Over the past few months, I have been reaching out to colleagues active in the online learning community to sound out some of the leading researchers and practitioners from the world of MOOCs. Why? Because AdelaideX is this semester establishing an exciting new seminar series, intended to spark creative conversations about educating with MOOCs, between educators, practitioners, and interested colleagues of any stripe.
Of course, many MOOC-active educators around Australia and in the international university community are keen to collegially share their hard-won knowledge about how to design, develop, evaluate and ultimately create positive student impacts with MOOCs like the ones AdelaideX is making now with edX. But such knowledge-sharing is part of the day to day less often than most of us would like. While online learning conferences are great for intensive professional development and networking beyond our own institutions, they don’t always generate knowledge that can be immediately put to use within your own context – and they’re usually not very interactive (even if delegates are covering key points in 140 characters or less!).
Yet we know that one of the really critical – if not the transformative – experiences afforded to educators when they make a MOOC is exposure to a range of activities that support creative visualisation of different ways to do learning. There are insights for the taking – into contemporary online pedagogies, into design thinking and development methodologies, into ways of conceptualising, organising and (yes) making a brand-new course offer attractive and valuable to students. The MOOC-making work is shared intensely over a period of months between a close set of collaborators, academic and professional, before opening up to tens of thousands of learners, and in some ways that makes them an atypical piece in the uni jigsaw. Yet the digital learning skills that educators gain in this space are critical ones for anybody grappling with how to make online learning work better for students, at a distance or as an enrichment of existing on-campus courses and programs.
The AdelaideX Seminars are intended to provide a place for educators and practitioners to share these experiences, so that the rising tide of MOOC activity can help to lift a few more boats this year. So, we’re delighted to welcome Professor Roly Sussex of University of Queensland as our inaugural speaker on 2 May.
With the AdelaideX Seminars, we’re hoping to challenge those issues of distance, time, cost and interactivity, by bringing together visiting speakers online and in person on a regular footing. At the seminars, our visiting speakers will engage not only with Adelaide’s enthusiastic digital-friendly community in person, but also with the broader university community through the University’s new collaboration software, Zoom. So, AdelaideX seminars will enable people to engage from wherever they are.
I think it’s right to recognise that what AdelaideX is doing, in this most open of online learning environments, connects our home university with a community that reaches well beyond SA into the national and international community. So, we are excited to be welcoming online guests from edX partners including UQ, ANU and Curtin University, to our first seminar, and we’re hoping to offer future events at friendly times for those who are not on our time zone (watch this space!).
Inspired to attend in person or online?
Sign up here for the first AdelaideX seminar:
MOOCs, Disruption, and the Future of the University
Professor Roly Sussex, Institute for Teaching and Learning Innovation (ITaLI) and UQx, University of Queensland
Monday 2 May, 4-6pm (Adelaide time).
Chair: Professor Philippa Levy, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Student Learning)
Respondent/facilitator: Professor Ghil’ad Zuckermann, Department of Linguistics and Chair, Language Revival MOOC.
Can’t make it but want to hear about the next seminar?
Simply contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up for news about seminars and other events by AdelaideX.
I hope to see you on 2 May to celebrate this launch, either in person or online. (PS: On-campus colleagues, it’s a good idea to book early – if we reach capacity in person, you’re warmly welcome to register online.)
Dr Katy McDevitt, Program Manager, AdelaideX