Need-to-Know News: A MOOC Contest, the Week of Open, and California’s Bold Move

In this ‘Need-to-Know’ blog post series my goal is to share noteworthy stories with readers that speak of need-to-know developments within higher education and K-12 that have the potential to influence, challenge and/or transform the traditional model of education.

MP900405500There are three hot topics creating much buzz this week in education around the world including 1) a MOOC contest with a stipend of €25,000 that is open to scholars from around the world that seeks to find the ten most creative and innovative MOOCs, 2) Open Education Week with new courses for learners and webinars for scholars offered around the clock, and 3) California’s bold announcement that’s rocking higher education institutions in California, and perhaps other public higher education institutions across the United States.

1) Calling all Instructors and Professors: A MOOC Contest
There is a contest for building a better MOOC—or at least building one that is sustainable and innovative. The contest is offered by the MOOC Production Fellowship sponsored by the open learning platform iversity and Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft. iversity is a learning management platform created by group of scholars based in Berlin.

The essence of the contest—the organization is looking for creative, yet sustainable courses to be offered in the open format, which means there are no barriers to entry, on the platform iversity, beginning in Fall 2013. My guess is that this contest is in part, an effort to promote iversity, which from what I gather is designed to be everything that traditional platforms aren’t. You can find out more about the contest by visiting the website, and I’ve highlighted the key points below:

  • A €25,000 fellowship will be awarded to 10 groups/teams with the most innovative MOOCs. The selection committee [jury] is a panel of nine that appears to be mostly scholars, though the web page states that there will be consideration of a public voting phase. I would like to have seen one or more students on the voting committee—a mix of individuals without advanced degrees that would be representative of potential MOOC participants.
  • Applications must be in German or English, though courses can be in any language.
  • Fellowship funds can be used for production costs, research and/or student assistants, equipment or a teaching buyout.

Further Reading:

5093053155_515aedf1e82)  Week of Open: March 11 – 15
I realize that Open Education Week is almost over, though there are many resources worthy of review, including the newly launched School of Open which resides on the P2PU platform.  There are also several webinars that cover various topics of related to open, offered on Friday, March 15—check out the schedule link below.

Further Reading:

  • Schedule of Events,  All events are in GMT time, check the time on the top right hand corner of the web page for a link to the time converter.
  • Open Education Week Website
  • The launch of School of Open, on P2PU which features numerous courses on  topics that all deal with openness and sharing on the Web, including Introduction to Open Science, which I was involved in developing with Creative Commons.
  • Resources for learning about and accessing Open content.
  • Check out the Twitter stream, #openeducationwk

3) California on the Move Again
The newswires are hot this week with an announcement made on Wednesday of proposed legislation that will affect three systems in California that provide public higher education which would mandate that public schools give credit for faculty-approved online courses taken by students that can’t register for the needed courses in the face-to-face classes on campus. This is big news, it leaves the door open for many possibilities, and though a step in the right direction, there will be challenges. Thoughts and highlights:

1) Online courses [a list of approximately 50 introductory courses] from a variety of providers may be accepted, not just MOOC providers, but courses offered through online providers such as StraighterLine, and independent colleges that offer online general education courses, of which there are hundreds. The latter format differs significantly from a MOOC—these are closed, online classes which use different pedagogical methods [I touched upon this topic in this post]. Below is a selection of text from the Bill:

(b) For purposes of this article, the following terms have the following meanings:(1) “Online courses of study” means any of the following: (A) Online teaching, learning, and research resources, including, but not necessarily limited to, books, course materials, video materials, interactive lessons, tests, or software, the copyrights of which have expired, or have been released with an intellectual property license that permits their free use or repurposing by others without the permission of the original authors or creators of the learning materials or resources. [Bill SB 520]

2) There is the possibility that other states will follow, or at least there may be pressure for many to do so.
3) The wording, faculty-approved, is significant, as it could create a laborious and lengthy process in itself to approve courses.

We want to be the first state in the nation to make this promise: No college student in California will be denied the right to move through their education because they couldn’t get a seat in the course they needed,” said Darrell Steinberg, the president pro tem of the Senate, who will introduce the bill. “That’s the motivation for this.” (Lewin, 2013)

Further Reading:

Closing
Never a dull moment in the world of higher education. Stay tuned for more developments on Twitter @OnlinelineI

Photo Credits: Newspaper Airplane, iStock, and Open Access, PGRsOnline, Flickr

2 thoughts on “Need-to-Know News: A MOOC Contest, the Week of Open, and California’s Bold Move

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