A team from Empire State College, SUNY and the University at Albany was awarded a Tier 3 SUNY Innovative Instruction Technology Grant (IITG) for 2014-2015. This $60,000 grant, Designing Innovative Online Learning: Integrating a Coursera MOOC with Open SUNY Badging, is funding several initiatives focused on metaliteracy and badging.
As described in the grant proposal, “This project merges two innovative and flexible learning models: a metaliteracy Coursera MOOC open to all SUNY students, and its integration with competency-based badging. This unified approach to learning appeals to students and employers alike, and serves as a robust model to advance Open SUNY.” In addition, the funding will provide the means to develop a community of support for SUNY faculty interested in developing Open SUNY badging initiatives.
The team, led by Trudi Jacobson, Distinguished Librarian at the University at Albany, and Tom Mackey, Interim Vice Provost for Academic Programs at Empire State College, is building upon strengths developed from their 2012-2013 IITG-funded projects. They and members of the Metaliteracy Collaborative developed a connectivist MOOC that was offered in the fall of 2013, and they have created a very rich digital badging system based on the metaliteracy learning objectives.
Additional members of the grant team are Kelsey O’Brien (project director), Jenna Hecker, and Allison Hosier from the University at Albany, and Michele Forte, Kathleen Stone, Amy McQuigge, and Dana Longley from Empire State College.Three graduate students at the University at Albany’s School of Education,, Andrea Beukema, Brandon West, and Carmita Sanchez-Fong, will assist. Samuel Abramovich from the University at Buffalo’s Department of Learning and Instruction will oversee a MOOC-related research study.
Speaking of MOOCs, the team will offer not just one MOOC during spring 2015, but rather two! This came about because Coursera is currently unable to offer the functionality the team needed to integrate the badges with the MOOC. However, due to their high profile in the MOOC arena, and their selection as the platform of choice for SUNY, the team is adapting its original intentions in order to proceed with the planned course.The Coursera MOOC will feature a longer (10-week) learning opportunity that utilizes the high-end videos common to many of the company’s offerings, and will address a range of the metaliteracy learning objectives. Kathleen Stone is overseeing the Coursera component of the grant. This MOOC will begin in February 2015.
The Canvas MOOC will vary in several ways. It will be shorter, probably 5 weeks, and will start in March. It will focus on one of the four main areas of metaliteracy, Digital Citizen. Those who enroll in this MOOC will be working their way through a shareable badge, one that they can display via Credly.There is great interest in determining what impact the badging will have on student motivation, and what can be learned comparing the two different platforms and courses.
More details about the MOOCs and other grant-funded projects will be posted soon.