Part I: Instructor Responses

As noted in the Research Methods located in Section I, four instructors responded to the invitation to complete the email questionnaire, which included seven open-ended questions on the MoM course and three questions on the M4D course, of which several instructors had also served in a design role. A summary of the resonses and reviewer comments are presented below.

1. What was/were your role(s) in design, development, or delivery?

Instructor 1: Design, development and delivery. Included: selection, creation and sequencing of content; selection and evaluation of mooKIT platform; prompting discussion and responding to participant queries.
Instructor 2 & 3: Design, development and maintenance of mooKIT; delivery of course lectures; grading of video assignments, responding to participant queries.
Instructor 4: Conceptualization, design, development and delivery of the course

Evaluator Comments

There is little variation in the roles of the instructors who belonged to the development team. Each instructor indicated having a role in the design, development and delivery of the course. Since a division of labour was not evident among instructors each instructor had to know, more or less, some information about all course content. An absence of specialist roles meant that instructors had to invest time in learning new content. This may have diverted time away from instructors focusing on their particular specialization.

2. What were your own goals/expectations for the MoM course relative to your investment of time and your own professional learning? Were these achieved? Why or why not?

 Instructor 1: Creation of reusable content; harvesting new ideas from students; developing own skills in operating a MOOC (goals met)
Instructor 2: The feasibiity of the platform to accommodate the number of students (goal met – no major technical disruptions)
Instructor 3: Develop a no frills, intuitive online platform (goal met)
Instructor 4: Share knowledge about MOOCs; deepen teaching experience in MOOCs; test mooKIT (goals met)

 Evaluator Comments

Although the instructors’ roles overlapped, their goals for the course were diverse. Comments from Instructor 1 were pedagogically oriented, whereas comments from Instructors 2 and 3 were more technologically oriented. Comments from Instructor 4 were more holistic focusing on multiple aspects of the course including enhancing learning, teaching and understanding technology.

3. How well do you think the course met learners’ learning expectations?

 Intructor 1: Based on content and volume of messages on forums, learners’ expectations were met reasonably well; attributable to instructional design and mooKIT platform.
Instructor 2: Level of participation and assignment quality suggests that the course met learners’ needs.
Instructor 3: Content of participants’ feedback suggests that expectations were met satisfactorily.
Instructor 4: Formal and chat room content indicated learner satisfaction. Assessment was not important to the course.

Evaluator Comments

The volume of postive feedback retreived from video lecture postings and chat rooms were major indicators of participant satisfaction as interpreted by the instructors. Instructor 4 made a pointed comment noting, “assessment was not important to the course.” This will re-surface in the following section on learner feedback as a point of contrast between instructors and participants.

4. What were your perceptions of the mooKIT platform? Did it adequately support course delivery, course materials, course assessment, and student/instructor interaction?

Intructor 1:  mooKIT adequately supported the course requirements. Valuable suggestions were also compiled from instructors and learners.
Instructor 2: mooKIT was adequate for the course.
Instructor 3: Features were developed in unision with the delivery of the course. In this sense, the platform’s performance improved over time. It supported and encouraged interaction between the participants and instructors.
Instructor 4: We were very happy with mooKIT, evidenced in its scalability to support many users despite the small size of the platform.

Evaluator Comments

Instructors indicated satisfaction with the platform although “it is difficult to be unbiased,” admitted one instructor. It should also be noted that the instructors made significant changes during the course. First, the instructors, at the request of participants, decided that an assessment activity should be implemented, which was the video assignment described in the previous section. The other significant change, linked to the video assignment, was to extend the course by one week. Again, participant input requested that more time was necessary to cover all content while also having sufficient time to complete and post the video assignments. These changes are unique and reflect a willingness of the instructors to support the “open” concept of the course, achieved through the aforementioned changes to accommodate participants’ learning.

5. Do you think the time spent (i.e., in general, including the team, not just yourself) on designing and running the MoM is cost-effective? Why or why not?

