In the International Conference MOOC-Maker we had the opportunity to talk with Dana Doyle, who does a tremendous work as the Director of the MITx program, by supporting faculties from this institution to create MOOCs.

We all have access to a wide offer of MOOCs and we’ve seen how we can benefit from them, however, we’ve discussed very little about the all the work that is required to create an online course.

So, What are the skills that a faculty needs to create MOOCs?

Doyle explains that MITx supports and trains faculty members for the creation of MOOCs, they focus on 5 main areas: Information Technologies, Media, Accessibility, Intellectual Properties and Project Management.

  • Information technology
    Educational technologists help faculty to understand how MOOCs platforms works, basically they teach them to be able to use these tools.
    Also, if faculty members are interested on integrating something that the platform doesn’t have, they help them to figure out how to do what they want to do, all within the limits of what the platform already does.
  • Media
    MITx also provides media training, they try to understand whether faculties have a vision or if they don’t.
    “We work with faculty by discussing which type of videos to make, because maybe the MOOC doesn’t require a lot of videos or maybe it does need a lot of them. You don’t have to make a video just because, there has to be a reason for that”.
    Based on the experience of the educational technologists and the needs of faculty members, they conclude what is the best way for students to understand the class material.
  • Accessibility
    “At MIT accessibility is very important”, Doyle indicates, so they make sure that digital tools or platforms like edX do a great job in this matter. Otherwise, faculty members could get to feel a little confuse if they don’t understand how the platform works.
    Accessibility also includes learners, because there might be occasions in which they have some type of disability that requires an adaptation of the platform. Their technical staff helps that person to figure out what type of adjustment he or she needs, in a one on one process.
  • Intellectual Properties
    In classroom, is very common that faculties don’t respect intellectual properties because there are no laws that forbid them to use whatever they want, they don’t need to get a permission.
    But, according to Doyle, in the case of  MOOCs, “That is kind of stumbling blocks sometimes. You can’t use anything you want, if you are using something that was made from someone else in any way, you need to get permission to use it.”
  • Project Management
    MITx team evaluates how MOOCs are going on and assist faculty members if they don’t know how to organize all the information they collect, by giving them management tools or ideas of how to perform this process.

How faculty can create better communities and measure the success of MOOCs

University Galileo organized the International Conference MOOC-Maker, so we asked Dana to share her experience in this event and the reasons why she decided to participate in it:

“I´m glad I came to Guatemala. I was looking for an event that would expose me to people that I don’t know, and to see what else is going on. I think coming here gives me another point of view. Galileo University it’s doing a great job with the MicroMaster programs”.

However, Doyle also indicates that is important to build a better community for MicroMasters´ learners:

“Once the MOOC is done, you’re done. We can’t keep talking to everybody, there is not a MicroMaster forum where you can talk to other people that studied the same program. The learners can’t learn from each other after that because this channel doesn’t exist.”

Surely, it is important to improve (or create) this type of channels. That is why we’ve tried to that by creating an space for the AndroidEdxCommunity of our Professional Android Developer course, part of the MicroMasters program.

In terms of measuring the success of a MOOC, Doyle indicates they use four “buckets” to measure if a MOOC is achieving what they are supposed to. MITx refers to those indicators as  the 4 R’s:

  1. Research
  2. Revenue
  3. Reach
  4. Residential

If an online course has positive outcomes in any of these cases, they call the MOOC a success, as she explained with an example: “So, you can have a course that doesn’t make any money and doesn’t reach a lot of people but it has a great impact residentially at the MIT”, Doyle pointed out.