Arab Open University’s Doctor Ahmad Mikati is sharing with the Moodleverse his slides on the “Building an online Moodle course” program, which is catered to English speakers mainly across the Middle East.
The focus of Mikati’s lesson is the benefits students might find in online settings as opposed to face-to-face classroom gatherings. He counts among them openness, participation, distribution, and “lifelong-networked learning.”
Perhaps Mikati’s most valuable section is the first one after the introduction, in which he discusses “MOOC Design Patterns.” By this, Mikati means the series of choices in content, style, and format that permeate the course.
Under ideal circumstances, a MOOC is a living entity, shaped by the interactions and feedback of the students, as well as the ongoing search for knowledge and filling in pedagogical gaps. A solid design pattern is not necessarily one that has all the answers in advance, but one that makes the MOOC flexible enough to correct course as soon as possible in a way that protects student confidence and brand reputation.
This means that uncertainty must be accepted as a fact, but not as an excuse. Using his own experience, Mikati makes some sensible recommendations that remain true in virtually every MOOC. Among them:
A “Base camp” or Week 0 section that lets students touch base at any point during the course of the MOOC. It should include the basics: aim, structure, content outline, and learning outcomes. It should also include recent announcements and notices of changes.
A Week section template. This ideally includes a list or index of items, not unlike those from textbooks, enumerating resources and activities by type and explaining how each section relates to the MOOC’s structure and outcomes.
As informal surveys of best MOOC practices reveal, perhaps unsurprisingly, quality is associated with attention to feedback and the “courage” to make radical or controversial decisions for the benefit of students. Acquiring new skills is in many ways the destabilization of the existing body of knowledge on the mind of the student.
But Mikati’s lecture is not limited to the theoretical level. After discussing design and planning matters, the remaining two-thirds of the lesson turns highly practical, as it links specific items from the design patterns into the individual options available in Moodle. It is a helpful resource in the face of the common overwhelming feeling when an educator or instructional design faces the extensive list of choices Moodle provides.
As concluding remarks, Mikati stresses the importance of taking a look at the end product “as it would be seen by the student” and making any necessary changes as quickly as possible but going through the design pattern first.
Check out the slides here, or find them below:
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