Category Archives: News

Webinar: “Socially inclusive pedagogical models for MOOCs”- copy

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We are happy to announce the second ECO webinar in our series: “Socially inclusive pedagogical models for MOOCs“. Organized by our partner EADTU (European Association of Distance Teaching Universities), this 90-minute webinar will take place next Wednesday, 27th of July, at 10:30 (CEST). Teachers from different university partners of ECO Consortium will elaborate on the need of an adjusted pedagogical model for MOOCs such as to achieve the aim to use MOOC to provide quality education to all.

July Webinar Poster

Below the agenda of the webinar:

  • Darco Jansen (EADTU): Introduction + Using MOOCs for social Inclusion and equity (10:30 – 10:45)
  • Santiago Fano (Universidad de Oviedo): Challenges and MOOC strategies in the ECO project (10:45 – 11:00)
  • António Teixeira (Universidade Aberta): Basic principles and design guidelines of sMOOC pedagogical model (11:00 – 11:15)
  • Adeline Bossu (Université Paris 3 Sorbonne): Implementation in Step-to-Step MOOC in 6 different languages (11:15 – 11:30)
  • Alessandra Tomasini (Politecnico di Milano): Implementation sMOOC model in Polimi (11:30 – 11:45)
  • General discussion (11:45 – 12:00)

In order to join us on Wednesday, just click on this link: and provide your name and email to access the webinar. When using Clickmeeting app for smartphones or tablets you need to provide the following Room-ID 389-241-428 (and for some apps also Participant PIN 967889#). Note that the webinar will be recorded.

Teacher tools

MOOC as a tool for teacher training

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Digital skills are an important element in the educational environment, their development and integration should be a priority in order to address modern society demands.

This article forms integral part of that course. Our fourth edition has been already launched so you enrol!. “sMOOC Step by Step” is a free Massive Open Online Course – MOOC is being made available by ECO, which is a European project based on Open Educational Resources (OER), that gives free access to a list of MOOCs in 6 languages, in most languages via Closed Captions (via YouTube subtitles).

The objective of this article is to give an overview about how a MOOC for teachers influences the development of their digital skills.

Results show that MOOCs have the potential to develop digital skills to use OER and to solve information problems (especially the ones related to communication and project planning); and visualizing a practical application of course content increases participants’ overall satisfaction.

Increased digital and technical skills MOOC are the next step in the evolution of on line learning. But where e Learning was first organized and confined to the boundaries of an institutional Learning Management System (LMS), MOOC made the on line courses open to a global, international public.

ExperieTeacher toolsnced teachers deploy multiple teaching strategies. They are experts in teaching; they know how to transform any content and any dynamic into an engaging learner experience. And most importantly, teachers understand where their learners come from and where they need to be heading. As such teachers, use creative learning actions which they pull out of their pedagogical backpack.

MOOC are the next step in the evolution of on line learning. But where e Learning was first organized and confined to the boundaries of an institutional Learning Management System (LMS), MOOC made the on line courses open to a global, international public.

There is however three essential factors needed to be able to follow MOOC: on line access, and digital skills to know how to work in the on line learning environment, and the capacity for self-regulated learning.

Technological skills:
With the addition of social media tools (= more peer-to-peer interactions and more dialogue in general) and mobile or ubiquitous options to allow the learners to stay tuned to all the interactions happening in a MOOC. This means that the course is ideally ubiquitous, allowing students to access the course and its interactions with mobile and non-mobile devices.

Digital skills:
More Digital skills are needed as MOOCs can make use of a variety of social media tools and all the latest on line tools. This inevitably results in a need for the participants to practice and acquire new skills. MOOC are also not standardized and when investigating all current MOOC platforms, one can see that there is a difference in pedagogical approach, design of the user interface and the embedding of social media tools, which results in a challenge to really understand all the options within different MOOC platforms.

Self-regulated learning:
Within MOOCs learning increasingly becomes the responsibility of the learner. Sometimes that responsibility can be limited to the learner having to take responsibility for their self-directed or self-regulated learning where the learner take their learning into their own hands and regulate their learning using personally constructed learning strategies. This self-regulated learning is a complex skill to acquire.
It is not only complex on an individual level, but also on a group level involving different teaching skills to scaffold and mold the self-regulated skills.

Enhancing these self-regulated skills is one of the many challenges MOOC teachers face, as MOOCs gather a very diversified group of learners.The same can be said about the expectations and abilities in teachers. In order for MOOCs to work, it is pivotal to understand and tune what teachers are expecting.

Rethinking assessment:
In MOOC new assessment options are now provided ranging from mandatory participation in discussion forums (with clear rubrics on what is expected from the participants), over student produced content using digital tools such as YouTube and Facebook, to peer-to-peer reviewing.

There are also a set of newly, automated assessment options being developed. eRubrics are also an assessment tool that gets increasing attention especially in the competency based educational models which emphasize student’s self-regulation skills.

Increased success for students from vulnerable socio-economic classes
Due to its complex interactions and prior knowledge, MOOCs risk to increase the digital divide between students from different socio-economic classes. However, recent research from Jiang et al. (2014) have provided proof that with the right approach MOOC can be used to strengthen students from more vulnerable socio-economic classes.

Scaffolded teacher development:
The complexity in new teaching and learning skills is a reality within MOOCs. This poses a problem for both the educational institutes, as well as for the teachers. But there is an approach which allows teachers to gradually become expert at MOOCs, while staying on top of their field at the same time: MOOC blending.

In order to provide teachers with MOOC confidence, it is crucial that their digital and technological skills are enhanced, and that a gradual exposure to MOOC is planned within the educational institute. This will allow both teachers and learners to understand and build upon current MOOC pedagogies and interactions, so teachers can get the most out of this new learning and teaching format.

Are you ready for new challenges? If you would like to become the instructor of your own MOOC, after completed “sMOOC Step by Step” please apply to “Become an e-teacher”. We can’t wait to see what you create. – Team UoMan.

Note: Article idea and some texts are taken from:

sMOOC Bac2Sciences

The Bac2Sciences sMOOC team keeps on collecting proofs of recognition for its work and it is well deserved!

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The sMOOC, Bac2Sciences was developed by female teachers who are devoted to their students with the idea to allow participants to revise their “baccalauréat”. The team consists of geographically distant teachers, from various disciplines, with complementary profiles and a common motivation to make their students succeed.

Thus, while proposing this MOOC, they have enabled their students to self-train and work together in the co-construction of knowledge on a common device.

This MOOC has been a real success and its creators are very proud!


Over the last few months they have been collecting proofs of recognition for their work:

  • A favorite at Ludovia#13
  • Finalist at the e-Education Symposium
  • A multiple selection at the “Innovative Teachers’ Forum”
  • Representations in different conferences and events: Educatec-Educatice, Clic 2016, Ludovia#13 …

At our level, we are also very proud we have been able to accompany them. Indeed, the ECO project allowed them to benefit both from the creation space on its platform and from our technical and pedagogical support.

Congratulations again to such a beautiful team!

As a reminder, the sMOOC content is still accessible here

MOOC project

Reasons to develop your own MOOC

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To MOOC or Not to MOOC?. There are plenty of great reasons to embrace MOOCs. Teaching a MOOC is a great experience with lots of practical value. Here are some reasons to consider teaching a MOOC:

AcadeMOOC projectmic research
Research can be a catalyst for teaching a MOOC. This is a tough area because MOOCs are so new, there are almost limitless avenues to explore.

MOOCs give teachers a chance to see how other teachers work. There is a value of learning about pedagogy from observing other teachers. If they are good, you might decide to emulate them; if they are bad, you might try to avoid repeating their mistakes.

Professional experience
It allowed you to observe how they are designed and taught, and to learn from how other participants react.

On line learning often prevents the instructor from being as spontaneous as they can in a face-to-face class, and although it requires a lot of pre-planning of material, instructors can still find creative ways of responding to participant interests and requests. You can develop new skills about how to make a video feel more interactive and dynamic for your students.

By comparing the four different MOOCs, you can see the “best practices” of MOOC pedagogy used across the courses.

Re-live the student experience
Some instructors want to teach a MOOC many times over with the goal of creating a super-efficient, super-effective learning experience.

MOOCs allow teachers to find out what it is like to be on the receiving end of eLearning today. You may be using some technology in your teaching, but you may not have experienced this learning as a student before.Re-live the student experience – on line!

Learn by doing
A very common purpose for wanting to teach a MOOC is simply that—to teach a MOOC. Educators are inquisitive by nature and their interest in MOOCs is an extension of that curiosity.

To learn something new, some people would traditionally invest time and effort into reading a book. Others would browse the Internet for resources.

However, if you prefer social learning to the solitary pursuit of reading a book (after all, as an adult learner and teacher, you probably already read a lot of books and other material as it is!), or if you feel you need a little bit of scaffolding when dipping into a new topic, MOOCs are an option. So, you can learn something new in a structured way.

Whereas previously, you could follow an entire course’s lectures by downloading lectures from iTunes U, for example, the benefit of a MOOC is that you can do assignments or quizzes to validate your learning, but doing the assignments forced you to reflect on and analyses the topics in ways I would not have done independently.

Socialize the learning experience
The forums and peer assessments can also socialize the learning experience for you, enriching the depth and breadth of your learning.

Find well-chosen (mostly free) resources on a topic or sub-topic.

While you can find all sorts of discussion forums on line for different interest groups, those on MOOCs have some of the most diverse groups of people you can ever see.

The discussions can range from directly related to the class syllabus to completely learner-generated topics. You can join several community conversations about topics that interest you.

Because the courses are time-limited, the conversations can be more intense (time-wise) than on other discussion forums where responses can take weeks or months.
You will find that your classmates dove deep into how that related to their experiences.

Depending on the MOOCS you could find that many of the community discussions are focused on educational and psychological aspects.

Personal learning goals
MOOCs vary widely in quality. There is no reason to dismiss MOOCs simply because they are on line, are delivered to the masses or are free. And there is also no reason to glorify a MOOC based on these same characteristics.

As adult learners with personal learning goals, teachers can approach MOOCs in an intentional manner and make use of their potential.

I would suggest that any educator with even a remote interest in e learning for professional development should not miss out on this opportunity. I hope to encourage my own students (themselves teachers) to try out a MOOC. Meanwhile, happy MOOCing!

MOOC is really all about you. 
If you would like to become the instructor of your own MOOC, after completed “sMOOC Step by Step” please apply to “Become an e-teacher”. We can’t wait to see what you create. – Team UoMan.

Note: Article idea and some texts are taken from: and

Picture in Picture / PIP video

Videos for MOCCs: Picture in Picture (PIP)

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Considering that video is the main method of content delivery in MOOCs, we are going to provide you an overview of  Picture in Picture (PIP) videos for MOOCs.

This article forms integral part of the on line MOOC course Videos for teaching, learning and communication,created by The University of Manchester. It will end the 4th of December. You can still enrol!

NoPicture in Picture / PIP videowadays, Picture in Picture videos are frequently used to present two different scenes taking place at the same time. Millions of people tend to create picture in picture video while playing games, explaining texts, even promoting products and so on, trying to convey much more information to their viewers in the simplest way.

Traditional techniques for creating picture-in-picture videos are expensive, no portable, or time-consuming.
If you want to show yourself in a video and demonstrate at the appropriate time, well, it is very easy to achieve if you choose the right tool. We have several solutions:

  • Make a video of yourself first and then insert this video into the background video.
  • The other is that you are capable of recording yourself and video at the same time.

Solution 1: Screen Recorder + Editor

Picture in Picture video refers to a video that is put one small video clip over a background one, so we need to prepare two videos at first. You can choose one screen recorder to make the video you plan to present for your students; also, you need a webcam recorder to record yourself. Then, a video editor which allows you to add Picture in Picture effect can help you to create side by side video.

Solution 2: Screen Recorder

Other solution is to use professional screen recorder software that allows you to make side by side video simply in one click. It’s not only a screen recorder but a webcam recorder and a basic editor too.

This technique uses a laptop computer with a video capture device to acquire the ultrasound feed. Simultaneously, a webcam captures a live video feed of the transducer and patient position and live audio. Both sources are streamed onto the computer screen and recorded by screen capture software. This technique makes the process of recording picture-in-picture ultrasound videos more access
ible for ultrasound educators and researchers for use in their presentations or publications.

You can still enrol! We can’t wait to see what you filmed after completed “Videos for teaching, learning, and communication– Team UoMan.

Note: Article idea and some texts are taken from:

MOOC accesibility

How will you promote your MOOC to attract participants?

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“sMOOC Step by Step” is a free Massive Open Online Course – MOOC is being made available by ECO, which is a European project based on Open Educational Resources (OER), that gives free access to a list of MOOCs in 6 languages, in most languages via Closed Captions (via YouTube subtitles).

This artiMOOC accesibilitycle forms integral part of that course. Our fourth edition has been already launched so you enrol!

In this course you will have the opportunity to learn more about how to design your communication plan for your own MOOC. A communication plan is a written document that serves as a guide to the communication and sponsorship efforts throughout the duration of the project.



It is a living and working document and is updated periodically as audience needs change. It explains how to convey the right message, from the right communicator, to the right audience, through the right channel, at the right time.

It addresses the six basic elements of communications: communicator, message, communication channel, feedback mechanism, receiver/audience, and time frame.

A communication plan includes:

  • “Who” – the target audiences
  • “What” – the key messages that are trying to be articulated
  • “When” – timing, it will specify the appropriate time of delivery for each message
  • “Why” – the desired outcomes
  • “How” – the communication vehicle (how the message will be delivered)
  • “By whom” – the sender (determining who will deliver the information and how he or she is chosen)Many agencies, PR, advertising and media alike, claim to have this capability describes.

The best time to develop your plan is in conjunction with your annual budgeting or organizational planning process.

Here you have some tips about how to develop your plan:

  • Define objectives and goals.
  • Conduct a research-communication audit.
  • Identify the purpose of your communication.
  • Identify your audience.
  • Plan and design your message.
  • Consider your resources. Identify tools.
  • Plan for obstacles and emergencies.
  • Establish a timetable.
  • Strategic how you’ll connect with the media and others who can help you spread your message
  • Create an action plan
  • Decide how you’ll evaluate your plan and adjust it, based on the results of carrying it out
  • Evaluate the result.

What does your intended audience read, listen to, watch, engage in?  You have to reach them by placing your message where they’ll see it.

In order to communicate effectively, you need to be able to truly understand your workplace context, choose appropriate methods of communication to suit your audience, plan and undertake detailed communication plans, and follow up on the success of your communication and messaging. The importance of accessibility is an essential communication tool to provide equal, barrier-free access to information for educational institutions.

We know that promotion and marketing are necessary to attract students to a MOOC. This will likely utilize social media and professional networks to advertise the course and gain attention.
ECO content can be visualized on computers, tablets and/or Smart phones.
You can check our social media sites where we promote our MOOCS:

If you would like to become the instructor of your own MOOC, after completed “sMOOC Step by Step” please apply to “Become an e-teacher”. We can’t wait to see what you create. – Team UoMan.

Note: Article idea and some texts are taken from:

Text Overlay

On line Tools and Apps for Adding Text to your own videos MOOC’s: Text Overlay

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Considering that video is the main method of content delivery in MOOCs, we are going to provide you an overview of video types: Text Overlay.

This article forms integral part of the on line MOOC course Videos for teaching, learning and communication,created by The University of Manchester.

There are various on line tools for adding text to video. Before selecting one, you’d better weigh the pros and cons first. Check first the solutions for video text maker available and decide which you would like to use.

Free On line Websites for Adding Text to Video

  • YouTube Editor
    Text Overlay

    There is a lot of editing that you can do with this software program. It will offer you a complete solution to your editing problems specifically touching on adding text to video. You will enjoy simplistic and stress-free editing of your videos on line.
    Pros: You will have an easy time learning how to use the program and has high processing speeds that you can take full advantage of.
    Cons: Only basic features come with this software so don’t expect to enjoy all the features.
  • Video Tool Box
    If you have a video file as big as 600MB, this will be the ideal software program to use for adding text. It can analyze it and display all the important information concerning bit rate, resolution, frame rate and codec.
    Pros: It can function well on both Android tablets and phones which will offer you maximum benefits. With just a few clicks, you will be able to complete the editing work.
    Cons: It is highly susceptible to virus attacks which pose huge dangers to your computer system.
  • FileLab Video Editor
    You will be able to edit your videos for free using this on line software program. The key capabilities for this program include adding text to video, overlaying videos, adding transitions and managing several file formats.Pros: You will have the best time downloading and installing this program.
    Cons: The program is highly prone to suffering virus attacks and keeps on asking for plug-in re-installation.

Non Free On line Websites for Adding Text to Video

  • Pixorial 
    It offers a guarantee for stress-free editing and flexible sharing of videos upon editing. There is also seamless and universal importing of video files that you can manage with this program.
    Pros:It is a very simple to use program and useful when editing. The interface is good-looking which offers a reasonably high turnaround.
    Cons:The price seems expensive thus very few people can afford it.
  • WeVideo
    This is top video editing software that you can use online. It is very easy to use, can be hosted on cloud allowing for editing anywhere and anytime plus assured creative control.
    Pros:The interface is user-friendly which makes editing easy and enjoyable since you have the largest selection of effects to use.
    Cons:The price has to be where many people don’t like and it tends to increase as you export your videos.

Free Apps for Adding Text to Videos on iOS Devices

  • Vont
    You will get this software from the app store and will allow you ease in adding text to a video file. It has over 400 fonts all available for your use.
    Pros: It is easy to adjust size, color, gradient, stroke, shadow and background of your text. That will allow you to customize videos as per your personal preference.
    Cons: Its availability for free might cause you limitations to some important features.
  • Text on Video Square 
    This program has cool features that will definitely make your editing excellent and enjoyable. Using the software is another cool thing to enjoy when adding text to your video file.
    Pros: The app eliminates all the advertisements which are sometimes very annoying in a video and allows for easy video sharing.
    Cons:There are several countries where downloading the software will not be applicable.
  • Overvideo
    This app will provide you with the best way to have text added to your video file without experiencing any challenges.
    Pros: The time line feature will help you select the right positioning of the text.
    Cons: The full package of this app does not work effectively so you should not pay for that.
  • Splice
    This is a very powerful editor with quality tools to offer simple editing through using a time line. Apart from text, it allows one to add effects.
    Pros: It is a good choice for use by beginners who are learning basics of video editing because of its intuitive interface.
    Cons: It has very limited export options.

Non Free Apps for Adding Text to Videos on iOS Devices

  • Gravie
    Gravie works at very high speeds and offer ease of use in editing videos. It is one of the best programs to use in adding text to a video file
    Pros: The quality of edited video remains high thanks to the templates offered. You can as well share your edited video easily.
    Cons: The download option for the software is not available in all countries.

Free Apps for Adding Text to a Video on Android Devices

  • VidTrim
    The limitless number of features you will enjoy using with this app is the best thing that can happen to any video editor. Apart from adding text, you will be in a position of trimming as well as merging videos.
    Pros: Its support for multiple languages means you will enjoy using the app in different countries.
    Cons: You will not get maximum benefits since it’s available freely.
  • AndroVid
    The high number of features for this app will make it an ideal choice to add text to your videos any time. You will also have easy time sharing your edited video.
    Pros: It has very powerful capabilities for editing that suit Android devices.
    Cons: Expect some limitations because it’s available as a free version.
  • VideoShow
    It is regarded as the most popular software program for video editing in the Android market. You will have an excellent experience editing video with the program.
    Pros: It is very easy to share edited videos on sites like YouTube and Facebook in addition to adding multiple texts.
    Cons: There are features limitations because it’s available as a free version.

Non Free Apps for Adding Text to a Video on Android Devices

  • Video Editor Trim Cut Add Text
    You will have this app help you create an awesome video with simple editing tasks that include inserting text.
    Pros: You can beautify your video through adding text to the vid sections as well as enjoy easy video sharing.
    Cons: Downloading might occasion some challenges as well as features limitation.
  • Qditor

    It is easy editing that this app offers and which will encourage you to use it in adding text to your videos. After that, you can share freely with friends.
    Pros: The app has an intuitive interface that makes it suitable for use by even beginners.
    Cons: The price range might be too high for some people to afford.

We can’t wait to see what you filmed after completed “Videos for teaching, learning, and communication”. You can still enrol! – Team UoMan.

Note: Article idea and some texts are taken from:

Voice overs

Videos for MOOCs: Presentation slides with voice-over

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Considering that video is the main method of content delivery in MOOCs, we are going to provide you an overview of presentation slides with voice-over videos.

This article forms integral part of the on line MOOC course communication, created by The University of Manchester. It will end the 4th of December. You can still enrol!

A voVoice oversice over is the invisible speaker you hear in TV and cinema commercials, radio spots, e-learning, internet, DVD/CD-ROM, product and company presentations, documentaries, pod-casts, animated films, flash presentations, IVR voice prompts, on-hold marketing, navigation technology, etc.

Adding voice over to existing PowerPoint slides can be a great way to turn slides you’ve used for years into stand-alone flipped content.

The basic functions of PowerPoint are pretty easy to use, but it has many features that can really take your presentation to a new level. The ability to supplement a presentation with voice-over or other audio is one such function.

Adding your voice to PowerPoint slides is a pretty easy process, and it can turn a presentation from a plain set of slides into a self-contained instructional asset that stands alone and can be used by students to self-teach. This can be a great way to test the waters with flipped content delivery.

The basic steps are as follows:

  • Have the right equipment – You’ll need a microphone to record your voice and a working sound-card or integrated audio.
  • Create a new folder and presentation file – As you record narration, sound files will get created as part of the presentation, and having them all in one folder will help you manage them.
  • ‘Record Narration’ tool – Open PowerPoint and find the “Slideshow” command in the top bar. Once you click on “Slideshow”, a menu will appear – select “Record Narration”.
  • Set sound levels and properties – In the “Record Narration” dialogue box that appeared after clicking the previous command, click the “Select Microphone Level” button and use the slider to adjust the microphone’s level to ensure your microphone is recording at optimal sound levels.
  • Recording – To record, simply click “Record Narration” on the Slide Show menu. In the bottom left corner of the “Record Narration” window is a check box for “Link Narrations In” – click this box to check it on (you will need to do this each time you start recording a section of voice-over). You can build out your voice-over gradually from the beginning (in other words, you don’t need to do it all in one take). As you record new sections, you will be prompted each time as to whether you wish start on the first slide or on the current slide.

Note that if want to record over a section you are not happy with, just record over it and your new content will replace your old content (as long as you save it). Once you are done recording a part, hit the “Escape” key and PowerPoint will ask you if you want to save the timings on the slides. Always choose yes. Save your PowerPoint presentation each time you complete any section of narration.

Once you have completed part or all of your narration, play your presentation to watch and hear it. You will probably have to experiment with these steps and the overall process to get through your first voiced-over presentation, but once you’ve done it once, you will know what it takes to repeat the process.

You can save it in a few formats. You may want to try different approaches depending on where you want to deliver it. Depending on the PowerPoint, you can export your enhanced slide deck in WMA format so it plays as a video.

You can still enrol! We can’t wait to see what you filmed after completed “Videos for teaching, learning, and communication” – Team UoMan.

Note: Article idea and some texts are taken from:

sMOOC Step by Step

Massive Open Online Course (MOOCs) types

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The first MOOCs emerged from the open educational resources (OER) movement. The term MOOC was coined in 2008 by Dave Cormier of the University of Prince Edward Island in response to a course called Connectivism and Connective Knowledge. Stephen Downes considers these so-called cMOOCs to be more “creative and dynamic” than the current xMOOCs.

As MOOCs have evolved, there appear to be two distinct types: those that emphasize the connectivist philosophy, and those that resemble more traditional courses. To distinguish the two, Stephen Downes proposed the terms “cMOOC” and “xMOOC”.While MOOCs have originated in Canada and the United States, the cMOOC and the xMOOC model used there does not fit entirely with the European take on education.

sMsMOOC Step by StepOOCs with a strong presence of mobile devices, which are more suitable for a wider range of students. sMOOCs relay on concepts such as equity, social inclusion, accessibility, quality, diversity, autonomy and openness. Students are involved in the process of learning by doing, by generating content and learning all together.

A sMOOC is defined by a number of educational and communicative features. Among which, out stand the following:

  • Educational design is influenced by social media style.Mobile technologies and ubiquitous learning become particularly relevant because students will be learning in virtual communities, which enhance motivation and promotes interactivity.
  • It is focused on the students learning process. Both tasks proposed by teachers and learners own initiatives will be a key element supporting collaboration and dialogue. Among virtual communities created in each course.
  • It is necessary to measure the success of a sMOOC from the students own goals, interests and satisfaction, instead of learning results imposed by teachers.
  • A short adaptation period is required from the students, which must be reached during the first week of the MOOC.

“sMOOC Step by Step” is a free Social Massive Open Online Course – MOOC is being made available by ECO, which is a European project based on OER, that gives free access to a list of MOOCs in 6 languages. This course offers a practical and theoretical approach in the learning process, as well as, help you create your own sMOOC (social MOOC) in a step by step way.

We have MOOC mania but all MOOCs are not created equal and there is lots of species of MOOC. This is good and we must learn from these experiments to move forward and not get bogged down in old traditionalist v modernist arguments. MOOCs will inform and shape what we do within and without institutions. What is important is to focus on the real needs of real learners.

To this end, it is important to define taxonomy of MOOCs not from the institutional but the pedagogic perspective, by their learning functionality, not by their origins.

So here is  a starting list of some of them:

  • transferMOOCs
    Transfer MOOCs literally take existing courses and decant them into a MOOC platform, on the pedagogic assumption that they are teacher-led and many rely on a ‘name’ of the institution or academic to attract learners. The pedagogic assumption is that of transfer from teacher and course content to learner. Many mimic the traditional academic course with lectures, short quizzes, set texts and assessments. You could describe them as being on the cutting edge of tradition. Coursera courses largely fall into this category.
  • madeMOOCs
    Made MOOCs tend to more innovative in their use of video, avoiding talking heads in favour of Khan Academy or Udacity hand on board sequences. They also tend to have more of a formal, quality driven approach to the creation of material and more crafted and challenging assignments, problem solving and various levels of sophisticated software-driven interactive experiences. Peer work and peer-assessment, used to cope with the high teacher-student ratios. These tend to be more vocational in nature, VOOCs (Vocational Open ONine Courses), where the aim is to acquire a skill or skills. Udacity take this aapproach. Remember that Thrun and Norvig were not academics but corporate researchers working for Google.
  • synchMOOCs
    Synchronous MOOCs have a fixed start date, tend to have fixed deadlines for assignments and assessments and a clear end date. They often around the agricultural, academic calendar. For example, Coursera offer courses on strict standard end dates with clear deadlines for assignment. Udacity started with their ‘hexamester’ 7 week courses with fixed start dates. Many argue that this helps motivation and aligns teacher availability and student cohort work.
  • asynchMOOCs
    Asynchronous MOOCs have no or frequent start dates, tend to have no or looser deadlines for assignments and assessments and no final end date. The pedagogic advantages of asynchronous MOOCs is that they can literally be taken any time, anywhere and clearly work better over different time zones. Interestingly, Udacity have relaxed their courses to enrol and proceed at user’s own pace. Some sceptics point towards this as being a tactic to reduce drop-out rates due to missed assignment deadlines. Note that Coursera offers a completely open self-study option but this does not warrant a certificate of completion.
  • adaptiveMOOCs
    Adaptive MOOCs use adaptive algorithms to present personalised learning experiences, based on dynamic assessment and data gathering on the course and courses. They rely on networks of pre-requisites and take learners on different, personalised paths through the content. This has been identified by the Gates Foundation as an important new area for large scale productivity in on line courses. These MOOCs tend not to deliver flat, linear structured knowledge but leaning experiences driven by back-end algorithms. Analytics are also used to change and improve the course in the future. Cogbooks is a leading example of this type of MOOC.
  • groupMOOCs
    Group MOOCs start with small, collaborative groups of students. The aim is to increase student retention. Stanford, the MOOC manufacturing factory, has spun out NovoEd (formerly Venture Lab) which offers both MOOCs and closed, limited number, internal courses. They argue that some subjects and courses, such as entrepreneurship and business courses, lose a lot in looses, open MOOC structures and need a more focused approach to group work. The groups are software selected by geography, ability and type. They have mentors and rate each other’s commitment and progress. Groups are also dissolved and reformed during the course.
  • connectivistMOOCS
    Pioneered by Geperge Siemens and Stephen Downes, these connectivist MOOCs rely on the connections across a network rather than pre-defined content. Siemen’s famously  said “cMOOCs focus on knowledge creation and generation whereas xMOOCs focus on knowledge duplication”. More simply, Smith says “in an xMOOC you watch videos, in a cMOOC you make videos”. The whole point is to harvest and share knowledge that is contributed by the participants and not see the ‘course’ as a diet of fairly, fixed knowledge. These courses tend to create their own trajectory, rather than follow a linear path.
  • miniMOOCSs
    So far, MOOCs tend to be associated with Universities, whose courses last many weeks and often fit the semester structure and timetable of traditional institutions. We have also seem the emergence of shorter MOOCs for content and skills that do not require such long timescales. This is typical of commercial e-learning courses, which tend to be more intense experiences that last for hours and days, not weeks. They are more suitable for precise domains and tasks with clear learning objectives. The Open Badges movement tends to be more aligned with this type of MOOC.

