‘Spooky Mooc’ students shun Edge Hill academic credit

University’s Vampire Fictions course ends with no participants opting to pay for official recognition of their achievement

February 20, 2014

The first UK massive open online course to offer students the option to pay for academic credit has ended, with none of its participants opting to fork out for official recognition.

The Edge Hill University Mooc, entitled Vampire Fictions, was announced in May last year and attracted about 1,000 students.

Of these, 31 reached the end of the course, with none opting to hand over the £200 that Edge Hill was charging in exchange for 20 credits at level 4 – the equivalent of a module on a first-year degree course.

However, course leader Ben Brabon, reader in English literature and digital education at Edge Hill, said that his “spooky Mooc” had been a success and had taught him a lot about the process of offering massive open online education.

“There was a sense [among the students] early on that this wasn’t like other Moocs,” he said. “It required a bit more of the learner in terms of their critical engagement and in what was expected in terms of preparation.

“It might have been more worrying if we had accredited something like this and suddenly discovered that 1,000 students [had] completed it and wanted credit. If that happened, you might begin to question why we have prerequisites for degrees, why we have learning outcomes, if they are all so easily achievable.”

One of the 31 completing students did sign up for a three-year creative writing degree at Edge Hill, with fees of £9,000 per year. They could have applied for their Mooc to be recognised for credit towards their degree, but opted not to do so.

“I think that they wanted a fresh start,” Dr Brabon said, but added that the fact that credit was available could have played a part in the student’s decision to pursue a degree.

“The student had an extended taster session of what higher education was like, had a positive experience and demonstrated that they could cope with higher education, could engage critically at that level,” he said.

“Because of the credit on offer and because the course was benchmarked, they knew that what they were doing was at the [undergraduate] level.”

chris.parr@tsleducation.com

Times Higher Education free 30-day trial

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Most Commented

Monster behind man at desk

Despite all that’s been done to improve doctoral study, horror stories keep coming. Here three students relate PhD nightmares while two academics advise on how to ensure a successful supervision

opinion illustration

Eliminating cheating services, even if it were possible, would do nothing to address students’ and universities’ lack of interest in learning, says Stuart Macdonald

Female professor

New data show proportion of professors who are women has declined at some institutions

Reflection of man in cracked mirror

To defend the values of reason from political attack we need to be more discriminating about the claims made in its name, says John Hendry

But the highest value UK spin-off companies mainly come from research-intensive universities, latest figures show