Source: The Web Science Trust
Although Southampton offers both a master’s and an undergraduate degree in web science, its massive open online course will not be a direct port of an existing module. Rather, it will be a “mini” course, designed to offer a taster of what students might experience were they to take a paid course at the university.
“It’s an introduction to web science – I think it could be studied by anyone who is interested in studying web science at master’s or undergraduate level,” said Dame Wendy Hall, professor of computer science at Southampton, who has already recorded some videos that will form part of the Mooc.
“I am not lecturing, but giving an introduction, some commentary, scene setting, and inspiration. We see Moocs as primers, or tasters, at the moment. Not recreations of the full modules as you might do at Southampton.
“They are definitely courses because there’s a series of lectures, and assessment at the end. But will the depth be the same as you’d get if you attended the university? No, not yet.”
Times Higher Education revealed in June that FutureLearn was looking to develop the pedagogy of its courses around a “mini-Mooc” model. Southampton is also expected to launch an oceanography Mooc via FutureLearn when details of the first courses are unveiled later this month.
Dame Wendy was speaking to THE ahead of the Association for Learning Technology conference, known as Alt-C, which takes place in Nottingham from the 10 to 12 September.
In her keynote address to conference, titled “What a Difference a Web Makes”, she is expected to look back over 20 years of technological developments in education, and ask why they have failed to fundamentally change the way higher education operates.
“We haven’t found a better way to educate people than an expert in the subject managing the process,” Dame Wendy, who is a founder member of the ALT, said.
“It’s still the old Socrates model. Where Moocs might change things, make things more exciting and interdisciplinary, is if students do the learning on Moocs, while the physical tutoring covers tutorials and personalised assistance to help people through the hard bits.”