Mooc over….the final statistics were amazing. 21,000 people throughout the globe participated. The total number of full time students at Dundee University, Scotland, this academic year is 17,500. For six weeks, ( the length of the course) the mooc more than doubled the university’s student population. What a triumph for Dundee University. Mooc questions and comments were totalled up, the final numbers being enviously fantastic. The ‘Educators’ who are members of the departmental academic staff, including the professors, were very active in encouraging us in our tasks and answering queries. The live interaction was terrific. Every week, at the end of the unit, there were mooc video seminars when our forensic queries were answered in more detail. The facial reconstruction feature was brilliant; we students got to do it.
The departmental staff have extraordinary busy and demanding working lives and they gave up a huge chunk of it from May this year, to develop the course and then to interact with their short term course intake. Rumour has it that the course, the forensic sciences in Identifying The Dead, will run again in 2016.
What is a mooc? It is a free of charge massive open online course. Participants can, if they choose, buy a certificate of attendance, at nominal cost, but not till they have completed a certain percentage of a course. If you want to, and you live where it might be possible, you can book for, and pay to take an examination. While these courses do not count towards a higher qualification, they are accepted for continuous personal development, if what you learn is relevant to your profession. One of our local pharmacists is currently doing a relevant mooc, which, just happens to be with Dundee University too. He is very impressed with the quality of his course.
I am dabbling with another mooc, which in contrast to the first one, is nowhere near as dynamic. But then, can criminology be as lively as the forensic study of identifying the dead? I have not yet seen much Educator activity, though with week two starting, you never know what might happen. The numbers of participants are not anywhere near comparable as the Dundee University mooc. They are substantially lower. As I have a few distractions coming up, I may have to bow out of this course about half way and maybe pick up where I leave off, another time. One helpful feature is, the courses are always there to continue on with, in silence, or, you can wait till a course is interactively offered again.