations followed by 30 minute facilitated discussion). Facilitated by Marie Cini. (watch online)

  • MOOCs and the Humanities: Past, Present, Future Zachary Davis
  • Course Drift in Blended, Large Enrollment, Multiple Section Courses David Majerich and Aldo Ferri
  • Learning History through a MOOC Bernard Cooperman
  • Can MOOCs support new pedagogical experimentation in on-campus teaching and learning? Allison Dulin, Kristen Eshleman, Erland Stevens, and Rebecca Peterson
  • MOOCs on campus: exploring models for student engagement Cassandra Horii
  • The sMOOC Experience: Strategies That Promote Academic Success for Community College Students Harold Riggs, Linda Grisham, and Lynn Hunter
  • Teacher enrollment and engagement in MITx open online courses Daniel Seaton and Jon Daries
5:00 PM  6:00 PM Break and Transportation to JFK Museum
6:00 PM  7:00 PM JFK Museum Reception and Quick Hits Posters (watch online)
7:00 PM  8:00 PM JFK Museum Keynote Panel: How MOOC Platforms Enable Learning
Panelists include Anant Agarwal (edX), Vivek Goel (Coursera), Melissa Loble (Canvas), and Mark Lester (FutureLearn). Moderator: Diana Oblinger (EDUCAUSE)
(watch online)
8:00 PM  9:30 PM JFK Museum Buffet-style Dinner

Wednesday August 13, 2014

8:00 AM  9:00 AM Registration and Continental Breakfast
9:00 AM  –  10:00 AM Room 123 Keynote The Research Perspective
Richard Clark, University of Southern California
(watch online)
10:00 AM  10:30 AM Break
10:30 AM  11:30 AM Room 124 Design Track: MOOCs as Collaborative Tools to Support Teacher Learning Sara Rutherford-Quach, Hsiaolin Hsieh (15 minute talk followed by 45 minute facilitated discussion) (watch online) 
Room 141 Teaching Track: Blending MOOC resources for traditional credit-granting institutions Damian Bebell, Rebecca Petersen (15 minute talk followed by 45 minute facilitated discussion) (watch online)
Room 144 Research Track: Using OLI Learning Environments to Support MOOCs Norman Bier (15 minute talk followed by 45 minute facilitated discussion) (watch online)
Room 123 Technology Track: Lightning Round Session 3 (Short presentations followed by 30 minute facilitated discussion). Facilitated by Sanjoy Mahajan. (watch online)

  • Linking MOOC Contents Using Human Language Technologies Shang-Wen Li and Victor Zue
  • How can we design peer interactions to harness the scale and diversity in an online class? Chinmay Kulkarni, Michael Bernstein, and Scott Klemmer
  • Towards Lab-based MOOCs: Cyber-Physical Systems, Robotics, and Beyond Garvit Juniwal, Alexandre Donze, Jeff C. Jensen, and Sanjit A. Seshia
  • Crossing the Streams: Combining a MOOC with Personalized Learning Technology Andrew Smith Lewis and Jeff Hellmer
  • Teaching with MathWorks Tools John Kotwicki
  • A platform to bridge the global skills gap by increasing access to online education technologies Jake Hirsch-Allen and Jonathan Glencross
  • Leveraging edX Technology for assessments in Indian Institutions Shibani Singh
11:30 AM  12:30 PM Lunch
12:30 PM  1:30 PM Room 141 Teaching Track: Author or Instructor: Teaching a MOOC Ani Adhikari (15 minute talk followed by 45 minute facilitated discussion) (watch online)
Room 124 Technology Track: Tools to Enable the Design and Reuse of MOOC Materials Brandon Muramatsu, Jeffrey Merriman, Cole Shaw (15 minute talk followed by 45 minute facilitated discussion) (watch online)
Room 144 Research Track: Four Types of MOOC Research: From Fishing in the Exhaust to Design Research in the Core Justin Reich (15 minute talk followed by 45 minute facilitated discussion) (watch online) 
Room 123 Design Track: Lightning Round Session 4 (Short presentations followed by 30 minute facilitated discussion). Facilitated by John Zornig. (watch online)

