View this email in your browser

EMMA preparing for new MOOC round in autumn

June and July were busy months for everyone involved in EMMA. Many of the existing MOOCs were still running and we saw enrolments go up to over 5000 which was an important landmark for the team. Project partners met for a consortium meeting in Estonia kindly hosted by Tallinn University – a meeting that provided a good opportunity to review the first full academic year of EMMA and to look forward to 2015/2016. In July many of the partners were involved in the highly successful EMMA Summer School which brought together a number of potential new MOOC providers in the terrific working environment of Ischia, off the coast of Naples. The summer school was organised jointly with the annual ECTEL summer school and provided a good opportunity to streamline the EMMA approach to MOOC design and delivery and to prepare for new provider recruitment in 2015/2016. This month, EMMA partners are reviewing and discussing their plans for the coming months which will involve the launch of lots of new MOOCs. It will also include several popular MOOCs from last year updated and available in additional languages.

EMMA Summer School participant experience

donatella persicoby Donatella Persico, Istituto Tecnologie Didattiche - Consiglio Nazionale Ricerche, Italy

At the beginning of this year I co-authored a paper on methodologies for MOOC research1. It is a survey aiming to understand where we are with research in this field, and to identify strengths and weaknesses of the work carried out so far. Participating in the EMMA Summer School gave me the possibility to update and complement this picture with state-of-art knowledge on MOOC practice, especially as far as instructional design principles, translation services and learning analytics are concerned. I did learn a lot from this experience as the event quickly succeeded in creating a community of practice including people actively involved in MOOC research and practice, from several points of views. Undoubtedly, the good organisation and the wonderful framework of the island of Ischia, which made the whole experience unforgettable, have contributed to this result.

Among the main messages I have taken back from the Summer School, I would like to list the following:

  • The EMMA project has several strengths, among which: a sustainable vision for its future; a pragmatic and effective approach to overcome linguistic barriers, and a highly flexible view on pedagogical approaches, which is made possible by a range of functions made available by the EMMA platform;
  • Technologies for overcoming linguistic barriers are mature enough to make international learning experiences a reality, with no need to privilege one language at the expenses of the others;
  • Effective use of Learning Analytics is a critical factor both to support learning in MOOCs and to provide research with the necessary evidence; however, much work in this area is still needed and this makes it a priority in research and development; 
  • User Centered Design cannot be straightforwardly applied in MOOC design: MOOC designers have to cope with large and very diversified audiences comprising unexpected profiles. This entails the need for flexible, personalisable designs, rather than one-size fits all approaches.

Now, after this interesting experience (and a good, refreshing holiday), I feel compelled to put into practice what I have learnt. Perhaps another positive effect of the EMMA Summer School? I’d be interested in bringing forward the idea of a MOOC on digital scholarship, presented during the Summer School. Wish me good luck! 

1 Raffaghelli, J. E., Cucchiara, S. and Persico, D. (2015), Methodological approaches in MOOC research: Retracing the myth of Proteus. British Journal of Educational Technology, 46: 488&n;font-style:normal;dash;509. doi: 10.1111/bjet.12279

How big data is managed in EMMA  

We collect different data about our participants when they are using the EMMA platform by asking them to complete a survey, by gathering the personal information they provide in their profiles and by collating data about how they use the platform as part of their learning activities referred to as learning analytics data.

We track data about their visits to different pages and the amount of time they spend on different types of digital content. We also track data about their contributions to the MOOC in the form of blogposts, comments and discussion inputs. Their performance related to assignments and quizzes is also monitored and measured by us. And finally we are interested in the multilingual EMMA approach and so also study in which way MOOC participants use the different language options available in the platform.

We use this information to personalise the platform for participants and MOOC facilitators by developing dashboards for different parties. This information is also being used to enhance pedagogical intervention and to improve the design of MOOCs in the future.

We care about the confidentiality and security of users’ personal information in EMMA. No personal data is being shown to other participants. General visualisations shown to other learners is based on aggregated data. EMMA will take precautions to ensure data is anonymised, stored securely and safely and can’t be accessed by third parties. No data will be knowingly made available to other people outside the project. Data for evaluation purposes will only be made available to those researchers of the EMMA project that are responsible for the evaluation.


Start: 30 September '15
L:  Italian/ English
Start: 30 September '15
L:  Italian/ English
Start: 30 September '15
L:  Italian/ English/ Spanish
Start: 15 October '15
L:  Dutch/ English
Start: 26 October '15
L:  English / Dutch/ Italian

MOOCs and Quality: A Review of the Recent Literature

This literature review by Dr Sarah Hayes (published by QAA MOOCs Network) presents a number of different perspectives from a broad range of sources relating to the nature of MOOCs and pertinent considerations of quality. The report starts with a good overview of what different MOOCS are out there: a division in 2 pedagogical styles (cMOOCs and xMOOCs) and a taxonomy with eight types (Clark, 2013) is given.  Read more.

EMMA presentations on SlideShare

Have a look at some interesting presentations on the topic of MOOCs and course design on the EUmoocs slideshare account. What are the lessons learned in EMMA MOOCS? How can you use social media in MOOCs? And how can learning analytics help you design your MOOC better? Find answers to these and more of your learning design questions on the EUmoocs slideshare and on this page.

Book: MOOCs and Open Education Around the World

As new digital forms of formal and informal learning proliferate, there is an increasing need to better understand how people in different regions of the world are implementing massive open online courses (MOOCs) and other forms of open educational resources (OERs). Educators, researchers, politicians, and numerous other stakeholders want to grasp what the outcomes of these initiatives are and how they can be improved.  Read more.

Factors that affect the success of learning on MOOCs are: daily life; personal and professional life; personality e.g. self-esteem, previous knowledge and learning experience; technical skills.

Inge de Waard, The Open University, UK

Editorial EMMA News - ATiT, Leuvensesteenweg 132, 3370 Roosbeek, Belgium

Telephone: +32 16 284 040 |  Fax: +32 16 223 743
Follow us on Twitter: @EUMOOCs

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences