K-MOOCs Beacon Project
The ‘K-MOOCs’ Beacon Project, jointly proposed by UELT and the School of Computing, aims to explore the feasibility of the University of Kent offering Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), with the ultimate aim to showcase and promote expertise, scholarship and research at Kent for a global audience. For more information on the K-MOOCs Beacon Project, contact Dr Mark O'Connor (Distance Learning Technologist, UELT)
K-MOOCs update (Feb 2016)
Following the successful completion of our MOOC pilot and asociated Master Classes, we have produced a detailed report (~100pages) for consideration by Executive Group. A summary of this report is now available. The summary includes an overview of the project and recommendations for how we might now take MOOCs further at Kent. Five key perceived benefits are highlighted:
Enhanced profile and reputation – strengthening public engagement with scholarship and research at Kent, including the potential to support our internationalisation agenda and enhance our links with partners in industry
Increased digital capacity – increasing our expertise in online delivery and ‘future-proofing’ the university by providing a platform to exploit emerging opportunities in the digital space
Positive impact on teaching and student experience – enhancing learning and teaching through creation of high-quality re-usable resources, engagement with innovative teaching practices and provision of additional learning opportunities
Positive impact on postgraduate and research activities – consolidating the impact of our research and disseminating outputs to a wide audience, and building research partnerships through enhanced links with prestigious HE and industrial partners
Exploring new markets and income – using MOOCs as a highly effective marketing tool, exploring opportunities to widen the curriculum with additional paid-for provision such as CPD, and direct income through certificates of participation or certified assessment
Pilot MOOC: Functional Programming with Erlang
A major part of the K-MOOCs project is the building and running of our own pilot / prototype MOOC. We have designed, created and presented a MOOC in 'Functional Programming with Erlang', with Professor Simon Thompson from the School of Computing as academic lead and with further expert input from industry provided by one of the creators of the language, Joe Armstrong (Ericsson), and leading Erlang consultant Francesco Cesarini (Erlang Solutions).
The course started on 11th May, coinciding with the Beacon Projects Tea Party event, and remained open until the end of June.
As part of our MOOC we have created a series of video Master Classes that will be re-usable within our taught courses or as standalone learning objects. Read more about these and access them from our Master Classes web page.
K-MOOCs event - Monday 8th June
We held an event on the afternoon of Monday 8th June at the Unit for Enhancement of Learning and Teaching, where we shared and reflected on our experiences with the pilot MOOC, and further explored the possibilities and opportunities for Kent with MOOCs and other online learning. The event was introduced by David Powell, Policy Advisor to the Vice-Chancellor, and included a talk on the potential benefits of MOOCs for internationalisation from Dr Anthony Manning, Dean for Internationalisation. We presented an overview of the project, reflected on building and running the pilot MOOC and Master Classes, reviewed the feedback from the pilot, and discussed the way forward - the potential impact and possibilities for Kent.
Beacon Project special event: MOOCs and beyond
A K-MOOCs Beacon Project special event, "MOOCs and beyond: Exploring the opportunities for Kent" was held on Tues 10th February 2015 at the Unit for Enhancement of Learning and Teaching to explore the potential value of MOOCs for the University of Kent and the possible wider impact – for example, on our teaching and learning, outreach, and professional development. At this event we drew on the experience and expertise of leading MOOC providers, with excellent and thought-provoking presentations from our external speakers W. Michael McCracken (Georgia Institute of Technology), Helena Gillespie (University of East Anglia) and Amy Woodgate (University of Edinburgh), alongside the background and latest updates on our own K-MOOCs project from Mark O'Connor (UELT) and Simon Thompson (School of Computing). Following the presentations we held a lively and enlightening panel discussion and Q&A session.
Recordings of the sessions are available on KentPlayer - please note that this requires sign-in with University of Kent IT account, and up-to-date browser (e.g. Chrome, Firefox, IE10+, Safari) with Silverlight.
To find out more about online learning and MOOCs, and particularly our external speakers, you may be interested in the following links:
- Online Masters at Georgia Institute of Technology
- Georgia Institute of Technology and University of Edinburgh on Coursera
- University of East Anglia and University of Edinburgh on FutureLearn
- To try out a course on Coursera, search ‘On demand’ courses or try the astrobiology MOOC from Edinburgh as an example
- To try out a course on FutureLearn, browse all available courses, or courses that have started recently or upcoming