https://www.open2study.com/ launched today. If you poke around, it is clearly a Moodle site, sitting behind a Drupal site providing the front pages.
Does anyone know who built it? They seem to have done a nice job. I am wondering things like:
- When did they start work on it?
- What custom add-on are they written, either from the community, or their own?
- What level of scalability have they managed?
Perhaps an even more interesting question is:
- What's the pedagogy like?
but since no courses have started yet, we can't go and look.
Open2Study MOOC courses have started, I'm taking one right now - says it has 2300 students taking it (Project Management). The topics are broken up into four weeks. Content is short videos with various resources, e.g., documents, slide shares. There's a discussion for each video/topic. There are self-assessment pop quizzes (typically one question) and it looks like an assessment at the end of each week's worth of topics - haven't taken it yet, but presume it would be multiple choice. What's neat is they've incorporated badges to mark various accomplishments, e.g., watched video, posted to discussions, taken a pop quiz, etc.
It's very slick. I especially like the Vote Up | Vote Down widget on their discussion forums. Nice interface. Actually the only thing I thought that gave it away as a Moodle site was the discussion forums listings. Otherwise I wouldn't have known that it was a Moodle site.
Wow, deja vu!
You're right of course, I can't remember now, something I saw when I was poking around, but it escapes me now.
Great to see people like it
Catalyst IT in Sydney did most of the coding (source: I was on the dev team), working with some great folks from OUA and Stamford Interactive.
There's obviously been a few customisation to add extra features (e.g. the subject forums, navigation and the videos with the interactive transcripts) and to make it more scalable (e.g. using MUC for caching course structures). Amazon as a hosting platform provides some great tools to make things scale too.
If you're heading to the MoodleMoot this year then be sure to catch the Open2Study showcase session being run there.
Can we use open2study source? we are going to make one like this in arabic language.
If you want to drop me a line we can talk to you about hosting it for you
Thanks for this Tim!
I've been doing research as to how Moodle can be effectively used for MOOCs. Do you think I can connect to the people of openstudy and ask them regarding the server specs that they have in order for their MOOCs to run smoothly?
Or is there anyone here who have implemented a MOOC using moodle successfully and was able to address the problem of scalability really well ?
Thank you Tim
when you say you have been doing research, do you mean with regard to course design and/or the techy side?
Got an itch about this....tell us a bit more eh
Fun timing. I just finished my blog post about this (http://www.bobfigueroajr.com/blog/2014/01/17/platforms-for-mooc-research/). I don't think it can be called a full-blown research, but just an investigation (forgive me for the term). I will be comparing eLearning Platforms according to a set of criteria that will be formulated after a Delphi discussion that we will be doing early February.
I have a separate investigation involving Moodle only as a viable MOOC platform, that's why I am getting all the information I can get as published articles about this are limited (if not nil). If you know of similar people who are in this line of research, I would be glad to talk to them. Hopefully, I can evolve this into a full blown research project
I enjoyed reading your blog, most interesting to find that you are aiming to collect data at the Japan moot, sounds like a plan to me. Although you are aiming to conduct interviews, what sample size do you think could be anticipated there for an online questionnaire? If it is healthy enough for what I need-I would like to talk more about that either here or your blog?
The following links might be useful, yes, there is research- may be of interest to you, which I have stumbled across this evening:
First, thank you so much for these papers that you've shared! They will surely be useful for what I'll be starting for my university.
As for your question:
I'm planning to initially network with people who really have used Moodle for their own MOOC implementations. I'm developing a system-centered set of questions (Server Specs, Max / Ave concurrent users, etc). One troublesome aspect of Moodle for me personally is how it keeps the logs. There was one time that our Moodle instance failed because disk space was all taken up and apparently some of it was due to the large table containing the logs. I've heard about the developers planning to give options to store it externally (which is awesome!), but I haven't really read enough. I confess that I still have a lot to learn, as I never really thought of Moodle to be a research interest before. So i guess I have a lot of catching up to do. Thanks for giving me a jumpstart! I see that you're a researcher in Moodle and MOOCs based on your other posts. Can I be your apprentice? I hope we can talk more about your research so that we can compare the results that I'm getting in our instance.
