Case 1: Web Science MOOC University of Southampton & Beijing Normal University
In September 2014, the University of Southampton Web Science MOOC, hosted on the FutureLearn Platform in the UK, was used as an integral component of an introduction to computer science course being delivered by Beijing Normal University. Chinese students were asked to register on the MOOC course so that they could access the resources in addition to attending lessons as normal, delivered by their own university. Online discussions were held between students and their Chinese teachers focussing on the MOOC resources and held on the China-based platform provided by WoLearn. In addition, online seminars were delivered by academics from Southampton with the summative assessment of the 87 students being undertaken by the Chinese tutors. Figure 1 illustrates the organisational arrangements between the different partners.
Case 2: Flipped Chemistry with Manchester University and Beijing Normal University
Based on the “Introduction to Physical Chemistry” MOOC, academics from both Beijing Normal University and the University of Manchester, with the support from Wolearn, worked collaboratively to run a blended, flipped classroom model to help students develop self-directed learning and critical thinking skills.
Using the Wolearn platform, students studied the Introduction to Physical Chemistry course and extra resources specifically produced for this activity by the academics from Manchester University, working with teachers from BNU. They also used the Wolearn platform to send out announcements, upload learning materials and activities, answer students’ questions and lead the discussions in the forum. Students also had access to online tests after they had studied the MOOC. Teachers were then able to gather all the data from the tests and to assess learning progress and provide formative assessment for the course.
Two online seminars were organised between students and the academic who teaches the course at the University of Manchester. Students worked together to prepare questions based on their MOOC studies in preparation for the live seminar discussion with the Manchester University professor. The professor also used Responsive Wear to collect some instant answers and responses via mobile phones to further increase interactivity with the students.
Case 3: Central China Normal University use Edinburgh University’s Elearning & Digital Culture MOOC
The E-learning & Digital Culture MOOC (EDCMOOC) was the first MOOC produced by the University of Edinburgh on Coursera. This MOOC aims to explore how digital cultures and learning cultures connect, and what this means for the ways in which we conduct education online.
The original EDCMOOC and its resources, activities and social media elements, offers new perspectives on e-learning. It creates a new type of MOOC experience through exploring various digital technology and networking tools, such as YouTube, Google Hangouts, Twitter, etc. However, most of the platforms and tools used in the EDCMOOC are not available in China which had hitherto prevented Chinese learners from taking the course and participating in the activities around the content. Wolearn therefore localized the EDCMOOC by providing access to the equivalent Chinese platforms and tools, e.g. Youku, Webex and Wechat etc.
As a blended learning based course, EDCMOOC then offered a unique opportunity for Chinese students studying educational technology to reflect on and explore the connections between education, learning and digital cultures and experiment with digital technology in their own learning.
Case 4 : Mini Computer Science Courses
The Wolearn model provides an opportunity for academics to produce online resources, based on their existing teaching materials that could be used as an integral part of Chinese university courses.
Academics at the departments of Computer Science from the University of Manchester, the University of Edinburgh, the University of Southampton and the University of Glasgow have created a number of mini open courses. These were created as a result of negotiating suitable topics and content for Chinese students for different courses, including Foundations of Program Design, Principles of Compiler Design, Digital Signal Processing and Digital Image Processing.
The mini courses are openly and freely available for anyone to use or reuse in their own teaching, or for students to learn individually. Here Wolearn supports the organisation of seminars so that students have the opportunity to ask questions and engage with the academics involved in creatint the online materials. Online learning activities and discussions before and after the seminars are used as a part of formative assessment for students.