  • The Power of Community: MOOC > Digital Textbook Ronen Plesser
  • Makers Open Online Courses Enhance Learning and Sustainability Jacky Hood
  • Formative MOOC Development Junjie Liu
  • Enabling MOOC Collaborations Through Modularity Geoffrey Challen and Margo Seltzer
  • Student collaboration, engagement, persistence and social presence at scale Anne Trumbore
  • Experimenting with OpenEdX, Alumni & Undergraduate interaction, and the Advent of the Atomic Bomb Kevin Lynch
1:30 PM  2:00 PM Break
2:00 PM  3:00 PM Room 124 Design Track: MOOCs and the Older Learner Susan Hoffman, Chelsea Crown (15 minute talk followed by 45 minute facilitated discussion) (watch online)
Room 141 Teaching Track: The Impact of MOOC Blended Instruction to Teach Programming Velma Latson (15 minute talk followed by 45 minute facilitated discussion) (watch online)
Room 123 Research Track: Panel Discussion: Learner Engagement and Motivation in MOOCs Yuan Elle Wang, Hal Daume III, Jason Mock (Three 10 minute talks followed by 30 minute facilitated discussion) (watch online)
Room 144 Technology Track: Achieving Learning Objectives Online: Not All Platforms are Equal! Nick Feamster (15 minute talk followed by 45 minute facilitated discussion) (watch online)
3:00 PM  3:30 PM Break
3:30 PM  4:30 PM Room 123 Town Hall Meeting
Final coming together as a group to discuss lessons, concerns, and vision for the future
(watch online)

Richard Clark

Richard Clark is CEO of Atlantic Training Inc., Professor Emeritus of Educational Psychology and Technology in the Rossier School of Education, Clinical Research Professor of Surgery in the Keck School of Medicine and Co-Director of the Center for Cognitive Technology at the University of Southern California. Before coming to USC he was a faculty member in Psychology and Education at Stanford and Syracuse Universities. He also served as Chief Science Advisor for Expert Knowledge Solutions LLC.

Dick is the author of over 300 published articles and book chapters as well as three recent books Learning from Media: Arguments, analysis and evidence, Second Edition (2012, Information Age Publishers); Handling Complexity in Learning Environments: Research and Theory (2006, Elsevier) and Turning Research into Results: A guide to selecting the right performance solutions (2008, Information Age Publishers) which received the International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI) Award of Excellence. In recent years he has received the 2013 USC Faculty Lifetime Achievement Award, the Thomas F. Gilbert distinguished professional achievement award and a Presidential Citation for Intellectual Leadership from ISPI, the SITE Foundation Excellence in Research Award, the ASTD research study of the year award for his work on performance incentives, the 2010 Thalheimer Neon Elephant Award for bridging the gap between science and practice, the 2011 Presidential Award for Intellectual Leadership from AECT, the Socrates award for excellence in teaching from the graduate students at USC and the Outstanding Civilian Service Award from the U. S. Army for his work in distance learning.

Dick is an elected Fellow of the American Psychological Association (Division 15, Educational Psychology), the American Educational Research Association and the Association of Applied Psychology and is a Founding Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science.

His current research interests include the design and evaluation of online and blended instruction for adults on highly complex tasks, cognitive load theory for multimedia and simulation training, the development of the Guided Experiential Learning design systems for pedagogical applications and the use of Cognitive Task Analysis to capture and teach the complex knowledge used by advanced experts in all fields.

Tools to Enable the Design and Reuse of MOOC Materials

Brandon Muramatsu, Jeffrey Merriman, Cole Shaw

The rush to develop MOOCs has led faculty and course development teams to move quickly to produce the course’s materials. In many cases the only instantiation of the course is in a specific MOOC platform. If we examine the contents of each MOOC we tend to find discrete elements that have a potential to be used elsewhere. However, as faculty and course development teams move from the first offering to subsequent offerings, and as faculty move to use MOOCs more broadly in their residential teaching, they are faced with the question of how, exactly, will they be able to reuse course materials if they are integrally tied to the offering? Will it be the whole MOOC? What affordances do the platforms and development processes have for using individual elements might be video snippets, or text content or formative assessments elsewhere?

The MIT Office of Digital Learning, in collaboration with our faculty, have been developing a set of tools to help manage the granularity of learning activities available on MOOC platforms, such as edX. These tools focus on learning outcomes/learning objectives/individual concepts and their relationships with content and assessments; they help create a growing assessment bank, along with the ability to use assessments outside of a single platform; and they enable pre-production of new courses. These tools focus on the individual components that comprise a course—and begin to move the conversation from the course as the end state to one in which individual, instructionally sound learning activities are the focus.

In particular we would like the opportunity to share our work on:
• The MIT Core Concept Catalog (MC3, http://mc3.mit.edu/): The core concept catalog
anchors much of the work—it provides an infrastructure allowing faculty and instructional designers describe the “core concepts” in a course. These “core concepts” are ideally clearly defined learning outcomes that are clearly measurable. Faculty can use tools we’re developing to describe their courses in terms of these concept banks, and we can present novel navigation structures based on these concept banks within courses and learning experiences.
• Applications of MC3 such as the Video Concept Browser (VCB, http://vcb.mit.edu/ requires a login). VCB was originally designed to allow faculty to design a concept map, associate portions of traditional lecture videos with those concepts, and enable students to watch the video by concept instead of by lecture date. More recently, we’ve been using VCB to create the concept maps and as a pre-production tool when moving from a traditional course to a MOOC.
• Embedded Assessment and Assessment banks: One of the most intriguing aspects of MOOCs is the potential for nearly limitless practice and formative assessment. As MOOCs continue to develop, this collection of assessment items continues to grow in size and potential but they are oftentimes locked into the course and platform in which they are offered. We are building tools to extract assessment items from MOOC course materials1 manage them, as well as reuse them in any web-accessible content.

Four Types of MOOC Research: From Fishing in the Exhaust to Design Research in the Core

Justin Reich

Much has been heralded about the research possibilities inherent in the massive clickstream databases produced by MOOC platforms. If these databases, however, fail to capture important data about students’ learning experiences, then having vast quantities of data will not compensate for having the wrong data. Even in the era of big data, good research depends on good design.

To draw attention to these design considerations, in this presentation I will present a taxonomy of four kinds of MOOC research:
• fishing in the exhaust: post-hoc analyses of courses designed and taught without any particular research agenda, yielding descriptive, observational insights
• experiments in the periphery: A/B type experiments of particular pedagogical approaches that test domain-independent teaching strategies (e.g. commitment devices, priming experiments, or motivational messages) that can be conducted
• observations in the field: qualitative research from interviews and observations that seeks to investigate the contexts in which MOOC students learn and the ways in which they make meaning of their experiences
• design research in the core: design research conducted in partnership with course faculty, instructional designers, and learning scientists to investigate pedagogical questions that attend to core issues in the design of a learning environment (e.g. the effect of using block-based programming languages in introductory computer science courses).

The past year of MOOC research has been characterized by “fishing in the exhaust,” and while some useful initial descriptions of user behavior have emerged from these approaches, there are strict limits to what we can learn from observational research (even observational research with lots of data). The coming year of MOOC research will see more fishing, but also a growth of experiments in the periphery. These kinds of experiments are typically dreamed up by educational researchers and not by course faculty, and as a result they explore issues that are potentially interesting but not central to the learning goals of any particular course. These studies are easy to facilitate in the complex ecosystem of MOOC production, but they may not investigate the most important domains of large-scale online learning.

In order for MOOC research to reach its full potential, the field needs stronger lines of research in both qualitative research and in design research in the pedagogical core of our courses.

