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The ASEAN Journal of Education ASEAN Journal of Education

MOOC Camp: Building Community and Continuing Professional Development


Rina A. Angeles*, Mark Airon P. Creus, Wilfred G. Antonio,


Abstract

This study aimed to determine the efficacy of Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) camp in the Philippines for building community and continuing professional development. The researchers employed the descriptive method of research. The main data-gathering tool used in the study was a validated self-made

Introduction

The continuous demand of the 21st-century learners opens the door for Massive Open Online Course(s) in different universities abroad. The University of Melbourne’s Graduate School of Education (MGSE) has launched a Massive Open Online Course – or MOOC – on how to give school children the skills to survive in a world of ever-changing technology (“Massive Classroom Opens Door,” 2014). In Dublin, the Minister and Education and Skills launched a new Massive Open Online Course called “21st Century Learning Design” which will be used by teachers across the globe to help support the objective of bringing more technological skills into the classroom (Microsoft Europe, 2016). It became one of the newest ideas of education designed for extended learning and career development. MOOC is an interactive step-by-step course aimed at reaching an unlimited number of participants worldwide to create a community of lifelong learners (What is MOOC?). It allows people from different regions to access and study courses at their preferred universities. It is also a means of empowering the learning community and exchanging culture because the learners are capable of interacting with other people using different platforms like coursera, edX, canvas and etc.

The popularity of MOOC worldwide has reached the Philippines. In 2013, the first MOOC in the country was offered by University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU) in cooperation with wireless leader Smart Communication, Inc. (“Phl 1st massive open,” 2013). This became the latest trend of education in continuing professional development. The Philippines, among ASEAN countries, has been very active in studying MOOC programs. Despite many challenges, they were able to produce the most number of participants successful in MOOC. Shaping the Way We Teach 1 and 2 were some of the courses that became eminent, especially to teachers participating MOOC. These courses are hosted by the U.S. Department of State’s Office of English Language Programs in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (Education and Exchanges program, US Embassy Manila Philippines). Through MOOC camp and offline meet-ups, thousands of participants around the Philippines have successfully completed the course. As stated by the U.S Department of States Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, MOOC Camps are most successful with weekly meetings. The increasing demand of learning through Massive Open Online Course would be more effective when there is camp (Fournier et. al., 2014). In an open learning environment, the control of learning no longer rests with an educational institution but with the learners themselves. In this case, the success of a learner through MOOCs relies mainly on his own motivation; therefore this style of learning is Self-Directed Learning. However, MOOC camp helps the learner motivate himself to finish the course because people with a shared vision surround them (Milligan et. al., 2013). When people learn through social knowledge, they collaboratively develop new knowledge artifacts and products. People learn by both drawing on and, at the same time, contributing to collective knowledge. So, ‘connecting’ is only one of the series of actions learners have to take to learn in open, unstructured networks.

Researchers have already experienced to become the student of MOOC and Facilitator of MOOC camp. They believed that by being part of this program, the individual can automatically take part in building a community and continuing professional development. However, the researchers believe that the individual is well positioned to help himself to be a better person with the skills needed. This motivated the authors to conduct this study which focused on the efficacy of MOOC Camp in the Philippines. The research discusses how it builds community and how it helps individual with their professional development.



Statement of the Problem

The purpose of this study was to determine how Massive Open Online Courses relate to the professional growth, community development and career achievement of the participants of MOOC. Specifically, this study addressed the following questions:

1) What is the demographic profile of the respondents in terms of:

a) Age
b) Gender
c) Educational Attainment
2) What are the MOOC’s Camp benefits in terms of:

a) Professional growth
b) Community development
c) Career achievement
3) Is there a significant relationship between the MOOC’s benefits such as professional growth, community development and career achievement to the demographic profile of the participants?

4) Based on the findings, what program can be proposed to enhance the awareness of the people about MOOC?

Paradigm of the Study

The input includes the demographic profile of the respondents such as: age, sex and educational attainment and MOOC variables such as: professional growth, community development and career achievement. The process was to test the relationship between MOOC and its variables such as: professional growth, community development and career achievement. The output was an enhanced MOOC Camp Curriculum.



Figure 1 Paradigm of the Study



Methodology

This study utilized the descriptive method of research to determine how Massive Open Online Course Camp related to the professional growth, community development and career achievement of the participants of MOOC. The respondents of this study were the 50 participants of the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) campers of Mandaluyong City. The survey dealt with the benefits of MOOC camp to their professional growth, community development and career achievement in order to have an enhanced program for people’s awareness about MOOC.

A survey questionnaire was the main data gathering instrument. The research questionnaire was composed of two sets. The first set was the Participants Information Sheet. It covered the demographic information of the respondents such as age, gender and educational attainment. The second set dealt with the level of benefits of MOOC Camp for their professional growth, community development and career achievement. For items on the level of benefits of MOOC Camp for their professional growth, community development and career achievement, the weighted points, score range and interpretation are as follows:



Table 1 Scale Used in the Study (Likert Scale)



Results

Problem 1: What is the demographic profile of the respondents in terms of age, sex, and educational attainment?



