IGP Stories

New Methods for New Times: Going Online with MOOC Co-Design


Dr Eileen Kennedy

MOOCs are usually defined as Massive Open Online Courses. At the RELIEF Centre we are shifting that definition to understand their role as Massive Open Online Collaborations– learning experiences that are formally organised like courses, but are designed so that participants can share ideas with each other to build solutions to the world’s pressing problems together.

We have a highly participatory approach to co-designing MOOCs with communities in Lebanon to co-create collaborative learning opportunities that are embedded in the excellent practice that is already happening. We can then scale up this practice through the MOOCs, which attract tens of thousands of participants to exchange ideas and learn from each other through discussions and collaborative activities. This is part of our Theory of Change which involves 5 stages: Engage, Develop, Extend, Embed and Self-sustain.

Central to this is a process of co-design – we reach out to professionals to design the MOOC content and learning activities together. We have worked with teachers and teacher-educators across education sectors in Lebanon to create MOOCs to support teachers use transformative approaches such as online learning in challenging environments.

The teachers we work with may not know much about MOOCs to begin with, and have little time to spare, so we have developed workshops that help us design MOOCs together fast. We have held co-design workshops at LAU and at Lebanese University and our partners have found the workshops very useful not just for designing MOOCs but for creating their own online and blended learning designs.

We usually do this face to face, but this year, during lockdown, the Faculty Fellows at the Center for Innovative Learning at LAU surprised us by asking for an online workshop. So we sent videos about our pedagogy (The Conversational Framework) and met online using an interactive whiteboard for brainstorming (Miro) and our online Learning Designer tool.

Feedback from participants indicated that the online workshop worked well. Participants said that they found the learning types, the Miro board and the Learning Designer tool useful and they would implement these when designing their teaching sessions.

The LAU Faculty successfully created their own designs which will help them move their teaching into blended and online modes – critical at a time when more flexibility is needed in education everywhere.

We documented the whole process – so if you want to use our approach to co-design online or blended teaching with colleagues or students, you can find our learning design for an online co-design workshop here.

Click here to read more about the workshop:


Click here to sign up to the Teaching online MOOC:


Image credit: Edraak

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