15 October 2013
While MOOCs – Massive Open Online Courses – are very much in vogue, one of their shortcomings is that they don’t actually count towards a degree despite students putting in valuable study time.
However, this year the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) is changing that by acknowledging the educational value of MOOCs – so students who have already completed a MOOC will see those studies count towards a UCLan qualification. It is thought that UCLan is the first British university to innovate its curriculum in this manner.
This scheme is being offered as part of UCLan’s Professional Practice Awards - undergraduate academic programmes that aim to provide participants with the opportunity to utilise learning in the workplace to gain an academic qualification.
“MOOCs are clearly one of the real big trends in education right now and they are undoubtedly a fantastic way to study."
The programmes have been developed to meet the needs of employees and their employers by recognising professional practice in the workplace including in-house training and continuing professional development.
From this year, there will be an option to gain credit for the courses by studying one of the MOOCs worldwide such as those offered by www.cousera.org, www.futurelearn.com, www.udacity.com, www.canvas.net and www.edx.org
In order to gain credit against a module using learning gained from studying the MOOC, students will need to demonstrate they have met the learning outcomes for the module through a relevant assignment set by academics at UCLan.
“By providing the opportunity to gain credit for studying MOOCs through a structured programme of study we hope to encourage more part-time participation and wider opportunities for learning whilst in employment."
It is hoped that this innovation will be of particular benefit to those studying part-time as it will increase the flexibility of their studies. Since the introduction of higher fees, the number of people enrolled in part-time education has fallen, so this increased flexibility may help those numbers increase again.
Beverly Leeds, Principal Lecturer in Marketing at Lancashire Business School, who is responsible for the scheme said:
“MOOCs are clearly one of the real big trends in education right now and they are undoubtedly a fantastic way to study. But at UCLan we want to harness their power to help our students study more flexibly and achieve their professional goals whilst earning credit towards a qualification.
“By providing the opportunity to gain credit for studying MOOCs through a structured programme of study we hope to encourage more part-time participation and wider opportunities for learning whilst in employment.”