Open UToronto

Open UToronto MOOC Initiative

Open UToronto MOOC Initiative: Report on Fourth Year of Activity 

August 2016
Laurie Harrison and Will Heikoop

[ Download the pdf version of this report

This report on MOOC activity at the University of Toronto for the past academic year is organized into three sections, each of which focuses on an important dimension of our work in this domain:

In each of these areas, in partnership with both Coursera and EdX, we have advanced our understanding of the potential of scalable online learning. Our institutional strategy remains focused on addressing the following goals:

•  Contribute to education community and broader public by sharing curriculum
•  Explore a range of pedagogical approaches and open course platforms
•  Leverage use of MOOC materials through integration into UofT degree program courses
•  Showcase the University of Toronto’s capacity as a leading institution for teaching, learning and research

Under the broader Open UToronto umbrella, we have continued to leverage partnerships with both Coursera and EdX, responding to the interests and needs of our community and the evolving MOOC landscape. 


Community Initiatives

MOOCapalooza Event

In fall 2015, many members of our community gathered for “MOOCapalooza: Purposes and Potential of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).” This event offered an opportunity to learn how MOOCs can act as ‘sandboxes’ for pedagogical innovation, provide new research insights on teaching and learning, and serve as effective outreach tools. Five very diverse MOOC projects were describe by instructor’s and their teams:

Moocapalooza Image· Jim Slotta and Stian Haklev – EdX MOOC – INQ101x – Teaching with Technology and Inquiry   
· Hedieh Najafi, Carol Rolheiser and Laurie Harrison – Research: University of Toronto Instructors’ Experiences with Developing MOOCs
· Steve Joordens – Coursera MOOC: Introduction to Psychology; Alumni Outreach
· Jim Wallace – Research: Teaching and Advance Engineering MOOC: Lessons Learned
· Wendy Newman, Research: Case study of LA101x: Library Advocacy Unshushed

As an acknowledgement to the interest we received from the event we interviewed each of our presenters to follow up on some of the main themes and take-aways from their work in the MOOC sphere.     [ Watch Interview Video Clips ]

Alumni MOOC

In collaboration with Alumni Relations, a special “Alumni MOOC” session was offered by Professor Steve Joordens in the fall of 2015. The Introduction to Psychology MOOC on the Coursera platform attracted 27,908 registrants in total, with 1814 or 6.5% of the total number signing up for the Alumni cohort experience. Feedback from participants indicated that our Alumni ranked themselves as having a high level of “intellectual connection with UofT” and over 90% indicated an interest in participating in future MOOCs. Notably, a high proportion of the participants in this pilot were female.

Alumni MOOC ImageWe are planning a second Alumni MOOC offering in fall 2016, as BE101x: Behavioural Economics in Action will be offered on the EdX platform.

Outreach and Impact

The MOOC platform continues to provide a powerful opportunity for extending our reach to diverse learners beyond our campus borders. Demographic data collected through our partner platforms and research projects indicates learners have a range of educational backgrounds and differing motivations for participating in our courses.

A total of 27 MOOCs are currently complete, active or pending. Our cumulative data on MOOC registrants, active participants, and completions are found in Appendix 1. To date there have been over 1.6 million registrations, 800,000 users accessing archived MOOC courses and over 400,000 participants active in live courses.

MOOC Access Numbers

These learners are participating from locations around the world, notably with high levels of interest in Brazil and India.

Country Access Graph

Demographic surveys indicate that many of the participants already have achieved a Bachelors or Masters degree. Other survey data collected shows that many are motivated by professional learning needs, opportunities for career advancement, and life-long learning experiences.

Educational Background

As noted later in this report, our current research initiatives include exploration of the relationship between the self-reported intentions of the learners and their achievement in the MOOC courses.


New Approaches/Pedagogy

INQ101x

MOOC Research

Last year, a team from OISE offered Teaching with Technology and Inquiry (INQ101x), an EdX MOOC designed for in-service teachers interested in learning how to integrate technology and inquiry into their own practice. The course was co-led by Professor Jim Slotta and Rosemary Evans, principal the University of Toronto School, and included a rich showcase of interviews and examples, as well as knowledge building activities to support authentic learning.

INQ101x applied Knowledge Community and Inquiry model (KCI; e.g., Slotta, & Najafi, 2013) in the MOOC context with more than 8000 registered participants. Participants created and applied a collection of annotated resources for teaching with technology and inquiry, and a subset of participants opted to collaboratively design a lesson plan, working in small groups and receiving feedback from the wider community. Two live events in the last week of the course allowed learners to discuss their questions with the course instructors and with master teachers who had contributed to INQ101x. During the course, 120 active design groups were formed. More than one thousand annotated resources were submitted to the resource collection.

This MOOC provided a rich source of data for research undertaken over the past year, and was the basis for publications, conference presentations and a graduate thesis.

