Current events

colMOOC, a European consortium to develop a collaborative tool that favours MOOC-based learning

The aim is to increase the level of effective learning and completion rates

Massive open online courses (MOOCs) have become a very effective tool for accessing quality knowledge from anywhere in the world, at any time. Many students take advantage of this type of training, but on average only between 8 and 10% complete the course.

In order to remedy this and further research on learning through MOOCs, the European Commission's Erasmus+ programme is co-financing the newly created colMOOC consortium. Taking part are nine institutions from five European countries: Aarhus University (Denmark); Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, the Centre for Research & Technology, Hellas, and the Greek Universities Network (GUnet) (Greece); Learnworlds (United Kingdom); Universitt des Saarlandes (Germany); and Telefnica Educacin Digital, the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya and the Universidad de Valladolid (Spain). These organizations are experts in digital education, the development of technological tools for education and learning analytics. Representing the UOC in colMOOC is Santi Caball, head of the SmartLearn research group.

The aim of colMOOC is to develop and implement a collaborative tool capable of boosting students' participation in MOOCs and reducing the drop-out rate. Therefore,  a conversational agent has been set up to intervene in chats and student forums on MOOC platforms. The system will pose challenging questions, trigger constructive dialogue among students and stimulate critical thinking to deepen learning.

Stavros Demetriadis, the project's coordinator and professor at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, stated that: "Research points to the importance of teachers' interventions in order to fix concepts, eliminate doubts and promote the transfer of knowledge among students through constructive dialogue. colMOOC provides an innovative tool to enable and improve the interventions carried out by the teacher in the MOOCs' environments in order to generate deeper learning".

colMOOC will test three prototypes of this conversational agent on three different platforms to measure student interaction levels as well as completion and learning rates.

The MOOCs to be tested are completely new and have a common learning objective: the development of interdisciplinary digital skills that promote digital literacy, a must-have in the Digital Revolution.

1. Programming for Non-Programmers (October 2019, in Greek), given by Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and available through GUnet's Open eClass and  OpenDelos platforms.

2. Computational Thinking (September 2019, in English), with the participation of the University of Aarhus and available through GUnet's Open eClass and  OpenDelos platforms.

3. Educational Technologies in the Classroom (October 2019, in Spanish), developed by the Universidad de Valladolid and the UOC and available on Telefnica Educacin Digital's  Miradax platform. A German-speaking version given by the Universitt des Saarlandes (SU) will be available on the Learnworlds platform.

For more information about the project visit www.colmooc.eu.