Much of what Dr. Ahn had to say might seem obvious, such as that what new students want is clear instructions and clear sense of what the course is about. Once familiar with the course what is important is interaction with other students.
Dr. Ahn asked how an open course could retain learners without the sort of rules about enrolment and completion of a conventional institution. I think it is necessary to have the student develop a sense of investment in an on-line course. A student in a conventional course has paid a fee, passed an entry test and has an expectation of some form of reward, in terms of public recognition, or a better job, on completion. I suggest reproducing some of this with "open" courses would increase completion rates. It would be useful to have some form of self-assessment test at the beginning of an open course so students can see if it suitable for them. Some form of progressive assessment (be it called "badges") would help students continue once they have started a course (as it does with conventional on-line and face-to-face courses). Also formal recognition of the courses would provide an incentive for completion.
This of course assumes that the object of the exercise with MOOCs is to reproduce conventional educational experience. There is an alternative approach where open education would allow a student to explore a topic for their own interest, not to learn what someone else had predetermined or for recognition. This would be more like postgraduate research degrees, where the student is given some guidance but it is up to them what they "learn". However, the completion rate for such a form of education is likely to be much lower than for current MOOCs (where about one in ten complete), perhaps as low as one in ten thousand.
Here is the text of Dr. Ahn's slides:
Open Education: New Developments, Needs, and Opportunities for ResearchJune Ahn
University of Maryland,
College of Information Studies
College of Education
Agenda• Introduce Myself
• Open Education: Why Now?
• The Case of Peer 2 Peer University
• Fruitful Directions
CASCI: Center for the Advanced Study of Communities and InformationOCEL Group
Open Communities for Education and Learning
What’s the Same?• It’s still online learning
• Limited by our own imagination
Put another way...
Conditions are Changing
Peer to Peer Universityp2pu.org
What is P2PU?
Our Project with P2PU• Data Sharing + Data Science
• Learning Groups in the Mechanical
• How do Open Learning Communities
How should organizers design courses?Ahn, J., Weng, C., & Butler, B. S. (2013). The dynamics of open, peer-to-peer learning: What factors influence participation in the P2P University? Proceedings of the 46th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System
• Seven teacher professional
• ~2-3 organizers
• 20-30 participants
• 20-40 followers
• 600-1000 unidentified visitors
• 7 courses x 13 weeks
(n = 91)
How should organizers design courses?Ahn, J., Weng, C., & Butler, B. S. (2013). The dynamics of open, peer-to-peer learning: What factors influence participation in the P2P University? Proceedings of the 46th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences
• Organizer Activity -> Important for Returning
• Clear prompts -> Important for New Members
What does P2PU Look Like?Ahn, J., Butler, B. S., Alam, A., & Webster, S. A. (2013). Learner participation and engagement in open online courses: Insights from the Peer 2 Peer University. MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 9(2), 160-171.
Over 2,000 Projects Started368 (~18%) went “live”What does P2PU Look Like?
Ahn, J., Butler, B. S., Alam, A., & Webster, S. A. (2013). Learner participation and engagement in open online courses: Insights from the Peer 2 Peer University.
MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 9(2), 160-171.
Over 41,000 Registered Learners6,483 (~16%) returned at least once
Current Work• Ecological Perspective
– How to create supply of open learning
– How to support the organizers?
– How to design for engagement?
Recreating Education Systems?
Or New Design Patterns?
Back to the Learner
- OER is Not Enough
- Who is the learner?
- Where do they come from?
- What do they bring to an experience?
- How do they engage? Collaborate?
- What do they gain?
- How do pathways develop?
- Who are we neglecting?
Thank YouJune Ahn
From: "Open Education: New Developments,Needs, and Opportunities for Research", June Ahn, from University of Maryland, for CIDER, Jan 08, 2014 11:00 AM Mountain Time (Canada)
Other CIDER talks which caught my attention were: 2010 State of the Nation: K-12 Online Learning in Canada and The Chinese Top Level Courses: Improving the quality of online courses in a new educational climate.