On-Demand

iOS imageOver the past year, two MOOC series have been offered in a self-paced format on a new Coursera “on-demand” platform. iOS Application Development is a four part certificate program that was funded through an advance from Coursera, and developed by a team of experts lead by Prof. Parham Arabi from the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering. As well, Bioinformatics I and II comprise a two-part series developed by Prof. Nick Provart from Cell Systems Biology also delivered in this mode.

Effective June 30, 2016, the on-demand model became the only supported platform for all Cousera MOOCS being offered. The Open UToronto team has been working with instructors who wish to migrate to the new model and several more of our MOOCS will become available on the new platform in fall 2016. The on-demand format supports rolling intake by cohort decreasing the pressure on the instruction team and improving the sustainability of the courses.

Specialization Series

Market research undertaken by our MOOC partners shows that many learners are interested in the possibility of following through a sequence of linked MOOC courses to achieve a credential. This has been demonstrated in the initial response to the iOS application development specialization and the Bioinformatics series described above. For example, the iOS certificate program is comprised of 3 courses plus a capstone project.

Specialization Image

Notably, the new iOS application specialization attracted over 100,000 visitors to the introductory description and had over 22,000 active learners who have completed some portion of the course. Bioinformatics I also had over 100,000 visitors and over 35,000 active learners.

A third series on the topic of Faculty Development for Health Professions Teachers is being developed by a team from Medical Sciences, led by Dr. Marcus Law and Dr. Karen Leslie. Three of six short courses have already been developed and launched on the EdX platform, which offers a self-paced option on its main platform.


Research

Current Projects

The Open UToronto team supported a number of research studies over the past year, contributing significantly to the growing body of literature in this domain. We have bulit upon our previous work in the area of instructor experiences and design intentions, now moving into the area of learner motivation, intention and achievement in the on-demand format. We are among a few early leaders evaluating the student experience in self-paced MOOCs. In an interview following our MOOCapalooza event, Dr. Carol Rolheiser, Director of the Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation, shared some thoughts on the influence of our work in this area.

Carol Rolheiser

[ Watch Interview with Carol Rolheiser: How MOOC data influences
new research and pedagogical opportunities
]

Our current study, under the leadership of Carol Rolheiser as Principle Investigator, looks at the significance of self-efficacy, task value and intention, in relation to achievement and help-seeking behaviours.

AERA Poster

Excerpt from AERA Poster 2015

This study is currently in the data collection phase, with findings to be share in the coming academic year.

Conference Presentations

In addition to a number of local presentations, members of the UToronto Team, including Stian Haklev and Hedieh Najafi have presented at a number of key conferences where MOOC research has been profiled, including:

· 2016 Coursera Conference – Netherlands

· Annual Conference of Educational Research – Washington DC

· Learning With MOOCs 2 – Columbia University, New York

· International Conference of the Learning Sciences – Singapore

· DANCE: Discussion Affordances for Natural Collaborative Exchange Talk Series – Carnegie Melon University

Recent Publications

Najafi, H., Rolheiser, C., Harrison, L., & Håklev, S. (2015). University of Toronto instructors’ experiences with developing MOOCs.The International Review Of Research In Open And Distributed Learning, 16(3). Retrieved from http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/2073

Harris, J., Heikoop, W., Van Beek, A., & Wallace, J. (2015) Teaching and Advanced Engineering MOOC: Lessons Learned.Proceedings of the Canadian Engineering Education Association (CEEA 2015). Retrieved from http://library.queensu.ca/ojs/index.php/PCEEA/article/view/5840

Works in progress

Najafi, H., Rolheiser, C., Harrison, L., & Håklev, S. (In press). Variations in the pedagogical design of Massive Open Online Courses across disciplines.

Najafi, H., Rolheiser, C., Harrison, L., & Håklev, S. (In preparation). Learner motivation, intention, and achievement in on-demand courses.

Najafi, H., Slotta, J., Haklev, S. (In preparation). Fostering reflective practice in a teacher professional development MOOC.

For a full listing of publications, poster and conference presentations see Open UToronto MOOC Research and Evaluation.