Intructor 1: The time spent was cost-effective. We deployed mooKIT on a cloud platform and content creation was distributed. Instructors and guest speakers recorded lectures independently. The model to develop and run this MOOC met this objective.
Instructor 2: No answer.
Instructor 3: The time spent to design and run the MOOC was cost effective. Active learner participation, satisfactory performance, and critical thinking made the learning process mutually beneficial for instructors and learners. With more advertising the amount of learning (and number of learners) could have been significantly higher.
Instructor 4: It is difficult to ascertain cost-effectiveness. We worked within the parameters of the budget.

Evaluator Comments

Answers varied depending on an instructor’s intepretation of the question. Instructor 1 and Instructor 2 interpreted cost-effectiveness relative to dollars and cents. Using external resources such as a cloud provider and the voluntary contributions of guest speakers enabled costs to run the course as affordable. Instructor 3, on the other hand, interpreted cost-effectiveness relative to the richness of the learning environment. Although this was positive and therefore cost-effective, Instructor 3 also acknowledged that greater advertising could have augmented enrolment. Such an outcome, however, may have required greater time on the part of instructors, adding pressures to the cost-effectivenss to run the course.

6. Are there desirable attributes that students should possess to be successful in a course like MoM?

Intructor 1: Foremost is a genuine interest in learning. Second is comfort with using the Internet and computers in general.
Instructor 2: Familiarity with online technologies and active interaction between students.
Instructor 3: A desire to learn is most desirable including active participation and critical thinking. Further motivation behind taking an online course should not be certification, despite this common drive among students. Such motivation hinders the learning process somewhat.
Instructor 4: The most desirable attribute is motivation. If the learner can stay on the course for two weeks and participate in a question/comment or two, they will last the full course.

Evaluator Comments

Instructors’ comments centred on technological ability and a desire to learn as important attributes to be successful in the MoM course. Instructor 3 lamented the importance of certification held by many participants, a position that the Instructor believed may diminish the learning experience. Instructor 4 noted that there was a two-week threshold for students to become hooked; an outcome that the instructor believed can be derived from active participation. Yet activities to engage in critical thinking or participant interaction were not intentionally embedded in the instructional design of the course. The didactic nature of the course and absence of pertinent assessment of the course content limited opportunities to engage in critical thinking. Further, participation in chat sessions or other interactive discussions were not part of any assessment activity presenting little extrinsic motivation to post comments, reflections, etc.

7. If the course were to be offered again, what suggestions would you make for improvements to the MoM relative to design and/or delivery? Are there suggestions that would apply to designing and/or delivering a MOOC in general?

 Intructor 1: A mobile app may enable more active learner-learner and learner-instructor engagement.
Instructor 2: To include more assignments as the one that was utilized in the current offerring. In general, content drives enrolment. If it is organized and delivered well, participation will increase. Further, the platform needs to be simple and intuitive to use. This will facilitate easy access to content.
Instructor 3: Devise strategies to enable coherent discussion with learners and instructors (this was lacking in MoM). Consider utilizing discussion as an assessment activity. Active participation should be a feature of any MOOC as it helps develop critical thinking skills.
Instructor 4: Assign the assignment at the beginning of the course and include more assessment. Learners seem to want this, to my bewilderment.

Evaluator Comments

Although there was some variation in instructors’ suggestions for the MoM course, there was a common theme of assessment that was driven by participants’ requests for such activities. Further, better co-ordination in participants’ interaction, namely chat sessions, was also worth improving if and when the MoM course would be offered again.

Since several of the instructors were involved in the design or delivery of the Mobiles for Development (M4D) MOOC, three other questions were included in the instructor questionnaire as a means to compare experiences from the two MOOC projects. The questions are listed as follows:

8. If you were involved with the M4D MOOC, how would you compare/contrast your role(s) from each MOOC?
9. How would you compare/contrast instructional design from M4D to MoM? Were changes based on pedagogical approaches, content, or other? Explain.
10. What lessons learned from M4D were applied to MoM? Please consider design, development and delivery.

Evaluator Comments

Responses were limited as only two of the four instructors had previously been involved with the M4D course. They differentiated the MoM course as being more focused on content and application as compared to the M4D course which was more technically oriented.


Share This Book