Absent from the Academy

Really interesting short film that explores the absence of black academics in UK Higher Education. Should be required watching for all those who teach in HE. I found the student comments particularly interesting. Mirrors some of the comments Oxford Brookes students mentioned in our research.

Enjoy watching

MOOC score

So how is my MOOCing going this semester, I ask myself. Well..

cMOOC – 0

xMOOC (ish) – 1

I dropped out of the more connectivist MOOC and am still hanging in there on the MOOC that is more x-type. So why might this be?

The cMOOC was How to Teaching Online my initial analysis is:

Material – As usual in a cMOOC loads of resources that I didn’t have time to read. This really does affect motivation. It is all very well knowing you don’t have to read everything or engage with everything but you do feel you are missing out. It does affect how you feel when trying to engage.

Interest in topic – the topic is very much work related and I seem to struggle to actually get motivated in work related MOOCs.

Discussions – I just find cMOOC discussions bewildering (‘nuf said!)

Structure – I think I need more structure than is typical in a cMOOC.

The more x-style MOOC is a basic writing course and my analysis of this is:

Material – focussed material that gives you all the basics. I feel more in control.  I can always go off and find more if I feel the need to.

Interest in topic – The topic is more related to personal stuff and my studies rather than work. This makes means I have greater intrinsic motivation

Discussions – Structured discussions. I have not found them that useful but at the same time don’t feel like I am missing out.

Structure – Highly structured which works for me. I feel on top of the course. Conversely, the topics are only released weekly which means I can’t jump ahead even if I have more time this week than next week. That is a big issue for me.


As I said in a previous post, it once again feels like wanting to get the best from both. I like the pedagogy of a cMOOC and see value in a community of learners. However, the structure is demotivating and overwhelming. So my idea would be to adopt and core & extension model.

Have a highly structured core to a MOOC that gives the basics with structured discussions as well. It would be easily manageable.  Then have an extension that allows some to go beyond the core and engage with material and each other to a greater extent. Hopefully this will help motivate and retain those struggling and with limited time whilst still meeting the needs of the keen and highly engaged.