Note that these are not mutually exclusive categories, as one can have a transfer MOOC that is synchronous or asynchronous. What’s important here is that we see MOOCs as informing the debate around learning to get over the obvious problems of relevance, access and cost. This is by no means a definitive taxonomy but it’s a start. I’d really appreciate any comments, critiques or new categories.

Did you think about what type of MOOC would you like to create?. We can’t wait to see what you create after completed “sMOOC Step by Step– Team UoMan.

Note: Article idea and some texts are taken from:

"How to Succeed in the English B1 Exam" 3ed EN

“How to Succeed in the English B1 Exam” back with news!

By | News, News about ECO | No Comments


A new edition of our renowned ECO MOOC “How to Succeed in the English B1 Exam” is back with news on the 22nd of November. This six-week course is aimed at learners interested in taking an English B1 Level Language test and understanding the different components of this type of exam. The course focuses on learning strategies and tips to prepare for language tests efficiently. The main goal of this free online course is to help prepare students for any English B1 Level exam, such as  “Prueba libre de idiomas UNED CUID”. This standardized test comprises all linguistic skills (listening, reading, speaking and writing) and fulfills the requirements of official language accreditations, such as ACLES.

"How to Succeed in the English B1 Exam" 3ed EN

“How to Succeed in the English B1 Exam” 3ed EN

Some other important goals of the course:

  • To show participants the different components of the English B1 level exam.
  • To describe the assessment and marking criteria.
  • To share learning strategies and tips to help students succeed in the test.
  • To practice collaboratively written and oral English, creating a community of learning in which peer feedback is encouraged.

What does it mean to have a B1 Certificate in English? Having a B1 certificate in English is the key to success in many countries. While a degree and complementary courses can open doors, a B1 certificate in English can be an equally important part of your pitch for employment and further academic training. Due to the Bologna Process requisites, university students need to prove their language competence at different stages and for many purposes such as Erasmus mobility, graduating, entrance to master programmes, among others.

The MOOC starts next week but you already can enrol here. We are looking forward to seeing you aorund!