This is an archive of the 2013 version of ocTEL.

2 for 1?

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    James Kerr

    I wear my instructional designer hat while I compose this post.  In Alice’s topic post, the thread questions rising costs of higher education; from a design standpoint, if courses are designed from the start to be dual-purpose, in that the content/materials can be used for credit or “free” delivery, then how much additional cost is borne by universities to offer “free” courses?  Certainly there is overhead in hosting and infrastructure, and in oversight and administration of the courses; but early in the design stages, if the course content is designed to serve both audiences, there would be no need to develop separate content for the “free” courses.

    The value, then, of being an enrolled student vs. a “free” student is access to the university’s other resources, the credit towards an accredited degree, and more access to instructors.


    Hi James

    I think you make a good point here, and one I’ve heard of as the ‘holy grail’ of MOOC development, and certainly a more sustainable way of looking at things from a time and cost point of view.

    I’m not sure if the possibilities vary by discipline – my view is that in my discipline (business) our audiences for different courses are so diverse that not just the content but tone and feel need to be radically different – e.g. an MBA student with existing business experience has very different needs from an undergraduate who has come to university straight from post-16 education, even if they are studying the same basic syllabus.  Therefore, if I was designing for a particular cohort, the MOOC audience, if different, would find their needs poorly met, in my view, by the course I’d developed for the other, without significant tailoring bordering on a rewrite.  Perhaps I’m just being grumpy!




    I would have to agree with Ali that the area of concern would be in ensuring that the tone is appropriate for the audience. If that could be addressed in the design phase, different options for different audience then I would agree that James’ proposal is a viable one.

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