Making MOOCs

Grow-your-own MOOC kit

Designing activities

Key questions:  What will you ask participants to do? How will you ask them to do it? 

One of the major traps in developing online content, is often trying to create web and media based resources, to cover a diverse subject area.  It can chew up a bulk of the timeline. From the outset, focus on what your participants can do as activities (online or offline) to bring relevant shareable explanation and artefacts into the course, as part of their participation.

This activity-led approach takes advantage of the MOOC as a unique cohort of global participants that will never be together in the same space at the same time again.  You can also explore connections between offline and online activities by structuring activities that ask participants to connect with their local community and share it with the online global community.

When designing activities for a MOOC you have the freedom of being able to set an activity without needing to provide any physical resources to do so (technology, room, equipment). You can provide some guidance and scaffolding to suggest ways of approach, and encourage peers to share ideas but having activities that allow flexibility in approach means that you will be more likely to appeal to your diverse community of participants. 

A.

Participant/peer driven

Letting participants choose their level of engagement, what they do and how they do it.

B.

Responsive design

Reacting on-the-fly to participant feedback and input to tailor the activities to the unique cohort.

C.

Problem-based / challenges

Presenting challenges, invoking any level of competition, encouraging group work, game-based activities.

D.

Discovery model

Exploring as cohorts, beginning with questions instead of presenting materials/information.

E.

Scaffolded activity

Having points of support, tips, suggestions, exemplars, open discussion about ideas for completing activities.

F.

Prescribed activity

Defining each activity clearly, with specific instructions