Week 1 – MOOC first impressions

DelftX: OG101x Open Government – this a well constructed online course – it offers functionality to track progress, discussion boards and a wiki. It’s got nice features like a workload grid showing the estimated time for each activity. At first glance though the course seems very assessment heavy! With both a quiz and an assignment required each week. I’m assuming the quiz will be computer marked but I’m wondering how the assignment will be managed?

Open_Government_grading
Grading Figure from DelftX:OG101X Open Government

Image from Delft University of Technology licensed under a CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0

Each week there is one required paper and one recommended paper so far fewer than for my DEGC course! As a learning technologist I am impressed with the use of the technology, the videos are short and clear with subtitles and the transcript displayed alongside with clickable links. A PDF of the transcript and a PDF of the slides can also be downloaded. There are also options to speed up or slow the video. The video’s are hosted on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SMYd2nAMgdMBut accessed from YouTube you don’t have all the additional content and the extra video player options such as the speed adjustments. The video has a licence CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0  (as does all the course content) this is actually a slightly more restrictive Creative Commons licence because it can’t be used or remixed for commercial purposes (NC = Non commercial), and must be re-licensed under the same licence (SA = share alike) but it would let you remix or build on the video as long as it’s credited.

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Getting started – registering

The MOOC I’ve chosen to undertake, DelftX: OG101x Open Government, is on the On edX Platform. eDX was founded by Harvard University and MIT in 2012 – so has a prestigious pedigree – and they work with partner institutions – this course is produced by the Delft University of Technology

Registering requires giving a name (which can’t be changed later?) I have an internal debate about whether to give my real name of not? I opt for an initial and surname so as not to give away my gender, but it’s already taken, so I end up just using my real name.

To register I also have to agree to the edX Terms of Service and Honor Code so I’ve had a quick look at them. I was interested to see what they would say about user postings:

USER POSTINGS

License Grant to edX. By submitting or distributing your User Postings, you hereby grant to edX a worldwide, non-exclusive, transferable, assignable, sub licensable, fully paid-up, royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to host, transfer, display, perform, reproduce, modify, distribute, re-distribute, relicense and otherwise use, make available and exploit your User Postings, in whole or in part, in any form and in any media formats and through any media channels (now known or hereafter developed).

License Grant to edX Users. By submitting or distributing your User Postings, you hereby grant to each user of the Site a non-exclusive license to access and use your User Postings in connection with their use of the Site for their own personal purposes.

So it looks like everything you contribute is licenced to edX. I wonder why they don’t just licence it into the Creative Commons?

Anderson & Simpson (2007) pick up on my concerns when they consider the”rights students have regarding privacy, informed consent and use of their work” they are concerned about the amount of data that learning management systems collect automatically and that tutors don’t need to actively request. They encourage tutors to ask for ‘informed consent’, which students will have, if they stopped to read the Terms & Conditions when they registered for edX.

The threat of “textual permanence” is also discussed by Anderson & Simpson (2007) as a new accordance of the  online medium -“to distribute easily and widely exact copies of messages” – that may be part of my concerns about whether to use my real name in this space?

CongratulationsEnrolled

I’m enrolled, but edX are very keen that I pursue a Verified Certificate for $50 – I opt to ‘Audit This Course’ which seems fundamentally the same without the certificate?


Anderson, B. and Simpson, M. (2007) ‘Ethical issues in online education’, Open Learning. 22(2): pp. 129-138.