October 8, 2013 – As the Digital Learning Transition (DLT) Massive Online Open Courses for Educators (MOOC-Ed) enters its fall session, planning is underway for the future of MOOC-Eds as research expands and interest grows.
The Friday Institute’s MOOC-Ed project was recently given a $20,000 gift from Google to further research on this innovative approach to professional development.
The gift will support research on understanding participants’ self-directed patterns of engagement with the MOOC-Ed resources, discussions and activities. The overall goal is to create a taxonomy of participants’ approaches to learning in a MOOC-Ed environment and to explore whether there are relationships between these patterns of engagement and characteristics of the participants. This research will inform the design of future MOOC-Eds, both at the Friday Institute and elsewhere, by furthering the understanding of different patterns of engagement that need to be supported within each course.
Additionally, Shaun Kellogg, a research associate at the Friday Institute who is working on his PhD in Curriculum and Instruction at North Carolina State University, was awarded a $25,000 grant from the MOOC Research Initiative (MRI) funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation.
Over the next six months, Kellogg, along with co-researchers Dr. Kevin Oliver and Dr. Sherry Booth, will examine the formation of social networks in MOOC-Eds, mechanisms governing their structure, and the impact of these networks on peer-supported learning. This grant will help to support his dissertation work on MOOC-Eds and extend his ongoing evaluation and research at the Friday Institute related to online professional development and online learning communities.
“It is my hope that this research will lead to a better understanding of the factors that promote peer interaction within open learning spaces such as MOOC-Eds, and that we can use this knowledge to better design spaces that facilitate discussion and sharing,” Kellogg said. “I personally believe MOOC-Eds present exciting new opportunities for connecting educators, and that peer interaction and collaboration will be critical to the success of professional development at this scale.”