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EMMA spring season packed with new MOOCs: something for every taste

After a dark winter, the days are getting longer and we feel the first signs of spring: this also means a great set of new MOOCs on EMMA! Would you like to learn how environmental factors affect the functioning of adolescent brains? Follow the MOOC Adolescent brain: Brain, lifestyle and learning. Would you like to teach digital literacy through smart toys? Enrol for the MOOC Smart toys for smarter kids. Becoming a digital educator starting this week. Interested to learn what digital libraries can mean for you or your students? Scroll down to learn more about the MOOC Digital library in principal and practice starting in two weeks' time. Also have a look at the showcased MOOC on E-Waste that just started and learn how you can take action on e-waste in your own life, business, or organisation. Next to all the EMMA MOOCs' news this newsletter features an interesting read on Task based MOOC design by Olga Firssova, EMMA partner from the WELTEN Institute, The Netherlands. Enjoy reading & above all learning!

Task based MOOC design: challenges and opportunities

darco janssenOlga Firssova, WELTEN Institute - Open University, The Netherlands

The EMMA project joined the Open Education week 2016 with a webinar on designing instruction in massive online education according to the principles of task-centred design (Merrill, 2002, 2007). Dr Mart Laanpere, Tallinn University and Dr Olga Firssova, Open University Netherlands, both EMMA partners, were the speakers during this one hour session.

MOOCs tend to follow an instructivist approach where learners are mostly expected to acquire knowledge presented by the teacher in a rather passive learning mode. Such design neglects the principles of active and engaging learning (c.f., Margaryan, Bianco, & Littlejohn, 2014). Task-centred instructional design models offer meaningful tasks and learning experiences that follow active learning principles. Up till now, implementations of task-centred MOOC designs are, however, scarce. There is little knowledge of the challenges designers face in the process of realising task-centred online courses, open for all and potentially followed by many at the same time.

The webinar attempted to bridge existing gaps by introducing the concept of task-centred design, and elaborating on the model of task-centred design developed by David Merrill (2007). The model and its components were presented together with easy to understand and implement examples of meaningful and engaging whole tasks that support active and collaborative knowledge construction.

Furthermore, the webinar presented a real life example of an online course in which active learning following a task-centred approach is realised in practice. While this example is based on a regular distance learning course in which up to 50 students engage in meaningful learning tasks to attain a new complex skill, many of design decisions are relevant for open and massive courses as well. This example is meant to open the way to further discussion of the burning issues of transferring experiences of online education into designs for massive and open online courses.

The webinar is recorded and can be watched here. The webinar is part of the series of webinars organised by the EMMA project for people interested in improving the pedagogical design of MOOCs and/or planning to start a MOOC of their own.

Margaryan, A., Bianco, M., & Littlejohn, A. (2015). Instructional quality of massive open online courses (MOOCs). Computers & Education, 80, 77-83.
Merrill, M. D. (2002). First principles of instruction. Educational technology research and development, 50(3), 43-59.
Merrill, M.D. (2007). A task-centered instructional design. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 40(1), 33-50.

New EMMA MOOC: Digital library in principle and practice    

In today's information society, being able to search, find and reuse digital content correctly has become a fundamental skill for everyone to master. At the same time, new teaching and learning methods which are more “student centred” call for innovative tools. Digital libraries are participative and have a social and educational function: as a resource for teaching, as an environment for learning and also as a digital lab, an open platform with a collection of reusable and mixable contents, and powerful tools for learning facilitation, knowledge sharing and creation.

The EMMA MOOC “Digital Library in principle and practice” starting on 12 April is intended to help learners understand what a digital library is, how it works and how collections can be used and reused. This MOOC will answer four fundamental questions:

  • What is a digital library?
  • How can I use a digital library for learning? 
  • How can I create a digital library? 
  • How can I associate resources and tools to support learners needs?

Participants will learn how to browse digital libraries, to create and curate a digital library and how to use and share digital resources in the classroom to support teaching and learning. They will understand the complexity of a digital library in terms and concepts, its functionalities but also its problems and controversial aspects. A basic introduction will be done to the legal framework, the curation of digital resources as well as the practical requirements and facilities of digital collections.

The MOOC will consist of video presentations, interviews with experts, practical activities as well as discussions among participants. Learners will also take part in peer reviewed assignments. You can enrol for this MOOC here and become part of an international community interested in digital libraries as learning spaces. Share ideas, thoughts and experiences on Twitter using the hashtag #DigitalLibraryLearning and in our Facebook group!

MOOC: Digital library in principal and practice
Start: 12 April 2016
Language: English & Italian
More information and enrolment on the EMMA platform

EMMA Webinar

Capturing and delivering effective video as part of your MOOC including the innovative use of video to enrich your learning offer

- Online -

LAK 2016

Learning Analytics & Knowledge Conference

- University of Edinburgh, UK -

L@S 2016 Learning at Scale

- University of Edinburgh, UK -
9 - 10 June 2016

MOOCs in Scandinavia 2016

Dialogue on the status of Massive Open Online Courses in Scandinavia in focus

- Chalmers University of Technology Gothenburg, Sweden. -

  14 - 17 June 2016

EDEN 2016

Re-imagining learning environments

- Budapest, Hungary -

  30 June - 1 July 2016

Future of Education Conference 2016

Sharing good practice in the field of innovation for Education

- Florence, Italy -
>>all events

EMMA webinar on effective use of video in MOOCs

Educators increasingly ask what types of videos lead to the best student learning outcomes in a MOOC? And which production techniques and methods provide a higher learning efficiency. In this webinar, we provide an overview of both production techniques and pedagogical approaches related to the use of video in MOOCs. This webinar aims at encouraging MOOC authors to explore new ways of using video. Speakers in the webinar will be Deborah Arnold, University of Burgundy, France and Mathy Vanbuel, ATiT, Belgium, both partner in the EMMA project. This webinar is freely accessible, learn more or register directly!

Personalize your ‪learning‬ experience

Images can be worth more than a thousand words, therefore you should take a look at this video which gives you a taste of what the EMMA PLE and toolbox can offer you and how it can personalize your learning experience! Like some more guidance? The EMMA Frequently Asked Questions section can help you further. Watch the tutorial video on the toolbox and saved elements and get an answer to these questions: How to use the toolbox? How do you use the PLE?  Read more info on the project website.


EMMA presented during eMOOCs Summit in Graz

Sally Reynolds from ATiT and Gonçal Garcés Díaz-Munío from UPV were flying the flag for EMMA recently at the eMOOCs Summit in Graz. Sally was one of 7 panelists in a session entitled European Support Services for Developing MOOCs which took place in the hallowed halls of the University of Graz in front of a modest but interested audience. The conversation covered the types of services offered by each project team and began to highlight a number of interesting issues like the need - or not - for a European platform, how - and should - quality be measured and the value of monitoring and surveys. A more detailed presentation of the services offered by EMMA prepared by Carmen Padrón-Nápoles from ATOS for this session is available on SlideShare. You can find out more about the eMOOCs Summit here.

>> all news

EMMA MOOC offer Spring 2016

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

Telephone: +32 16 284 040 |  Fax: +32 16 223 743
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