Here's what I'm planning to do in the Moot:
1) Listen to the selected presenters who used Moodle for their MOOCs. Network with them and ask for time to personally interview them using the questionnaire that I am developing.
2.) Select a subset from them and do an online Delphi Study.
3.) Implement the results of the Delphi study.
4.) Report my technical findings, especially in terms of sustainability in our context as I am from an academic institution in a developing country, where budget is really limited.
Now that you've mentioned a large-scale online survey, it actually gave me new ideas. Maybe we can do that, but I think the questions should be more general (?). What do you think ?
I would love to talk to you more about this! You just made me all the more excited about my research :D
how about you drop me a line email@example.com, and include for each of the four steps you have outlined, the following:
-aim, focus and purpose
-interview questions you are aiming to use
I can then take a wide view of what you are doing, help shape question frames, so that you get the data you want and we can chat about some collaboration.
Many thanks for this Visvanath. A nutshell state of play follows:
One purpose of the MOOC was to see if it could scale to provide learning and teaching for a large number of people...Answer was Yes. Next step is to evaluate the course to inform quality enhancement.
Current research project: completed. Although need to do a last edit with the paper and then disseminate details through journal/conference.
A bit about that work:
-impact of disruptive technologies on existing models of education=changing perceptions about the nature of learning
-Paradox of MOOC drop-out rates and huge numbers of enrolments=confused perceptions about the nature of learning
-Learning theories that inform online pedagogies have evolved in line with evolving technologies for distance education, but selection of pedagogy needs to be fit for purpose
-limited research about how theory informs pedagogical practice
-possible need for thoretical evolution that stems from practice as technology continues to move forward e.g. Web 3
A methodology was designed in an attempt to enable some degree of specificity about pedagogy and opportunities for learning within the MOOC. Two qualitative data sets were analysed and triangulated with a third data set of documentation.
Findings and conclusions.............you will have to wait a little while longer-once past peer review (hopefully)!
apols.....hectic weekend here
What is clear about the research is that the work of the Devs is so closely linked with Quality assurance and enhancement for T&L. Appears to be, to be honest, the jewel in the crown of Moodle.
Interesting comment here Dawn. I have long thought a way to get Moodle UI and development in the detail to really hum would be to reduce the distance between practitioner (admins, teachers, moodle trainers, designers) and coders. Have the coders spend some time teaching, designing and administrating.
One example of the gap is the tracker. I've been told three times recently I'm welcome to provide a code patch. Even though I've said I am not a coder. There are also a lot of hanging questions on the tracker; I worry we may be working on just a few to many fronts. Like we have just added events recording as another area being worked on.
The guys behind the tracker do a great job, but I'm not sure the QA is T&L, visual design & practice based as much as it is stability and good practice for code.
On balance though I should say that never before have more of the hot issues I really could benefit from actually had some attention. To name some: Printing quizzes for moderation. (Plugin from Tim) Drag and drop of images into editor (Marina I think) Navigation and SOD (UI project) A decent theme (eg Essential, no supported by YUI3 available for plugins) Forum (Looking good for 2.7 I hope) Email user details of account (New in 2.6)
We had Lasic as a teacher researcher working at MoodleHQ for a while. When he moved on I rather speculatively suggested loaning coders to schools for bit, do a bit of this and a bit of that with real people using Moodle under fire, and code in the backroom of the main server room.
My 2c worth.
I've heard about the Essential theme. Were you able to try it ?
How is it ?
Roberto, the Essential theme is in the plugins database here: https://moodle.org/plugins/view.php?plugin=theme_essential
Yes, I've tried it. It looks good, but still has nothing that solves the scroll of death. I've asked if there is any likelihood of getting Awesome bar into it. I have posted here: https://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=244717
It has some great new options pages, and lots of social media stuff, advertising etc. The download stats are amazing. Julian's effort is remarkable in that It has attracted interest from some good coding people, but will not get into core since it uses one thingy (JQuery) where Moodle core requires the use of another competing thingy (YUI3).
