S. Martin, E. Sancristobal, F. Garcia-Loro, M. Alonso, G. Diaz, M. Castro

Spanish University for Distance Education (UNED) (SPAIN)
The MOOC concept started in 2008, when George Siemens [1] and Stephen Downes created what we may call the first MOOC: “Connectivism and Connective Knowledge”. In autumn of 2011 more than one hundred and fifty thousand persons joined a course offered by Stanford University.

MOOCs have proven to be an effective tool in some aspects of on-line open education. However, they still have problems such as high dropout rates, low student motivation and low interest in the provided certification by the labour market.

UNED started with MOOCs very early, in 2012, pioneering the spanish-speaking market with the unX experience. The extended experience in MOOC production as well as the high number of students that have followed them has been awarded in several occasions. Moreover, the experience in the field of Engineering Education [3], has given the institution a valuable know-how that we can provide in this development.

The present paper describes the experience of the IEEC department of UNED around MOOCs to try to solve some the common problems such as high dropout rates, low student motivation and low interest in the provided certification from the labour market.

Thus, the paper introduces several initiatives developed from 2012 to 2016 to try to solve these problems. Among these initiatives there are MOOCs devoted to provide VET qualifications on cloud computing and Internet of Things programming; MOOCs to improve practical skills acquisition through the use of remote labs; and the use of best app contest and communities to increase student motivation.

Authors have learned useful conclusions from these experiences. The first one is that students need to provide both theory and practice resources to provide a balanced learning experience. Secondly, authors have discovered that contests are a useful tool to increase motivation but requires extra work load. Finally, authors consider communities as an important element in the MOOC ecosystem, but they can not used in all platform. It strictly depends on the MOOC platform chosen.

[1] Siemens, G., and S. Downes (2008): Connectivism & connective knowledge, University of Manitoba.
[2] Assante D., Castro M., Hamburg I., Martin S.: “The Use of Cloud Computing in SMEs”, Procedia Computer Science n° 83, pp. 1207 – 1212, 2016.
[3] Alonso-Ramos M., Martin S., Albert M.J., Moriñigo B., Rodriguez M., Castro M., Assante D.: “Computer Science MOOCs: a Methodology for the Recording of Videos”, 2016 IEEE Global Engineering Education Conference (EDUCON), pp. 1115-1121, 2016.