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Re: [Osdc-list] MOOCs the Open Source Way


I'd recommend you take a look at the Mechanical MOOC (http://mechanicalmooc.org) which is offering it's first course, A Gentle Introduction to Python, using a model that doesn't rely on a unified platform at all.  Rather than trying to create a closed environment for learning, we are using a mailing list to coordinate learner activity across four different existing resources that are, to varying degrees, open.

The structure, assignments and video lectures for the course come from MIT OpenCourseWare, which shares all content using a CC BY-NC-SA license.  The text for the course in Downey's How to Think Like a Computer Scientist, which is also openly licensed.  Learner interaction is facilitated by OpenStudy, which has a policy releasing all community contributions under an open license.  We also use exercises from Codecademy, which is the most proprietary of the participants. The course is coordinated by Peer 2 Peer University, which is a longstanding advocate of open education.  

We kicked off the first round of co-ordinating e-mails (archived at http://mechanicalmooc.wordpress.com/category/seq15oct12/) on October 15th with 6,000 registered participants, and will kick off the second cohort of participants on November 26th, even before the first has finished up.

We see this "unplatform" model as being very democratizing, as is it very flexible--projects can easily be brought together to create MOOC like offerings.  Really any combination of open texts books, open course materials, open learning communities and open or free assessments or simulations can provide the basis for a course.  Peer 2 Peer University is in the process of vetting opportunities for the second round of courses right now.

It's also worth noting that the original "connectivist" MOOCs from 2006-2008 were very much open source, democratizing models.  http:://mooc.ca is a great site for understanding this model.


Steve Carson

On Nov 2, 2012, at 12:17 AM, Barry Peddycord III wrote:

> Hash: SHA1
> Hello friends!
> Did any of you see this article in the Chronicle of Higher Education?
> https://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/course-management-companies-challenge-mooc-providers/40734
> Long story short, the company Instructure, provider of the Canvas LMS
> (similar to Moodle, Blackboard, and Sakai) is getting into the MOOC
> space with "Canvas.net", a collection of open courses built with their
> tool.
> The perceived problem they are solving is one I've been fussing about
> for a long time: while EdX and Coursera are making a really big
> splash, they are relying on the brand-recognition of the Ivy League
> and Research Universities they partner with, which disappoints me
> since making exclusive deals with these institutions leaves out a lot
> of very talented people who have a lot to offer in this space. I think
> MOOCs send the wrong message when you have an "open course" that's
> officially led by one or two professors.
> Instructure calls this Canvas.net development the democratization of
> MOOCs, and I like that quite a bit. If MOOCs like Coursera are the
> Cathedral... maybe this new development can help foster the creation
> of a Bazaar.
> I wonder what a MOOC made in the Open Source Way, maybe even about the
> Open Source Way, would be like.
> Don't mind me, just thinking out loud,
> Barry Peddycord
> IsharaComix
> P.S. In January, Canvas.net is starting a course on Openness in
> Education. Probably relevant to this crowd. :)
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