There seems not to be a person coding with the Moodle competing thingy (YUI) to get a product like Essential into Moodle core, which as a non-coder is a mystery to me.
I actually could feel a parable coming on here, but I will refrain. Some hacked art:
At present Essential is a Moving target. Bugs and the swatting thereof is a weekly activity. All good fun.
So essential looks great, and has a number of coding decisions that make it great for mobile, and others I really ;like (getting away from three columns clutter) but we don't use it because of the navigation. I'm choosing usability over looks, and so we use a theme with the Awesome bar in it. But I am hopeful that a nicer looking theme with nav solution is on the way.
I will post back here if I find it.
I sadly am not a fan of Awesomebar. It is great in theory, but creates huge menu chains. I actually had my staff ask I remove it from my school site last I used it.
The image show in this post (https://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=252385#p1095818) really sums up the issue. Makes things alot harder, not easier.
In short, there is no right answer to help everyone.
I'm still not properly back from being ill yet. But I was interested in this comment Dawn:
"One purpose of the MOOC was to see if it could scale to provide learning and teaching for a large number of people...Answer was Yes. Next step is to evaluate the course to inform quality enhancement"
I'll be interested to see where you get your answer "Yes"
I'd say "For some", "Depends on your view of learning", "Supports linear and only if it's all to do with narrow learning outcomes" and "Transmission model".
Can Moodle OOTB [with the tool set it it has] provide power for participants to navigate their own way through the learning objectives? (Given there is only a finite amount admins can do manually)
On the other hand, I do not believe you can really evaluate this Particular MOOC until a second run through. We really did not get some of the bugs out of the system until part way through.
Aware this may not be a popular view.
Thanks for this Derek.
It is also my question, but mine is in a systems perspective.
How many concurrent users were supported by this Moodle MOOC ? What was the maximum? Did it fail at some point (Database Error, Crash), and why.
I am interested in this because slowdowns and crashes happened to us during our first implementation of a MOOC and it directly affected the interest of students. We want to do it right next time without compromising (financial) sustainability, hence this research I'm doing.
I want to join the second run. Please keep me in the loop
juicy responses as always
Going to address the lot here, with the aim of responding to Roberto later.
It appears to me that the Devs in Moodle are surely not just coders but all who contribute to the 'development' of Moodle for L&T, known for stating the bleedin obvious, so forgive me here.
RE: Tracker 'guys behind tracker do a great job but I'm not sure the QA is T&L' agree not 'is' T&L but ensures QA and QE for teachers in 'how' they can utilise the tools for a variety of purposes.
Nice to read your acknowledgements of those tools, highlights my previous point (e.g. quiz).
RE: Did the MOOC scale to promote L&T oppts for a large number of people? To date we know that at the end of the course there were over 9,000 enrolments....yep says very little, for sure, but there were also over 2,600 practice courses-documented in the MOOC, now then that tells me Moodle did manage to scale for a large number of people who applied their knowledge and understanding in such practice areas-the evidence is there. More in depth detail as to 'how' requires evaluation of the course-back to evaluation in a minute.
As for the number of participants who completed the course....then that is a question for Mary or Helen, I don't have those figures sorry.
RE: 'I'd say for some depends on your view of learning...supports linear and only if it's all to do with narrow LOs and transmission model' Oh contrare.....our current research appears to suggest movement beyond this.
And our current research suggests teachers facilitate 'with the use of the moodle tools' participant self directed activity e.g. 'to navigate their own way through LOs.
Finally, again bleedin obvious here.....why ask for course evaluations from participants e.g. in the MOOC if there is no plan to inform future courses with their voices/opinions? I think it is good practice to evaluate a course (warts'n all) to inform the next round to enhance its quality.
Roberto-you are next on my list-need to lay down for a minute-head hurts!