The LNU Scenarios

The scenario is being tested with the course: Academic Writing for German Studies

Pilot: 2017, spring semester
Participants: 14 students, second semester German studies

The aim of the course is an introduction to academic writing in preparation for a bachelor’s degree. The students practice the formulation of a question and thesis, including literature research, disposition, reasoning and correct citation. The implementation of a Mooc supports students during their self-studies and allows the teacher to spend more time mentoring the essays. As a side effect the students expand their German language skills and knowledge about the academic requirements in Germany. We have chosen the Mooc Wissenschaftliches Denken, Arbeiten und Schreiben, produced by Fachhoschule Münster on the provider Iversity. The Mooc is a self -paced course,  consisting of 8 lectures. The course provides filmed lectures, articles, short assignments and quizzes. The students can either follow the whole course or choose several films and lectures.  In the study guide the teacher list the films which are necessary to fulfill the assignments.

Week 1: The course with a workload of 4 weeks full time studies (40 hours per week) starts on campus with an introductory lecture, where the teachers present the course aim and structure, discuss examples and present the work with the Mooc.

Week 2: The students work in parallel with the Mooc and develop step-by-step their thesis project.

Week 3: Students send their project proposal to classmates for feedback

Week 3: Seminar: Students present and discuss their PM.

Week 4: Students work with their thesis, mentored by the teacher. Students work with the Mooc.

Week 4: Students send their thesis for the next round of feedback to their study group.

Week 4: Students send the thesis for review to the teacher.

The implementation of the scenario “Integrating a Mooc in an existing academic course” encounters several advantages which should be taken into consideration with teachers, administrative staff and students:  

  1. Compatibility/matching with the academic year. Many study courses in Sweden are taught in compact blocks and therefore might be scheduled for one month. It is difficult to foresee or plan if a Mooc course with a related content will be running at the same time.
  2. The choice of courses: A course description provided by a Mooc platform does not really give an idea if the course matches the aims of the syllabus. The teacher needs to participate in the course or maybe in several courses to be able to choose a specific one. Most Moocs cannot be previewed by the teacher without enrolling and participating. This process is time consuming.
  3. Syllabi with defined course descriptions, learning materials used, workload and forms of examinations must be decided one year before the course start, that limits flexibility.
  4. Matching of course content: University courses are designed for specific purposes, eg. 2XN002: Entrepreneurship for Health Science, which is aimed at providing basic knowledge about entrepreneurship within the health sciences sector from a Swedish perspective. Clearly a Mooc can contribute with different perspectives, but within a given time frame and defined course content there is also a risk of overloading a course with learning material.
  5. Students need to sign up for the course at university. They might wonder why they also are asked to sign up once again for a Mooc course with a name, that differs from their course.