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Before you start, you should “enroll” in an EdX MOOC to understand the student experience of taking such courses, since you'll be preparing your materials to match that experience. Go to EdX.org and enroll for one or more courses, watch a few video segments, and try out some assessments.
You should then be in a good position to:
Adapting a polished, mature on-campus course for EdX delivery involves the following.
Managing forums: Supervision of the forums is a must, as minor problems can quickly escalate if left unsupervised.
First week or two: Ani Adhikari's advice is to be proactive during first couple of weeks in identifying major threads/problems on the forums and systematically addressing - for example, you could do a general post stating which questions you intend to address. Ani found that once students realize someone is listening, the forums quiet down and the posts are about the material.
Anonymous posting: We suggest you disable anonymous posting in the forums. Others have found that anonymity can create a toxic atmosphere in which a few trolls/griefers can post without accountability.
Trolls and griefers: There will be some even if non-anonymous. Don't get drawn in to such discussions. Clamp down on uncivil behavior; the course has UC Berkeley's name on it, so apply the standards you'd apply in your classroom discussions. You can ban problem students permanently if they cannot be managed.
Integrating Piazza: If using edX materials as a SPOC for a Berkeley course, many Berkeley courses have “standardized” on the Piazza forums. Here are instructions for Integrating Piazza forums into your edX SPOC.
Keep them short: Study after study has demonstrated that online learners consume short “lecturelets” (6-12 minutes) very effectively, and long ones (60-90 min) not effectively. Unless you specifically planned your long lectures as sequences of short topics with clear “cut points”, simply chopping them up may not yield good results. In other words, don't assume that your captured live lectures are necessarily a good starting point for a standalone online course.
Best practice for Berkeley MOOCs is short lecture segments interspersed with self-check (multiple-choice or short-answer or numeric-answer) questions. Unless there’s very good reasons not to, we will insist on this best practice when new MOOCs are created that will be public-facing.
Some have reported that going beyond “passive” PowerPoint slides (in live as well as captured lectures) improves student engagement. Here are some possible approaches to try.
Courseware: Students will have a wide range of system types and capabilities, especially in developing world, so you can't expect a minimum standard computer configuration. Software installation is painful in the best cases, so:
Although you can upload most files directly into Studio, and you can create 'static' HTML pages and even online textbooks in Studio, you may choose to also distribute course materials through other sites such as Google Docs for reasons of your own. If so, keep in mind:
Accessibility: Anything made publicly available (i.e. to people other than Berkeley students) must pass an accessibility review by BRCOE. ETS has guidelines and step-by-step guides for either doing this yourself (with a combination of free tools and manual reviewing/editing) or having campus vendor 3Play Media do it for about $2.05 per minute with 3-4 day turnaround. (We are working on other possible solution that may enable volunteers to caption videos. Stay tuned.)
It's easier if you think about accessibility from the moment you start creating assets. Here are some useful starting points:
For both screencast and live video capture, you must be careful not to use images or other content that is copyrighted unless the content license specifically says you can.
In general you cannot distribute materials (including showing them in captured videos) for which you don't own the copyright without getting specific permission from the copyright holder (unless the material is explicitly in the public domain or licensed under a type of license that permits redistribution).
While there are fair-use exemptions when distributing certain materials in campus classes, these exemptions often do not apply for MOOCs or for distributing materials outside of your brick-and-mortar classroom, and proceeding without permissions puts you and the University at legal risk..See Copyright and Trademark Issues for help and consultations.
Similarly, if your course uses other copyrighted material such as software, the conditions that govern whether you can use it in a Berkeley classroom are different from those that govern whether MOOC students outside Berkeley are allowed to use it.
Below is a link to helpful folks in the UC Berkeley Libraries who can advise on specific scenarios, but before you object, let me bust some myths:
Content that is probably OK:
To learn more, or consult with an expert regarding a particular scenario, contact Cody Hennesy in the UC Berkeley Libraries.
Redundancy: If you use external sites such as Google Docs for handouts, consider also putting them on a second site (eg Dropbox), not just due to possible site failures (rare) but because network paths to different services may be dramatically different in different countries. Other examples: YouTube, back up with Vimeo; Github gists, back up with Pastebin; Google Docs, backup with Dropbox; etc.
Distribution: Once a Google Doc is out there, it's out there forever. If you try to remove access from it, future students will send you 'share' requests. There's a particular risk if the document is a homework assignment that is subsequently revised: eager students may stumble across the old document and try to do the old assignment. So be sure to delete or make private any such documents when the course ends.
How will assessments be graded? For a SPOC, manual grading may be fine, but for a MOOC you must think about “gradability” from the start. Some possible options include: