CHALLENGES IN BUILDING MOOCS: THE UQX EXPERIENCE

D. Macdonald, L. MacDonald, C. Finn, A. Morris, M. Petersen, A. Dekker, M. Schulz

The University of Queensland (AUSTRALIA)
The creation of MOOCs is an intense process, with many challenges not found in the development of traditional university courses. At The University of Queensland, an experienced team of learning designers, videographers, an animator, software developers and a project manager in collaboration with academics who provided knowledge domain specialisation have been responsible for the production of nine diverse MOOCs over the past two years. These MOOCs have been produced for delivery on the edX platform with a total enrolment of 272,000 to date. This paper discusses the framework used for the development and delivery of a UQx MOOC, and how this is then mapped onto the edX platform.

Videos play an integral part of the process, but can be a bottleneck when large numbers of videos need to be produced by a production team consisting of three people. To address this, a self-service video studio was developed and additional recording and editing spaces created for presenters to speed the production process. Details of the studio design are presented along with the challenges experienced by the media team.

Additionally, the current version of the edX platform has a limited but growing set of interactive tools used for assessment and interaction. These tools were enhanced by judicious modifications of the user interface through the insertion of specialised Javascript by the software development team, thus bypassing the need to modify the edX platform code. Also a Dashboard has been developed by the software team to report on the gross statistics of each of the courses, extracting the relevant data from the gigabytes of analytic data delivered from edX each week. This data is then used to drive decisions made by the UQx team and the academics responsible for course content. Select tools and reports are shared within this paper.

Examples and reflections on each step in the course development process are presented as well as the different approaches taken by course teams in the presentation of the content and the assessment. Additional data about the student experience in these courses and how that experience is being used to transform on-campus learning through the development of Small Private Onlines Courses (SPOCs) for flipped and blended classroom use and other online components is addressed.