About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 6572-6580
Publication year: 2018
ISBN: 978-84-09-02709-5
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2018.1565

Conference name: 10th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 2-4 July, 2018
Location: Palma, Spain

THE MICROMASTERS CONCEPT AS A MIXED BLESSING - FIRST EXPERIENCES FROM DEVELOPING A MOOC PROGRAM IN "EMERGING AUTOMOTIVE TECHNOLOGIES"

C. Stöhr

Chalmers University of Technology (SWEDEN)
Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) continue to be part of the educational landscape and many higher education institutions offer MOOCs on a regular basis. After a period of offering independent MOOCs, major MOOC platforms such as Coursera and edX started to encourage universities to bundle their MOOCs into programs. These MOOC series, often targeted at professional education and high demand skills, aim to offer more coherent learning experiences and outcomes. Recently, edX took another step and adopted MITs concept of a MicroMasters program, a series of courses on graduate level that upon successful completion both lead to an own-standing professional certificate and also offer a pathway to credit in a regular master program of the MOOC-hosting university. EdX attaches a number of mandatory conditions to the development of a MicroMasters program, including the endorsement of companies, virtually proctored exams and the recognition of the MicroMasters certificate as at least a fifth of a campus master program. These new conditions - aimed at making the programs more attractive and serving as quality guarantee - are likely to affect the way MOOCs are adopted, developed and experienced by learners, though little is known about how. This paper aims to provide some insights to this question by reporting on experiences of setting up a MicroMasters program "Emerging Automotive Technologies" developed by Chalmers University of Technology. The study thereby analyses different dimensions of MOOC development and performance and compares those with traditional MOOCs.

The analysis is based an adapted version of Grover et al.'s the design and evaluation framework and uses:
(1) experiential data from the course developers and teacher team as well as learner data from
(2) pre- and post- surveys,
(3) activity analytics and
(4) performance measures of the first MOOC in the program.

The results show that the additional conditions and stakeholders add new and sometimes conflicting objectives to the MOOC development process that cannot be easily aligned. For example, a major challenge is to bring the demands of course content that covers a quarter of a two years Masters in Europe in line with the scope of a traditional MOOC. Further, companies that are more in the spotlight in this format tend to take a greater interest and stake in the actual learning design and course aims attempting to adapt course content to their specific company needs. However, analysing the first MOOC of the program, the study shows there is little difference between the demographic backgrounds of learners compared to traditional MOOC. On the other hand, the rate of active participants and those who successfully finished the course was significantly higher. The paper concludes that the concept of the MicroMasters program is a mixed blessing with new layers of complexity in the MOOC development process.

Key challenges included among others:
(1) the alignment of learning aims for diverse target groups,
(2) the alignment of MOOCs with existing university policy and
(3) the organisation of the collaboration with several industry stakeholders.

If managed successfully - the MicroMasters concept can lead to higher quality of the MOOC as well as higher motivation and better learning experiences among the MOOC participants.
@InProceedings{STOHR2018MIC,
author = {St{\"{o}}hr, C.},
title = {THE MICROMASTERS CONCEPT AS A MIXED BLESSING - FIRST EXPERIENCES FROM DEVELOPING A MOOC PROGRAM IN "EMERGING AUTOMOTIVE TECHNOLOGIES"},
series = {10th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN18 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-09-02709-5},
issn = {2340-1117},
doi = {10.21125/edulearn.2018.1565},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/edulearn.2018.1565},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Palma, Spain},
month = {2-4 July, 2018},
year = {2018},
pages = {6572-6580}}
TY - CONF
AU - C. Stöhr
TI - THE MICROMASTERS CONCEPT AS A MIXED BLESSING - FIRST EXPERIENCES FROM DEVELOPING A MOOC PROGRAM IN "EMERGING AUTOMOTIVE TECHNOLOGIES"
SN - 978-84-09-02709-5/2340-1117
DO - 10.21125/edulearn.2018.1565
PY - 2018
Y1 - 2-4 July, 2018
CI - Palma, Spain
JO - 10th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN18 Proceedings
SP - 6572
EP - 6580
ER -
C. Stöhr (2018) THE MICROMASTERS CONCEPT AS A MIXED BLESSING - FIRST EXPERIENCES FROM DEVELOPING A MOOC PROGRAM IN "EMERGING AUTOMOTIVE TECHNOLOGIES", EDULEARN18 Proceedings, pp. 6572-6580.
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