In recent years, there have been discussions about the emergence of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). The concept which emerged in 2008 in Canada has seen the launch of free online offerings in several countries worldwide.
Open Universities Australia launched Open2Study in March 2013, providing free online courses accessible to any student with an internet connection. Since its launch, it has had a total of over 250 000 enrolments from over 130 000 students. A total of 49 courses are available on the platform. They cover subjects in areas such as:
• Arts and Humanities
• Education and Training
• Health and Medicine
• Marketing and Advertising
• Science And Technology
Within the first year of its launch, Open2Study launched at least 4 new courses with each new cohort.
The courses are offered at an introductory level, so whether a student is just curious about online study, looking to boost their professional skills, returning to study or just want to learn something new for fun, these courses serve their purpose.
The courses run over a 4 week period. Each course has four modules which include videos, pop quizzes, simulations and assessments to test the students’ understanding of what has been learnt. A student, who successfully completes a course, will be awarded a certificate of Achievement, to demonstrate their interest in learning in a certain area.
Students are encouraged to collaborate on the platform and social media. There are two types of forums on the platform; Community and Classroom. Students can also share their thoughts, ideas, views via social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+ and through Open2Study Blog. In addition, to motivate students along their learning journey, we make use of a gamification technique of awarding students with badges for participating in various activities on the platform.
This paper will provide you with some insights on:
• The demographics of the student population and their main purpose of doing a course via the platform.
• The social learning opportunities created by the platform
• Features such as gamification and simulation
• Findings from a research into student collaboration and how that relates back to course satisfaction which is measured in following two ways:
- Qualitatively in the form of course ratings and overall achievements grades
- Quantitatively through survey feedback questions
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