EMEA - Case Studies

Case Study: University of Derby

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UNIVERSITY OF DERBY University of Derby Case Study Derby, UK 25,000 Users Commenced 2015 The Challenge The University of Derby, a public institution in Derby, England has a stellar reputation for real-world learning with a focus on employability. Having long offered flexible options for virtual learning, the University hoped to leverage demand for massive open online courses (MOOCs) as a way to increase student engagement and showcase their pedagogical theory. Early in 2015, the Head of Derby's Academic Innovation Hub, Syed Munib Hadi, was challenged by administrators to create a MOOC strategy that was open, sustainable and focused on providing relevant learning experiences. He soon found a solution that would enable all three: Canvas Network. As an extension of the Canvas virtual learning environment (VLE), Canvas Network is an open online learning platform with a mission to promote openness and innovation in education. Derby saw considerable success with five MOOCs on Canvas Network over a 10-month period, including: "Understanding Autism, Asperger's & ADHD", "Digital.Me: Managing Your Digital Self", "Innovating in Operations Management" and "Bridging the Dementia Divide: Supporting People Living With Dementia" (offered twice). instructure.com/canvas/en-gb Key Findings Canvas enabled the institution to push pedagogy The University hoped to leverage demand for MOOCs as a way to increase student engagement 01 02 The Decision According to Hadi, Derby's MOOC success was based on a three-part strategy, which involved developing an open approach, actively experimenting with pedagogy and conducting market research. Here's how they developed and implemented their MOOCs. Developing an open approach beyond offering courses that would provide real and relevant learning experiences, the University's Innovation Hub wanted to push innovation further by adopting truly open MOOC development practices. To achieve this objective, Hadi and his team adopted policies under OpenUpEd, a MOOC quality framework that puts learners at the centre. Its tenets include: openness to learners, digital openness, independent learning, media-supported interactions, recognition options, a focus on quality and a spectrum of diversity. For Derby, the open approach paid off. The high-quality learning experiences showcased in their MOOCs reflected the quality of courses offered to traditional students - and prompted nearly 1% of the more than 25,000 learners who enrolled in MOOCs on Canvas Network (over 200 people) to enrol in the University's fee-based courses. To further their open policies, the Innovation Hub shared their completed MOOCs to Canvas Commons, a learning object repository, for use by educators at other institutions under Creative Commons licenses. Actively experimenting with pedagogy while traditional academic institutions attract a fairly homogeneous student body, MOOCs attract diverse learners from all over the world, with varying education levels and from different socioeconomic backgrounds.

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