:sync: How MOOCs Can Become Truly Open – Two Different Experiences

Authors: Francesca Concia, Paola Corti
Country: Italy

Topic: Innovation through MOOCs practices
Sector: Higher Education
UNESCO Area of Focus: Developing supportive policy
Session Format: Lightning Talk


In this session we will share our experience with two multi-experts MOOCs who were designed during 2019 in a copyright protected way or with narrow license: “Higher Education for Sustainable Development Goals”, which aims at enhancing citizens’ awareness about sustainability issues, discovering the richness and interdisciplinary connections that can be established among several topics through practical examples of projects, and “Essential radiochemistry for society”, addresses to Bachelor students, interested in becoming conscious of the involvement of Nuclear Radiochemistry in everyday life and understanding the advantages it could safely introduce. Both MOOCs were considered to be moved to open license, after an advocacy work done by the instructional designers. The comparison among the MOOCs represents an interesting case study because of the challenge they have represented - due to some foreseen obstacles and some absolutely unpredictable barriers - but also for the strategies the instructional designers adopted, and the solutions they implemented: among them are worthy to be named patience and respect. The co-design approach, experienced by both content experts and instructional designers, is at the basis of this change in perspective about opening up contents: spending time together, chatting in formal and informal ways around the theme, providing relevant examples of previous successful experiences. All these elements worked in order to make the change. There are many differences between these MOOCs: their general purpose, their scientific fields, the initial requirements, the targeted final users and also the experts' approach. It is interesting to observe the elements these two MOOCs have in common: - the numerosity of experts coming from different universities, who didn’t even consider these MOOCs a priority in their working flow; - basic or no knowledge about open licensing on content experts’ side; - instructional designers focused on advocating about open, but not in a pushy way; - an unforeseen long window for MOOC design and implementation (not advisable on the project management side, but really useful to make time for considering open as a chance); - same design and production period; - finally, the fact that both MOOCs moved from being copyright protected or narrowly open licensed toward a more open approach, thanks to the advocacy work done by the instructional designers. This experience might benefit open license advocates who are struggling with experts who are reluctant in opening their educational materials to make them available for 5Rs purposes. Consistently with the OER RECOMMENDATION, these experiences are developing supportive policy because they show how a design and implementation team can directly contribute in developing bottom-up strategies to disseminate about open and support in implementing licenses even in contexts which are not familiar nor particularly interested in open education, at the beginning.


Opening MOOCs, Open with respect, Open with patience, Open through co-design

Welcome everyone! We are happy to share our advocacy experience hoping it might be useful to some of you, when working on MOOCs. We are going to share our presentation and its larger description as soon as the session will be over… we don’t want to ruin the surprise :wink: See you on Tuesday 17 November!


Hi again, everyone! If you are interested, here you can find a large description of our lightening talk and the slides we are using tomorrow. Let us know if you want to know more


Recording of the session:

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So interesting, thanks.

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Ciao bella! I loved your presentation yesterday, congrats to both you and Francesca :slight_smile:

In Delft we start from CC BY NC SA as default for our MOOCs -that allows us to have the conversation with professors and everybody else, as in 'this is what’s gonna happen to your MOOC: we are gonna share it with the whole world, people will be able to reuse the content,…" and so forth. I think this makes it easier from the beginning also in terms of designing and producing a course, people have it in their heads already that they need to help others reuse their content. Happy to chat more at some stage!


Ciao Bea!! First of all congratulation for all the wonderful work you’re all doing with this conference, it’s a real global effort and it is great to be participating!
We also started with CC BY NC SA in 2016, and we never went back enlarging these licenses (yet) but it is in our plans for the future (we should make time also to look back and not only to move forward). As far as it happens now, when we talk with our professors or content experts we try to give them example about the chances to reuse part of the work they are sharing in their MOOCs according to each license, so they can see how it would work in practice. We try to give them both perspectives: the one of the expert who is sharing, the one of the user who might be interested in reusing. When we provide the perspective of the user, we talk about them, the professors and content experts we are working with, so that they can think about how they would benefit of open resources themselves, in their everyday work. This usually helps, I would say! Let’s chat more whenever you want, happy to do it!

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