The University of Texas at
Arlington will host an international conference Dec. 5 and 6 where scholars
focused on Massive Open Online Courses or MOOCs will bring their most
up-to-date research and connect with policy makers and consumers.
A December conference at UT Arlington is funded by a $97,200 Bill &
Melinda Gates Foundation grant and will be titled “MOOCs and
Emerging Educational Models: Policy, Practice and Learning.”
The conference is funded by a
$97,200 Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant to UT Arlington and will be titled
“MOOCS and Emerging Educational Models: Policy, Practice and Learning.” It is a
collaborative event with the MOOC Research Initiative, a project at Canada’s
University of Athabasca that also was funded by the Gates Foundation. The MOOC
Research Initiative recently awarded grants of $10,000 to $25,000 for the
worldwide study of MOOCs as a learning tool.
Arlington’s national reputation and leadership in online education continues to
expand in exciting and innovative ways and we are committed to fostering
research-based approaches,” said Samuel H. “Pete” Smith, vice provost for
digital teaching and learning at the University. “With thousands of online
students in Texas and around the globe, it is critical that our faculty and
staff be engaged in these worldwide discussions and research efforts.”
Over the past year, MOOCs have
been making headlines – drawing kudos from the public for increasing
accessibility to higher education coursework as well as some concerns from
university administrators and faculty because of the lack outcome measurements
involved. According to a recent Time.com story, Coursera, a MOOC startup
launched by Stanford faculty, reported about 4.4 million students had signed up
for courses over the year-and-a-half. The magazine added that edX, a
MIT-Harvard MOOC collaboration, also reported more than a million students.
Siemens, an organizer of the Research Initiative and associate director of the
Athabasca’s Technology Enhanced Knowledge Research Institute, has said the
emergence of MOOCS in higher education “requires a concerted and urgent
“The MOOC Research Initiative
will fill this research gap by evaluating MOOCs and how they impact teaching,
learning, and education in general,” he said on the initiative website. Research
topics of the Research Initiative include: MOOC Learner Motivation and Course
Completion Rates; Mapping the Dynamics of Peer-to-Peer Interaction in MOOCs;
Professional Learning through MOOCs; and numerous others. Grantees will present
some of their findings at the December event.
Besides Siemens, other confirmed
keynote speakers at the conference include:
- Jim Groom, director of the Division of Teaching
and Learning Technologies and adjunct professor at University of Mary
- Candace Thille, assistant professor and senior
research fellow at Stanford University and founder of the Open Learning
Initiative at Carnegie Mellon University.
- Jeff Selingo, editor at large for The Chronicle
of Higher Education and author of the book "College (Un)bound: The Future of
Higher Education and What it Means for Students."
To learn more about the MOOC
Research Initiative and the December conference, please visit www.moocresearch.com.
The University of Texas at Arlington is a comprehensive institution of
about 33,300 students and more than 2,200 faculty members in the heart of North
Texas. It is the second largest school in The University of Texas System. Visit
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