One of the fun things I've started working on recently is developing a MOOC-esque course at HiOA, as way of supporting students (and staff) with their academic writing and using English for academic purposes (EAP).
It started off as just a plan to create an institution-wide resource bank to help the shared and collaborative development of teaching resources (mostly because I wanted to make my life a little easier and stop people reinventing the wheel), but it quickly became a more ambitious project aimed at producing a structured course which will use video lectures, guided forum discussions and text analysis exercises as a guide through the writing process and the production of theses and research papers.
I'm still working on getting more financial support, but there's lot of interest from both staff and students in the course and I'm pleased to say that it's starting to gather momentum. I'm hoping to start creating and testing sample video lectures and materials over the summer, in preparation for testing them on a guinea pig group of masters students in the Autumn semester, and a collaboration with a colleague at the Noragric Writing Centre at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (Universitetet for miljø- og biovitenskap; UMB) is already in the pipeline.
I presented the project, which is very much still in the planning stage, at the NFEAP 2013 summer seminar, which I helped organise and host at HiOA last week.
I've lots of ideas for what we can do, but the success or failure of the project will depend on making something interesting, useful, and hopefully a little fun, too. I'm under no illusions that it's an ambitious project, and, given that I'm very much a novice when it comes to the pedagogy and the tech, I'm more than a little nervous about how things are going to go, but the nerves are definitely dwarfed by the excitement.
The use and impact of online tools and technologies, MOOCs and virtual learning environments on higher education is a hotly contested topic but there is no shying away from the fact that all aspects of our lives are becoming increasingly digitised, and 'blended learning', which uses traditional and technology-mediated teaching methods, is not the special consideration it used to be a few years ago but the reality of the modern classroom and lecture theatre.