Learning @ Scale 2016

I am in Edinburgh at the moment, along with others from the CSER team, attending the Learning @ Scale conference,  followed by the Learning Analytics and Knowledge Conference. I’ve been looking forward to these two conferences, as much of our recent work in the CSER group has been looking at how online learning can be used to support better pedagogical practices, and helping students build self-regulated learning skills, along with how online learning models like MOOCS can support professional learning models. 

One of the reasons we are here is because we have a work-in-progress paper accepted at L@S, where we will be presenting the first results of our work, funded by Google, in supporting personalised learning through automated labelling and navigation support for MOOC discussion forums.

Looking over the proceedings for the L@S conference, you can see a wide range of works, some building on existing online learning areas, such as intelligent tutoring systems, and how they can be used at scale, through to papers specifically looking at MOOCS and how people engage with them. This last aspect very much interests me – why do people choose to do MOOCs? What is it about the MOOC structure that makes it more accessible for some students, and how do learners expect to engage with the MOOC given that many have never approached any form of online learning before now. 

In our Think Create Code MOOC, we saw quite a different cohort demographic than we would find in a face to face Computer Science class, with a much higher percentage of female participants. What is it about the specific makeup of this course that made that possible? In our work on teacher professional development MOOCS, we explore MOOC community structures that help engage learners in working with each other in a sustained fashion – we’ve had good results here, and our work and that of others, indicates that MOOCS may be well placed for supporting adult professional learning. How can we capitalise on this, and build MOOCS that are more specifically designed for this space?

I’m looking forward to learning more about current work in the field!

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