Beyond MOOCs: Sustainable Online Learning in Institutions

Link: Beyond MOOCs Sustainable Online Learning in Institutions (PDF)
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Executive Summary

The key opportunity for institutions is to take the concepts developed by the MOOC experiment to date and use them to improve the quality of their face-to-face and online provision, and to open up access to higher education. Most importantly, the understanding gained should be used to inform diversification strategies including the development of new business models and pedagogic approaches that take full advantage of digital technologies.

The critical discourse emerging around MOOCs is providing an opportunity for institutions to develop a more strategic approach to online learning. This includes enhancing existing classroom teaching practices, promoting institutional reputation and developing new revenue models. There are indications that some MOOCs are becoming more focussed on corporate training, which suggests that they may not pose a immediate threat to the existing pedagogical, revenue or business models of higher education institutions (HEIs). The number of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) will continue to grow with the development of credit bearing courses likely to be a trend.
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MOOCs and Open Education: Implications for Higher Education

Link: MOOCs and Open Education: Implications for Higher Education (pdf)
Link: MOOCs and Open Education: Implications for Higher Education (MS Word docx)

This report sets out to help decision makers in higher education institutions gain a better understanding of the phenomenon of Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) and trends towards greater openness in higher education and to think about the implications for their institutions. The phenomena of MOOCs are described, placing them in the wider context of open education, online learning and the changes that are currently taking place in higher education at a time of globalisation of education and constrained budgets. The report is written from a UK higher education perspective, but is largely informed by the developments in MOOCs from the USA and Canada. A literature review was undertaken focussing on the extensive reporting of MOOCs through blogs, press releases as well as openly available reports. This identified current debates about new course provision, the impact of changes in funding and the implications for greater openness in higher education. The theory of disruptive innovation is used to help form the questions of policy and strategy that higher education institutions need to address.

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IMS Learning Tools Interoperability Briefing paper

Link: (pdf)

The IMS Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) specification provides a standard mechanism for seamlessly connecting Interoperability learning applications and remote content to virtual learning environments (VLEs) and enterprise portals.

It is increasing in popularity as a method for providing integrations which are not dependent upon a particular VLE.

This briefing paper provides an overview of the LTI specification and illustrates the benefits for developers, VLE administrators, teachers and learners.
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Distributed Learning Environments

Link: Distributed Learning Environments (pdf).

Summary: After a period of relative stability and deeper embedding, the debate about the role and function of the VLE (virtual learning environment)
within the institution is gathering pace again. Many institutions in the UK
are in the process of reviewing their current VLE provision in the light of
changing pedagogical requirements, more administrative integration and the emergence of new classes of social media on the wider web.

In the past, the requirement for deeper integration with other (administrative) systems gave rise to the MLE (managed learning environment) concept. Later, the demand for greater personalisation and the availability of new web tools gave birth to the PLE (personal learning
environment) debate, in which people radically re- conceptualised the notion of a learning environment. During these phases, however, the VLE still remained a dominant force within institutions. This has resulted in a tension between the role of the VLE as a common tool for the institutional community, the desire to make it permeable to the institutional network and the wider web and to allow greater levels of personalization / customization for individuals and institutions.

A number of working solutions are now emerging to address these tensions. This briefing paper will explore five emerging models, discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each and link to working examples and further sources of information.

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