Showcase Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia 2015

Making the most of MOOCs: Re-engineering a course for future roboticists (#58)

Elizabeth Greener 1 , Robyn Philip 1
  1. Queensland University of Technology, Kelvin Grove, QLD, Australia

 The cost of developing MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) resources is substantial. It is highly desirable, therefore, that educational resources, purpose built for the MOOC environment, are reused and reinvested elsewhere. Consequently, as part of a blended learning initiative in 2014, resources from an engineering MOOC at one Australian university were reintegrated into a third-year, on-campus, robotics unit. The project was an opportunity to reinvigorate the curriculum, “flip” the traditional lecture-tutorial delivery mode, utilise high quality online content, and incorporate more active learning during face-to-face lectures (renamed “lectorials”). Students viewed pre-recorded video content before class and engaged in free-ranging discussions during class. They also provided weekly feedback online to the teaching team between classes. Evaluation of the initiative aimed to determine the efficacy of the new blended learning methods, and the media used. An action research cycle, using mixed methods, framed the evaluation. Data was collected via online and in-class surveys, semi-structured interviews, classroom observation, Facebook contributions, polling software (GoSoapBox), university evaluation records and data usage patterns. In analysising the data, the focus was on students’ and teachers’ responses, and organisational and support services issues. Constant comparative methods were used to analyse the qualitative data and descriptive statistics for the quantitative data. The findings revealed that obtaining information from university systems to develop a fine-grained view of student media usage patterns was problematic, and that streaming of video content raised issues of access and equity. While student responses to the pedagogical changes were mixed, the collection of additional feedback from students throughout the semester contributed to improved understanding of student learning. In addition it became clear that students needed coaching in managing their new role, and maintenance of good communication amongst the teaching team was essential. The value of a staged approach to pedagogic and technical change was confirmed. 

Keywords: flipped classroom, robotics, evaluation

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  2. Phillips, R., McNaught, C., & Kennedy, G. (2012). Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 28(7), 1103-1118. Retrieved from
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