How to have your own MOOC using Google Course Builder

I am putting up another article on my blog after almost six months……….was caught up in many other works.

But in the meantime, I did many courses on edX, studied about MOOCs (massive open online courses) and was able to use the Google Course Builder to create my own MOOC (in the cloud)!!

That was an achievement, I was thrilled to do it………… and thought I’d share it with everyone.

The thought of creating my own on-line course occurred to me when my fellow course mate for the GEMs Art of Teaching course suggested so. I have never met Karina (a teacher in Mexico) but one of her very encouraging comments in the course forums got me thinking………………hmmmmmm surely I can try this!!

First, I wrote to edX, I did not know where to write so I said I am a business developer, and would like to create courses on edX. Someone from there politely wrote me back that (a) either I have to be their partner (I am not sure what criteria they have to choose them) or (b) I should visit mooc.org and wait to hear more developments from that website’s forum and updates.

I have never heard from them, as yet. But while there I read through many links how Google and edX were going to merge, etc. From there I reached the Google Course Builder website (https://code.google.com/p/course-builder/).

Google Course Builder logo

And although I am not a developer, I read through many tech documents, watched YouTube videos many times to understand what was happening, as there are many versions of Google Course Builder, some say this and some say that………………..attended some Google live events, and was able to build my course……….as an app. It is also a MOOC. Used the Google App Launcher to put up my course!

Currently it seems to be free; you can upload your course on Google App Launcher using Google Course Builder 1.8.0. But a word of caution……………nothing with Google can be free! If the traffic to your MOOC is high (not sure of the number) or the course is too large (or even popular and successful) I am sure Google will try and monetize your efforts………….someday may be!

Anyone interested? Perhaps I can help you out!

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moocs

Aside: On a live event I put up a question to Google if Google Course Builder and edX are merging together, to that the answer was NO. Which is good for me, as any merger may mean headaches for course owners and their students, isn’t it?

Also at a later date, I found a new course of edX – edX101 – Overview of Creating an edX course. I am not sure whom this course is for, may be after edX agrees to be your partner then the course may help you to go step-by-step to create content and upload to their platform.

For a person like me, who has created on-line courses for years on LMSes, I have my own templates and methods for session plans……… and now with the help of Google Course Builder, I’d say I am in business of creating MOOCs.

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How do we Learn to Learn, Especially in the Ed-Tech Environment?

There is a lot of interest in psychology of learning – we as yet do not know how we learn! Lot of ed-tech companies have analytics about on-line eLearning courses with millions of clicks (interactive tools) that can be monitored at the back end – but do these clicks really mean that learning has occurred? Most ed-tech researchers and companies are scratching their brains with learning analytics to answer this; one of the the main purposes of setting up free on-line MOOCs seems to be just this – how are people able to learn; there are almost 98 videos of TED website with the theme: How We Learn.

How can we answer this question? How can we monitor and say that a learning has occurred a 100% of the time?

This is a question that has intrigued many. Let me see if I can answer this question, it is difficult, but I will try…………….from my experiences in teaching and learning science. Any learning is an interplay between nature and nurture!

Step 1: Indoctrination (inspiration, hook)

To learn anything, one has to be indoctrinated into multiple intelligences.

multiple_intelligences_diagram

But how does one get indoctrinated or inspired? Inspiration for a particular learning quest can come from family, friends, teachers, some nice lecture/video that triggers an interest in a certain field, a movie, some exhibitions, books – this is the hook. One gets hooked into a new learning direction.

You must have heard this phrase – ……… got hooked to………… (from old English anglers)

Step 2: Motivation (focus, stimulation and perseverance)

That inner urge to surge in the chosen direction – requires focus, and even incentives (incentives in terms of intellectual stimulation and financial stimulation – have you ever wondered why there is a successful Silicon Valley?). High motivation can also create a persevering quality that keeps one rooted in a particular learning quest. There is no substitute for hard work.

It is said that Thomas Alva Edison failed a 1000 times before he made a bulb design that actually worked!

You must have heard this phrase -………..never give up…………. (Winston Churchill)

Step 3: Social Interaction (team effort)

Because of the advent of the internet, and eLearning, a lot of EdTech companies have realized the importance of social learning. The social cognitive learning theory was first discussed by Albert Bandura in 1977.

(From Wikipedia- Social learning is learning that takes place at a wider scale than individual or group learning, up to a societal scale, through social interaction between peers.)

The explosion to social media and access to content via mobile devices, this kind of learning has gained high importance these days.

social media cartoon

This team effort or team work is the key to reaching any goals – and in our case – the learning objectives or goals. Working effectively as a team creates momentum, improves morale, and almost anything that is decided can be achieved.

You must have heard this phrase -……….. Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much (Hellen Keller)

Step 4: Experience (and results)

Remember that any learning – means change in cognitive behaviour or attitudes – if behaviour/attitude change has not happened, then the learning has NOT occurred!  The more experience you take in the direction of learning (exams, assessment, results, feedback, discussions, apply, analyze, hands-on work) the more you will learn thoroughly! It is more enduring, and results are sort of permanently lodged in your brain. When you assess your learning (formative) and get a feedback from someone (say on a social platform or a teacher or a guru) you will learn better.

You must have heard this phrase – experience is the best teacher………. (Benjamin Franklin)

And finally………….if you have mastered what you have learnt, you will be able to evaluate your understanding, critique someone else’s work and go on to innovate and create something new, to your utmost joy (any new learning can be real fun!)

bubblus_EDUC8845_Bloom's-_Learning_Theories

In conclusion: we can say that learning has occurred if we can monitor a change in behaviour and attitude. This can be done by assessing thoroughly – may be by creating rubrics and measuring the ‘learning’.

Aside: When I was little, I always used to think of placing my books under my pillow before going off to sleep, hoping against hope that all the content from the books would automatically get transferred into my brain!