Powerful design processes in education begin with empathizing with the learner, and at present we have trillions of cells of data about what people have clicked and we know very little about what has changed in their heads. While the best qualitative research will be conducted by trained specialists, a wide variety of roles in the MOOC production ecosystem—producers, developers, instructional designers, teaching assistants, and researchers—can and should contribute to this important work.

With a better sense of the needs of our learners, the most important and impactful research that will be done with MOOCs will be design research in the core. This difficult work will require close collaboration among teams of diverse researchers and practitioners, but it will investigate questions that pertain directly to the central pedagogical theory in a course or discipline.

Participants will leave the session with both a richer understanding of the importance of research design, and ideas about how to create MOOC production workflows and ecosystems that support ambitious, collaborative research.

MOOCs and the Older Learner

Susan Hoffman, Chelsea Crown

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute @ Berkeley (OLLI @Berkeley) is a year-round program of courses, lectures, special events, and interest circles for adults age 55+ through the University of California, Berkeley. Since September of 2013, our research team has been investigating Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) as a teaching and learning tool in lifelong learning. We have launched two small, informal case studies of MOOCs and the older learner. Our first investigation was specific to the experience of learners over the age of 80, the “high olds,” who enrolled in the Coursera MOOC “What a Plant Knows” and participated in three consecutive monthly meetings discussing their experiences. In January 2014, we expanded our investigation by holding a hybrid MOOC-classroom course, another Coursera course called The History and Future of (Mostly) Higher Education, open to all OLLI @Berkeley members 55+. Participants engaged in the MOOC in their own time and at their own pace during the week and attended 1.5 hour weekly classroom discussions to discuss the experience as well as content.

The MOOC learning experience of older learners is a crucial missing piece of the MOOC puzzle, an oversight in this era of profound demographic change. Concentrating on accessibility for older learners is important for many reasons, as this group may experience multiple barriers to MOOCs including challenges using technology, auditory and visual decline, and cognitive decline. However, this group may reap the most benefits from MOOCs, and thus deserve to be included in discussions. Given that the over 80 demographic is the fastest growing demographic in the country, as well as the most at-risk for social isolation, cognitive decline, and hearing and vision loss, the MOOC-as-intervention is an especially interesting concept to explore in further research. Potential benefits of MOOCs and the older learner may include advantages for homebound older adults who are able to remain intellectually stimulated and socially engaged as well as the neurocognitive advantages of continuing to learn stimulating new skills and knowledge, such as navigating technology and the multitude of subject areas MOOCs offer.

For the above reasons, at OLLI @Berkeley, we have highlighted MOOCs and the older learner as an important focus of our research team and believe that other researchers nationwide should also be aware of the importance of this age-specified investigation. The main takeaway from our research is to stress the importance and notion of universal access. The changes that could be made in MOOCs to make them more universally user-friendly and inclusive are changes that will go beyond age to benefit diverse students worldwide, including other groups that experience similar barriers, such as those with disabilities; English-language learners; and those with limited knowledge or experience of technology due to access issues, to name a few. Testing the platforms and presentations on a wide range of ages and abilities should be an important component of every MOOC development process. By making MOOCs more inclusive and accessible, everyone benefits. The revolutionary effects promised by MOOCs ring hollow if the target population remains limited to mostly traditional-aged able-bodied university students.

