Week 4 – Exploring the *Master Track*

Because I’ve finished this weeks activities quickly and because there was no recommended paper this week, I’ve gone back to look at the additional reading for earlier weeks of the course.

Weeks 1, 2 and 3 had a mandatory paper (which I read) and also optional papers under the slightly off putting name of *Master Track* – which I have so far ignored! There were one or two under this heading and also an additional paper each of the first 3 weeks under a ‘tips’ section. The paper are mainly authored or co-authored by the staff teaching on the MOOC – e.g. Marijn Janssen, Anneke Zuiderwijk. I was thinking the MOOC wasn’t that academic, but now I realise that there are seven additional recommended papers that could be read, plus there are also references at the end of each presentation that I could follow up.

In Week 1 the Mandatory paper was McDermott (2010), but the paper itself is not freely available, there was a special arrangement in place for the course:

“Note that Elsevier made it possible to download this article for free. This article will be downloadable for free only until March 21. Thereafter you will need a subscription to the journal Government Information Quarterly to be able to download the articles”

When I went back to look at the additional papers I found that several were only ‘open’ within a time window, which had now closed. This was okay for me as I was able to login with my student credentials and access the papers, but would not have been very helpful for participants not in this privileged position.

So have I got so distracted by completing the tasks for this MOOC that I’ve forgotten the larger goal of learning about Open Government and how this relates to Digital Citizenship? Hopefully these additional articles will give me more resources to make these connections.

The term *Master Track* also makes me wonder what level this MOOC is aimed at? It’s not that clear. In the feedback video from Assignment 2, discussing the survey results,  it said “Most participants have a Master’s degree, namely 43%, and most of the participants received their highest degree in the field of professional, scientific or technical services.”

It feels about Masters level to me, but perhaps it’s bit more taught than I’m used too? I find it hard to judge? I can’t see any indications on edX of the suggested ‘level’of the course – e.g. Year of Undergraduate programme or Postgraduate. 

The most relevant information I could find on this related whether the eDX courses can be used to receive ‘college credit’ and in apart from a few particular instances the answer is ‘no’ this must be negotiated directly with the college you are applying too. So perhaps for this reason the level is not defined because it’s not being accredited at a particular level?

McDermott, P. (2010). Building open government. Government Information Quarterly. 27(4): pp. 401-413