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Introducing OLDS MOOC and mixing courses

17/12/2012 in related courses and developments

ocTEL shares some of its DNA with another free online course, “Learning Design for a 21st Century Curriculum”  a.k.a. OLDS MOOC (more on those acronyms in a second),  which starts early in January. By DNA, I mean that our principles are very similar; it’s likely that one or two people will be involved in both courses; and it’s possible that ocTEL may use some of the materials developed for OLDS MOOC, or even by participants in that course as part of their learning activities.

OLDS is the  Open Learning Design Studio within the Institute of Educational Technology at The Open University. MOOC is a Massive Open Online Course. It’s fair to say that there’s a lot of noise about MOOCs at the moment (here’s one account [pdf] that has reasonable signal/noise ratio) and this isn’t the place to unpick that, but ocTEL defines itself as a MOOC too. As such, we break with some of the assumptions of traditional courses, including the teacher-knows-best ethos that suggests that all learners should make a similar journey starting from point A and finishing at point B, irrespective of their context and personal aims. As the OLDS MOOC home page puts it,

We expect that many participants will commit for the 9-week ‘journey’, following the MOOC through from start to end and dedicating 3-10 hours a week. We expect others to join us for specific weeks or even a single activity. Participants will find answers to specific questions that interest them…

You can take the same approach to ocTEL. Both courses are free, so why not dip into both of them and see which bits are most relevant to you? We credit our potential participants with the intelligence to work this out for themselves, and encourage them to take responsibility for mixing different learning experiences to meet their needs. So, if you’re interested in ocTEL, have a look too at OLDS MOOC and particularly their launch event on 7 January:

The structure of the MOOC reflects a proposed process for a design inquiry project. In such a process, designers identify a (learning/curriculum) design challenge, explore it to gain an understanding of its context and driving forces, generate possible solutions, implement a solution and reflect on the process as a whole and its outputs.

We are delighted to announce that a live launch event of the OLDS MOOC will be held on Monday 7th January 2013 at 4:00 pm GMT online via a live webcast stream and will last approximately 90 minutes.

It will be broadcast live via Cloudworks at and online viewers will be able to post comments and ask questions (if they have registered for Cloudworks).

The launch is open to all, and we especially look forward to welcoming course participants.

The event will include a presentation of the MOOC themes, its pedagogical approach and modes of participation, and a brief overview of the weekly activities. This will be followed by an open discussion.  The event will be recorded and available afterwards for replay during week 1 of the course.

OLDS MOOC is a project-based MOOC, encouraging participants to do practical work of direct relevance to them as part of the course, and reflect on this. The focus of the course, and therefore of the work, is on developing open education resources. Hence it’s just possible that some of the work done by OLDS MOOC participants (I have registered to be one of them) could find its way into the ocTEL materials, as our course will be starting a few weeks after OLDS MOOC finishes.

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