Talpiot College of Education (ISRAEL)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN19 Proceedings
Publication year: 2019
Pages: 1270-1275
ISBN: 978-84-09-12031-4
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2019.0392
Conference name: 11th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 1-3 July, 2019
Location: Palma, Spain
As more academic institutions are developing MOOC courses, there is a need to make the courses more interactive and to reflect and incorporate 21st century learning skills. This presentation summarizes the dilemmas and deliberations in building a unique MOOC course offering a different model that emphasizes teaching and learning adapted to the 21st century, and is transmitted in a virtual environment. Seven teacher colleges joined to develop a MOOC course in multiculturalism. The course was developed and adapted in three languages – Hebrew, Arabic and English. The new model integrates cutting-edge pedagogy and technology and is based upon collaborative experiential learning with simulations and role plays.

Online instruction alongside conventional learning is becoming the norm in higher education. Many internet-based courses, as well as complete and partial online courses, are offered in the colleges. Some of these courses are MOOCS . Recent studies emphasize the potential and the drawbacks of MOOC courses in an educational context. The advantages include the opening of courses on various topics, available everywhere and to anyone at no cost. The limitations of MOOCs are a high dropout rate and a low number of students completing the course, and among participants. In addition there is a lack of participant involvement and personal connections. There are however, a number of formats and types of MOOCs in the literature that provide a better solution where involvement and active participation were identified as components of success (Klemke, Eradze, & Antonaci, 2018).
Learning in a virtual environment allows students to meet via avatars in a place simulating another location. In such a place it is possible to write and speak with one another. Every participant chooses an avatar that serves as his/her image in the virtual world. Current technology allows non-active players (NPC), pre-programmed robots who "converse" with the participants, this enables broader uses of simulations in the world.

Multiculturalism is an issue that needs to be dealt with in the teaching colleges to prepare future teachers to not only teach this subject to their future pupils but to also develop the skills to deal with multicultural issues in the classroom. Generally, courses on the subject of multiculturalism in the teaching colleges teach students about the topic and the 'other' without any personal contact of meeting the other. Although the use of movie clips helps to strengthen empathy to others through listening to the other's narrative (Shapira, Kupermintz, & Kali, 2016), this empathy is often short-lived.

In this unique course, most of the assignments take place in the virtual world. This is the first attempt to assimilate MOOC with virtual worlds. It is a challenging and different course, allowing for another kind of learning experience: Students work in small groups building knowledge together while carrying out various simulated missions.
Online instruction, MOOC, Massive Open Online Course, virtual worlds, avatar, multiculturalism.