Review our MOOC report on third year of activity


Appendix 1 – Cumulative MOOC Data to July 2016

SESSION-BASED MOOC Activity Summary Data – July 06, 2016

Activity and Completion Stats

Total MOOC Registrants

Active Participants*

Completed for certificate

Registrants completing certificate

Active registrants completing certificate

Complete

         

Learn to Program: The Fundamentals

80,000

75450

8240

10%

11%

Neural Networks for Machine Learning

49550

15903

1398

3%

9%

The Social Context of Mental Health and Illness

23491

8193

1423

6%

17%

Aboriginal Worldviews and Education*

20966

8860

3381

16%

38%

Learn to Program: Crafting Quality Code

53974

17224

3352

6%

19%

Statistics: Making Sense of Data

48687

19757

2825

6%

14%

Introduction to Psychology

77608

41708

3691

5%

9%

Behavioural Economics in Action

43042

20019

1154

3%

6%

Our Energetic Earth

10857

4732

458

4%

10%

Bioinformatic Methods I

21072

13396

1540

7%

11%

Library Advocacy Un-shushed

5,197

1519

363

7%

24%

Bioinformatic Methods II

9,529

4058

1036

11%

26%

Wind, Waves and Tides: Alternative Energy Systems

11,795

2648

617

5%

23%

Death 101: Shaping the Future of Global Health

3,915

880

179

5%

20%

Teaching with Technology and Inquiry

9,163

1207

297

3%

12%

Second Offering

         

Learn to Program: The Fundamentals

66510

56397

7839

12%

14%

The Social Context of Mental Health and Illness

18364

9460

1005

5%

11%

Behavioural Economics in Action

5334

642

408

8%

64%

Library Advocacy Unshushed

3,033

781

232

8%

30%

Death 101: Shaping the Future of Global Health

1,538

252

na

na

na

Third Offering

         

Behavioural Economics in Action

9,770

2178

340

3%

16%

In Progress/Planning

         

Getting Started with Web Mapping and GIS

         

Web Map Design and Analysis

         

A Solid Course: Understanding Solids for Everyone

         

The City and You

         

The Art and Science of Relationships: Understanding Human Needs

         
           

Sub-Totals Session Based

573,395

305,264

39,778

7%

13%

Browsing Archives (aggregate)

817,671

       

Total Session Based

1,391,066

       

*watched at least one video or took a quiz

Appendix 2 – Cumulative MOOC Data on all Archive Usage to June 2016

Data on participation in MOOCs available in archive mode up to point of sunset on June 30, 2016 is as follows.

ARCHIVED COURSES – Coursera summary data for archived courses

       

Title

Registration at end of Session

Total Registration to Date

Archive Users

Learn to Program: The Fundamentals*

80,000

198381

118381

Neural Networks for Machine Learning

49550

180803

131253

The Social Context of Mental Health and Illness

23491

34060

10569

Aboriginal Worldviews and Education**

20966

37527

16561

Learn to Program: Crafting Quality Code

53974

130001

76027

Statistics: Making Sense of Data

48687

163487

114800

Introduction to Psychology

77608

173008

95400

Wind, Waves and Tides

11795

19959

8164

Bioinformatic Methods I

21072

32951

11879

Bioinformatic Methods II

9529

14293

4764

       

Behavioural Economics in Action

43042

50349

7307

Our Energetic Earth

10857

16194

5337

Library Advocacy Unshushed

5197

6068

871

Death 101

3915

4769

854

Teaching with Technology and Inquiry

9163

12577

3414

Second Offering

     

Learn to Program: The Fundamentals

66510

227054

160544

The Social Context of Mental Health and Illness

18364

33534

15170

Introduction to Psychology

26268

34448

8180

Behavioural Economics in Action

5334

26595

21261

Library Advocacy Unshushed

3033

4226

1193

Death 101x

1538

2111

573

Third Offering

     

Behavioural Economics in Action

9770

14939

5169

       

Archive Users

599,663

1417334

817671

Appendix 3 – Cumulative Self-Paced MOOC Data to June 30 2016

 

Both Coursera and EdX data on self-paced course activity are provided.

Self-Paced/On-Demand – Summary data on offerings commencing January 2015

 

Total Visitors

Total Active Learners

Completed Course

Pursuing Verified Certificate

On Demand – Coursera

       

Bioinformatic Methods I (Live: January 11, 2015)

105,395

35524

1134

514

Bioinformatic Methods II (Live: February 23, 2015)

37,297

7,807

308

102

iOS App Specialization (Suggested series of 4 courses – can be taken individually)

       

Introduction to SWIFT programming (Live: September 14, 2015)

56,081

22,512

1742

2005

iOS App Development Basics (Live: November 03, 2015)

33,714

9,603

913

1055

App Design and Development for iOS (Live: February 02, 2016)

17,090

3,357

368

893

Build Your Own iOS App (Live: April 11, 2016)

3,480

148

52

745

Self-Paced – edX

       

Health Professional Teaching Skills 1 – Foundational (Live: February 16, 2016)

2,379

595

338

54

Health Professional Teaching Skills 2 – Strategies (Live: April 04, 2016)

1,116

156

125

29

Health Professional Teaching Skills 3 – Professionalism (Live: June 20, 2016)

518

88

20

9

Behavioural Economcis in Action (Live: April 04, 2016)

16,315

5,328

232

225

Total

273,385

85118

5232

5631

         

TOTAL (Aggregate Session Based and On Demand)


1,664,451