Table 2 Demographic Profile of MOOCers in Mandaluyong City According to Age



Table 2 shows the age of the participants attending MOOC camp. The result shows that 12 (24%) of the participants were between 21-25 years old; 10 participants were 26-30 and another 10 were 31-35 years old. However, there were 8 participants (16%) who were 41 years and above. This indicates that most of the participants attending MOOC camp were within the range of 16 to 35 years of age.

Table 3 Demographic Profile of MOOCers in Mandaluyong City According to Gender



Table 3 shows the demographic profile of MOOCers in Mandaluyong City according to gender. The findings show that among 50 respondents of MOOC camp, 34 (68 %) of them were female and only 16 (32%) were male. This shows that there were more women who engaged in MOOC camp for their career development and community development.

Table 4 Demographic Profile of MOOCers in Mandaluyong City According to Educational Attainment



Table 4 presents the educational attainment of MOOCers whereas 22 (44%) of the MOOCers gained a Master’s Unit or Degree, 19 (38%) of the course takers were under college level and 9 (18%) of them had doctorate units or degrees. It points out that professionals are seeking a new way of helping themselves develop professionally and helping the community through MOOC camp. In addition, even if a person attains the highest degree of education they urge for more to fully develop themselves as an individual and as a professional.



Problem 2: What is the MOOC Camp benefit in terms of professional growth, community development and career achievement?



Table 5 Benefits of MOOC Camp in Terms of Professional Growth



Table 5 shows the benefits of MOOC’s in terms of professional growth. Findings show that the participants believed that MOOC has benefits for their professional growth, having an overall mean of 4.48 corresponding to an interpretation of Always or Almost Always True. Among the items, participants said that MOOC helps them learn new information and skills which gain opportunities for professional growth, with a mean of 4.58, followed by MOOC workshops are well planned, effective and interactive which allow learning and practicing new concepts, having a mean of 4.52. This expresses that a majority of them agree that MOOC camp is designed to help them build their career. Parallel to the studies of Bowon et. al. (2015), MOOC and MOOC camp promote a framework of lifelong learning.

Table 6 Benefits of MOOC’s in Terms of Community Development



Table 6 shows the benefits of MOOC’s in terms of community development. Finding shows that the participants believed that MOOC is beneficial for community development, having an overall mean of 4.36 with an interpretation of Generally True. Among the items, participants said that MOOC camp allows them to gain new friends and collaborate with others, with a mean of 4.50, followed by MOOC gives them the opportunity to network with other similar groups, having a mean of 4.44. Results also show that most of the participants were encouraged to join because of the usefulness of the program to their lives.

This result coincides with the presentation of Mrs. Rebecca Sagot during the TESOL 2016 at Baltimore Maryland. According to her, “to be successful in MOOC, we must conduct MOOC camps, identify the allies, leaders and resources, conduct meet-ups, form learning actions, cultivate mentors, keep the graduates engage, celebrate learning and pass it on.” In Davao Del Norte, Philippines, English teachers took Shaping the Way We Teach English 1 and 2 offered by the University of Oregon, wherein there were three batches of MOOC camps. During the first camp, there was a 75% completion rate for the first course and 100% completion rate for the second course. Moreover, 98% and 97% were the completion rates for the second batch of Shaping the Way We Teach English 1 and 2. In addition, during the third batch of MOOC camp, there were 99% and 98.56% completion rates for the two courses. This clearly shows that the teachers are motivated and interested to study and finish the course when they are involved in a group activity.



Table 7 Benefits of MOOC camp in Terms of Career Achievement



Table 7 shows the benefits of MOOC’s in terms of career achievement. Finding shows that the participants believed that MOOC is beneficial in their career achievement, having an overall mean of 4.36 and an interpretation of Generally True. Among the items, participants said that MOOC allows them to become an immediate asset to my workplace, with a mean of 4.58, followed by MOOC helps them better understand the nature of my work, with a mean of 4.52. According to the unstructured interviews conducted by the researchers, many of the participants used the certification in their application process and they found it very helpful since it gave them an advantage over other applicants.



Problem 3: Is there a significant relationship of the MOOC’s benefits which are Professional Growth, Community Development and Career Achievement to their Demographic Profile in terms of age, gender and educational attainment?



Table 8 Pearson R Test on MOOC’s Benefits in Terms of their Demographic Profile.





Table 8 shows the Pearson R Test on MOOC’s benefits for Professional Growth, Community Development and Career Achievement in terms of their Age, Gender and Educational Attainment. Results show that there is a weak and moderate positive significant relationship of the MOOC benefits for Professional Growth and Community Development, with values of 0.02718 and 0.68135 respectively, to their Age. However, there is a weak negative significant relationship of MOOC benefit in Career Achievement with a value of -0.07292 to their Age. With regard to Gender, there is a perfect positive relationship of MOOC benefit for professional growth to their gender while there is a perfect negative relationship of MOOC benefit for community development and career achievement to their gender. Lastly, all the MOOC benefits have a negative significant relationship to their educational attainment.



Problem 4: What program can be proposed to enhance the awareness of the people about MOOC?

The results of the study revealed that MOOC camp is essential for an individual’s professional growth, community development and career achievement. The researchers proposed the following to enhance the awareness of the people about MOOC and MOOC camp.

Collaboration of Organizations: Different organizations such as RELO (Regional English Language Office in Manila) and British Council support and promote MOOC and MOOC camps; the Department of Education can work together with these organizations to raise awareness among interested students in taking courses that are suitable for their needs. The efficacy of MOOC camp was seen in Davao Region, led by Ms. Rebecca Sagot who was working under the Department of Education in Davao wherein part of teacher’s curricular activities includes participation in MOOC and join MOOC camp. If MOOC and MOOC camp will be part of Department of Education in the Philippines nationwide, it could produce more successful graduates in open education.
Celebration of Learning: It is a must have after finishing the course as a reward for those students who completed the program. A simple graduation or recognition program will boost students’ interest in taking MOOC and attending MOOC camp.
Social Media Campaign: Group page and other forms of social media greatly help the promotion of MOOC and MOOC camp. With the help of MOOC facilitators posting about MOOC and MOOC camp, many have been encouraged to take MOOC courses.


Conclusion and Discussion

Based on the result of the study, it showed that many professionals are eager and motivated to learn new ways of developing themselves. Most of these professionals are characterized by women in our society. MOOC as a new tool of learning must be supported by MOOC camp; this camp is highly significant in developing one’s professional growth, community and career.



Suggestions

The study recommends that the Department of Education must work with different organizations to raise more awareness of MOOC and MOOC camp. Celebration of learning as a reward is also commendable, as it increases student’s eagerness in joining the program. Further and more in-depth studies on MOOC camp can be done to support the effectiveness of MOOC camp in the Philippines.





References

Bokai, D. (2016). Insights from Using Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) in Refugee Camp. Retrived from https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/refugee-education/research/insights-from-using-massive-open-online-courses-moocs-in-refugee-camps

Bowon, K., Wang, Y., and Yamada, T., (2015).MOOCs and Educational Challenges around Asia and Europe. Location: KNOU Press Education and Exchanges Programs. American English Webinars. Retrieved from https://americanenglish.state.gov/resources/american-english-webinars

Fournier, H., Kop, R., and Durand, G. (2014). Challenges to research in Massive Open Online Courses. Merlot Journal of Online Learning and Teaching. 10, (1) March 2014. Retrieved from http://jolt.merlot.org/vol10no1/fournier_0314.pdf

Godwin-Jones, R. (2014). Global reach and local practice: The promise of MOOCS.

Keramida, M. (2015). The Pedagogy Behind MOOCs: What eLearning Professionals Should Know. Retrieved on June 23th, 2016 from: https://elearningindustry.com/the-pedagogy-behind-moocs-what-elearning-professionals-should-know

Language Learning and Technology. (2014) Retrieved from http://llt.msu.edu/issues/october 2014/emerging.pdf

Massive Classroom Opens Door to 21st Century Skills. (2014). Retrieved from http://newsroom.melbourne.edu/news/massive-classroom-opens-door-21st-century-skills

Microsoft Europe. (2016, January 27). Minister Jan O’Sullivan Launches MOOC as a 21st Century Learning Tool for Teachers. Retrieved from https://news.microsoft.com/europe/2016/01/27/minister-jan-osullivan-launches-mooc-as-a-21st-century-learning-tool-for-teachers/#sm.0000cxful3g52edhs4r2pf3eigi9f

Milligan, C., Littlejohn, A., and Margaryan, A. (2013). Patterns of Engagement in Connectivist MOOCs. MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching. 9, (2) Retrieved from http://jolt.merlot.org/vol9no2/milligan_0613.htm

Phl 1st massive open online course offered free. (2013) The Philippine Star. Retrieved from http://www.philstar.com/education-and-home/2013/07/18/983141/phl-1st-massive-open-online-course-offered-free.

Sagot, R. (2016) MOOC Camp: Motivating Participants and Building Community. TESOL 2016

Sokolova, S. (2014). What are the advantage of MOOCs and How Can you Benefit from them. Retrieved from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/what-advantages-moocs-benefits-from-them-siyana-sokolova

What is MOOC?. University of East Angila. Retrieved from https://www.uea.ac.uk/study/short-courses/online-learning/what-is-a-mooc


Key words: massive open online course, MOOC Camp, building community, professional development
     
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