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Invited Lecture
How are MOOCs Disrupting the Educational Landscape?
Hugh Davis
University of Southampton
United Kingdom

Brief Bio

Hugh Davis is Professor of Learning Technologies at the University of Southampton, where he is also Director of Education, and directs the Centre for Innovation in Technologies in Education (CITE) and the Professional Development Unit (PDU).  Hugh has a long history of research in Hypertext and in Learning Technologies, with over 200 publications in these areas and more than 35 grants. He also has significant experience as an educational change-agent in HE at both a local and national level.  His current interests include the ‘Virtual University’, using educational analytics to understand how students go about learning, and how the web changes HE and learning, all of which are branches of Web Science.  The University of Southampton is one of the founder members of the UK MOOC Platform, FutureLearn, and Hugh leads the Southampton MOOC effort, and has directed the production and delivery of three MOOCs to genuinely massive cohorts since mid-2013. More information is available at http://users.ecs.soton.ac.uk/hcd and he tweets as @HughDavis.

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are the latest disruption to traditional educational patterns.  Instead of asking students to pay for the courses Universities are giving them away free.  This implies that Universities are changing business models and some critics suggest that these new business models will be the death of traditional Universities. Furthermore, educational experts are criticising MOOCs for limited pedagogy and enormous drop-out rates. Many commentators suggest that MOOCs are now passing the peak of inflated expectations on the new technologies hype cycle, and will soon be history. This talk takes a more optimistic middle path, suggesting that Universities that are agile can go with the flow of the disruption (or avalanche?) to the educational benefit of their students, both on campus and at distance.  MOOCs are encouraging teachers to take a fresh look at the benefits of blended learning activities, social learning and peer support. At the same time University administrations are revising their financial models for supporting learning and curriculum development. This talk will look at some of the latest trends in the way MOOCs are starting to change educational practice. The educational landscape is being disrupted, but maybe for the better.