MOOC research to be unveiled at UT Arlington

October 18th, 2013
The University of Texas at Arlington will host an international conference Dec. 5 and 6 where scholars focused on Massive Open Online Courses or MOOCs will bring their most up-to-date research and connect with policy makers and consumers.

The conference is funded by a $97,200 Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant to UT Arlington and will be titled "MOOCs and Emerging Educational Models: Policy, Practice and Learning." It is a collaborative event with the MOOC Research Initiative, a project at Canada's University of Athabasca that also was funded by the Gates Foundation. The MOOC Research Initiative recently awarded grants of $10,000 to $25,000 for the worldwide study of MOOCs as a learning tool.

"UT Arlington's national reputation and leadership in online education continues to expand in exciting and innovative ways and we are committed to fostering research-based approaches," said Samuel H. "Pete" Smith, vice provost for digital teaching and learning at the University. "With thousands of online students in Texas and around the globe, it is critical that our faculty and staff be engaged in these worldwide discussions and research efforts."

Over the past year, MOOCs have been making headlines – drawing kudos from the public for increasing accessibility to higher education coursework as well as some concerns from university administrators and faculty because of the lack outcome measurements involved. According to a recent Time.com story, Coursera, a MOOC startup launched by Stanford faculty, reported about 4.4 million students had signed up for courses over the year-and-a-half. The magazine added that edX, a MIT-Harvard MOOC collaboration, also reported more than a million students.

George Siemens, an organizer of the Research Initiative and associate director of the Athabasca's Technology Enhanced Knowledge Research Institute, has said the emergence of MOOCs in higher education "requires a concerted and urgent research agenda."

"The MOOC Research Initiative will fill this research gap by evaluating MOOCs and how they impact teaching, learning, and education in general," he said on the initiative website. Research topics of the Research Initiative include: MOOC Learner Motivation and Course Completion Rates; Mapping the Dynamics of Peer-to-Peer Interaction in MOOCs; Professional Learning through MOOCs; and numerous others. Grantees will present some of their findings at the December event.

Besides Siemens, other confirmed keynote speakers at the conference include:

  • Jim Groom, director of the Division of Teaching and Learning Technologies and adjunct professor at University of Mary Washington.
  • Candace Thille, assistant professor and senior research fellow at Stanford University and founder of the Open Learning Initiative at Carnegie Mellon University.
  • Jeff Selingo, editor at large for The Chronicle of Higher Education and author of the book "College (Un)bound: The Future of Higher Education and What it Means for Students."

More information:
www.moocresearch.com/

Provided by University of Texas at Arlington

This Phys.org Science News Wire page contains a press release issued by an organization mentioned above and is provided to you “as is” with little or no review from Phys.Org staff.

More news stories

Cyclist's helmet, Volvo car to communicate for safety

Volvo calls it "a wearable life-saving wearable cycling tech concept." The car maker is referring to a connected car and helmet prototype that enables two-way communication between Volvo drivers and cyclists ...

California puzzles over safety of driverless cars

California's Department of Motor Vehicles will miss a year-end deadline to adopt new rules for cars of the future because regulators first have to figure out how they'll know whether "driverless" vehicles ...

Rising anger as Nicaragua canal to break ground

As a conscripted soldier during the Contra War of the 1980s, Esteban Ruiz used to flee from battles because he didn't want to have to kill anyone. But now, as the 47-year-old farmer prepares to fight for ...

Sony saga blends foreign intrigue, star wattage

The hackers who hit Sony Pictures Entertainment days before Thanksgiving crippled the network, stole gigabytes of data and spilled into public view unreleased films and reams of private and sometimes embarrassing ...