E-Space MOOC: a successful first run!

On January 10th 2017 the MOOC “Europeana Space: Creative with Digital Heritage” ended. With almost 1000 enrolled learners from 90 different countries and regions, we are very pleased to announce that this first run of the course was a success.

What made this possible was not only the enthusiasm shown by the E-Space partners in collaborating to the development of this course, but also the availability of KU Leuven to host our MOOC on their edX channel and to provide excellent support throughout the whole process; for them this was an experiment with a MOOC that stems directly from a research project rather than being based on existing university lectures.

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Hexagons on Hexagons by Jolan Wuyts CC-BY-SA

The course consisted of 7 main modules: Photography, Open and Hybrid Publishing, TV, Dance, Museums, IP for the Cultural Entrepreneur and Creative Marketing. Every module offered varied information, tools, reading materials and lectures that would help the learners to dig deep into the proposed subjects. But not only. The materials were also organised on 3 levels in order to satisfy the needs of every possible learner: for a more general public of learners, lovers of (digital) cultural heritage; for professionals in the GLAM sector; and for developers. The course also included quizzes, multiple choice problems, and typical “hands on” activities for the learners.

Grades were not the main focus of the MOOC. What interested us more, was that students could learn and discover useful information and material derived from our experiences within the E-Space project, that would allow them to improve and enhance their creative role in relation to the reuse of digital cultural heritage. For this reason, they were not expected to follow all the modules of the course (though very welcome to do so, if they wanted). They could pick a minimum of 4 modules to follow and complete, those that interested them the most.

All the modules were more or less evenly followed by the students, showing that all the topics presented have been found interesting. The learners’ level of experience and background varied greatly, so it doesn’t surprise that each of them picked and followed certain specific modules over others. Our students were GLAM professionals, teachers, developers, students, journalists, people working in the communication field, graphic artists, designers and cultural heritage lovers. Their reasons for following the course were varied, but upon being asked the question, the most voted answer has been ‘professional interest’, closely followed by ‘learn something new’ and ‘personal interest’.

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The Spinsternet by Lara Taffer CC-BY-SA

The course raised very positive reactions among the learners. Not only the content has been praised, but also the self-paced nature of the MOOC, the freedom in choosing the preferred four modules to follow, and the even mix of tests and discussion assignments have been considered big assets of this course. We can conclude that, overall, the course met the expectations of the students. With some minor adjustments, we will soon be able to relaunch the course, which we are confident will be met by the same positive reaction!

For more educational resources on how to creatively (re)use Europeana contents, check out our E-Space Education Portal.

“Thanks for offering this course! Very interested to learn this material, glad to know about this information, how to use it, and the future of its use!”

“The content in this class is extensive I am excited about the website Europeana […] A tremendous opportunity in the explorations.”

Talking about the Storytelling website (<http://www.tellyourphotostory.be>) “The idea of the site is absolutely brilliant. I loved browsing through this endless list of images. It inspired me to find an interesting topic which I may not had found if I had not visited the collections on Europeana. […]I absolutely loved creating a photostory and being creative with photographic heritage. I definitely will be doing this again.”

Talking about Open and Hybrid Publishing and the Remix exercise “I might be overstretching myself by stating this is the best thing I have EVER done in my life but I really loved this activity.”

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Clarissa Colangelo, KU Leuven