Our investigations have yielded several important and concrete findings that could be incorporated into various MOOC platforms with the intention of increased accessibility and user-friendliness. The first need is around better demonstrations and as-you-go assistance of how to navigate a MOOC. The need for an easily searchable and simply navigated demonstration of how to use a MOOC on any given platform has proven most important in group of learners over the age of 80, as they generally experience the least comfort with technology. The demos we explored together often came up short, were difficult to find, and did not serve the special needs of our population. It may make sense to modify platforms to include large, bold buttons indicating where students can access help and receive assistance in navigating various components of MOOCs as they go along, perhaps even offer a virtual MOOC assistant in the spirit of the old Microsoft Word office assistant paperclip icon that offered suggestions and assistance within documents. Simply put, adaptations for differing levels of technology mastery as well as disabilities need to be more overt in MOOCS. For a recent Coursera MOOC, one of our over 80 members with hearing loss expressed extreme frustration that she needed to press the closed caption (CC) button each and every lecture in order to be able to follow along via captions. Among our ideas is the institution of a short quiz during the sign-up stage that results in a tailored experience for the learner. By simply asking a few short questions about level of comfort and experience with technology, hearing or vision difficulties, English-proficiency level, and other barriers to engaging in a MOOC, an algorithm could automatically adjust the user’s personal experience and interface in response to these identified barriers. Another finding from our research is that the presentations of many MOOCs are not age-friendly, such as the instructor using their own scribbled writing on a board to highlight key points, not keeping slides on screen for an adequate period of time, or having otherwise hard-to-read slides or distractions on screen. The frustrations caused by these challenges dominated our research discussions with our older learners. Instituting elements of universal and inclusive design in the way that information is presented are easy adjustments that can become part of the “formula” for MOOCs, such as making sure that writing is clear and large for any accompanying slides, with ideal colors and contrast for aging eyes. Many studies have shown the various ways to make websites and print materials more age-friendly; it is just a matter of incorporating those same ideas into MOOCs. We make constant adjustments in our classrooms at OLLI @Berkeley based on cutting-edge aging research and student feedback and evaluations. It only makes sense for MOOCs to have the same level of responsiveness to the different needs of the older learner.

Even though our research subjects were highly-motivated and self-selected groups with professed interest in taking a MOOC, the barriers outlined in this abstract often led to experiences of frustration and resulted in individuals dropping-out of the course before completion, despite encouragement and support to keep going from peers and our faculty. By focusing on removing barriers, MOOCs can help reduce drop-out rates; as it stands now some estimates are that only 6% of enrollees actually finish a course. Adjusting MOOCs using ideas of universal and inclusive design is a change that will not only serve to better engage older learners, but should have ripple effects across the age and diversity spectrum of MOOC participants.

The Impact of MOOC Blended Instruction to Teach Programming

Velma Latson

Web 2.0 software applications are influencing the change from formal, traditional learning environments that are instructor-directed to more student-centered /open- learning environments where learns have more control. In student-centered/open-learning environments, the focus is on the learner and their ability to use thinking skills to solve problems. Teachers are no longer the authority in the classroom, but co-learners and guides while learners are making their own discoveries (Brown, 2000) about what is important in the learning experience. Learners are encouraged to use prior background knowledge of content to collaborate with experts and peers and new Web 2.0 software applications are making this more open.

MOOCs are web 2.0 teaching applications that are connecting people throughout the world into one classroom environment. MOOCs help learners collaborate, explore and create artifacts that will help them acquire the critical thinking skills to expand their learning. These new theories for instruction using computer technology and social software applications are changing the way people interact in society and gain knowledge in educational environments. New computer software applications are socially constructed for the user’s ability to collaborate and exchange ideas with others.

The University System of Maryland (USM) and Ithaka S+R (2013), initiated a research study on how effective different online learning platforms would be on student outcomes and could these different platforms reduce costs for students enrolled in traditional institutions. The purpose of this presentation is to describe the impact of using the MOOC in a blended instructional environment to teach programming to undergraduate, non-STEM major students. The presentation will describe the lessons learned from implementing MOOC blending instructional environments in a side by side comparison of approximately 100 student participants in the experimental group learning to program from the MOOC and approximately 100 students in the control group learning to program in a traditional classroom setting.

Brown, J.S. (2000). Growing up digital: how the web changes work, education, and the ways people learn. [Electronic version] Change Mar/April.
Ithaka S+R. (2013). Interim Report: A Collaborative Effort to Test MOOCs and Other Online Learning Platforms on Campuses of the University System of Maryland.