ViLiProject Meeting in Cyprus: Reflecting on a successful MOOC

The Visual/Video Literacies (ViLi) project meeting in Cyprus took place on the 11th and 12th of June 2018 and provided an opportunity for the team to reflect on the delivery of the 1st Visual Lieracies MOOC, review data on demographics and learning analytics, and discuss future collaborative activities with visitors Jamie Newman and Nicholas (Nick) Bustamante, Louisiana Tech University (USA).   

The event was hosted by CARDET and senior project manager Dr Katerina Theodoridou at the CLASSIC hotel in Nicosia, Cyprus with participants Julie-Ann Sime and Chryssa Themelis from Lancaster University (UK); Yiannis Arapoglou and Asteria Marantou from WIDE Services (GREECE); Ramón Reichert and Wendy Coones (via Skype) from Danube University Krems (AUSTRIA).

The 1st MOOC attracted 314 participants without any paid advertisements and with minimal presence in social media.  It provided an opportunity for us to gain a better understanding of the target group, the content and e-learning design, and technical issues. Participation in the course was more active and drop-out rate much lower in comparison to expectations based on MOOC statistics available.  Our drop-out rate of 40% was much lower than the expected 78%, so more participants who noted an interest in the MOOC actually started the course.  Our retention rate was also very good compared to expected rates, with the reduction in the number of participants between weeks 1 and 2 being 23% (compared to expected 40%) and between weeks 2 and 3 being 10% (compared to expected 25%).  By the end of the 5 weeks we retained 36% participants who started in week 1.  This is an exceptionally high retention rate for a MOOC.

According to the demographics questionnaire, as presented by Katerina Theodoridou, Senior Project manager at CARDET, the participants were significantly experienced with e-learning courses and ICT, for example see Figure 1.

Figure 1. ICT competency as described in the demographics survey.

The participants (71%) were experienced in taking MOOCs and 98.5% were comfortable with the idea of taking a MOOC.  When asked about their visual literacy, 85% rated their knowledge as average or above and 78% said that they used visual literacy in their professional context.  Overall, the participants are highly experienced learners and already have some understanding of visual literacies.

Through short, weekly, evaluation questionnaires participants provided interesting feedback on the user interface and the content of the MOOC, see Figure 2. The participants praised the content as interesting and relevant to their professional and personal development. 

Figure2: show the responses of participants in week 3.

Valuable information was also obtained from learning analytics showing interactions with peers and tutors. Figure 3 shows how discussion forum communications can be represented in graphs as connections between tutors and participants. Representing communications like this enables us to reflect on and improve future communication patterns to encourage more direct communications between participants.

 Figure 3. Instructors and participants connections

In the final week of the MOOC, a guest tutor, Dr. Mark Childs (Open University, UK), gave a presentation about online identity.  This increased participation from 66 to 144 viewers of the live webinar, which is now available on YouTube. 

In preparing the 1st MOOC we collaborated with Louisiana Tech University (USA) Professor Kirk St. Amant, his students and colleagues to create an infographic to explain Elements of Art.  During the meeting in Cyprus Nicholas Bustamante and Jamie Newman presented their work on the Visual Integration of Science through Art (VISTA program).  The Vili project team and visitors from Louisiana Tech University (USA), see Figure 4, agreed on further collaboration and plans to enrich the content of the 2nd MOOC with more visuals developed by Nick Bustamante (Louisiana Tech University, USA).  The 2nd MOOC will start on 8th October 2018.

Photograph taken with ViLi project partners and associate members in Cyprus 13th June 2018


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