Four open practices of OER use into curriculum

Integrating MOOCS in traditionally taught courses

The first acquaintance I had with open and online educational resources (OER) dates back years ago in the form of a MOOC. MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Courses (Bralic & Divjak, 2018).

MOOCs are online courses open to all who have access to an internet connection and are self-motivated in learning anywhere and anytime in the world’ (Israel, 2015).

I participated in a MOOC as alternative to traditional classroom instruction as in-service training. I wanted to get to know some of the subjects I encountered in my daily work without immediately taking part in a formal course, training or workshop. However, I noticed for myself that I dropped out quickly.


Drop-outs mention many reasons why they stop, as described here. Inan & Yukselturk (2006) distinguish between Problems Regarding ‘Learners’ and ‘Online Programs’ when describing the reasons. Current trend shows an average completion rate less than 10% of total enrollment (Jordan, 2014). Literature shows there is a growing interest for exploring how MOOCs can enrich traditionally taught courses (Bralic & Divjak, 2018) and act as a complementary resource in blended courses. MOOCs present new opportunities for supporting face-to-face classes (Koller, 2012). Perhaps a good alternative to a stand-alone MOOC.

How are MOOCs integrated in traditional classrooms?

Literature says there are four open practices of Open Educational Resources (figure 1). MOOC is a sort of OER; but how can a MOOC be used into curriculum? ‘As is’ means ‘unchanged’ and ‘repurposed’ is a possibility if the MOOC don’t fit exactly the learning objectives or the user’s specific context (Sloep, 2014). Besides that it is possible to involve the MOOC during design phase of during delivery.

Four open practices of OER use into curriculum

Figure 1 – Four open practices of OER use into curriculum

But I ask myself if it’s really possible to repurpose a MOOC. Maybe you can use parts of a MOOC, some interesting video’s or something. But changing I think is hard doing a MOOC. MOOCs have a certain structure.

Israel (2015) refers to studies in which MOOC has been incorporated into traditional educational settings in various ways. Astin (2014) describes there appears to be at least two very different intended uses for MOOCs:

  • to supplement and enhance traditional classroom instruction, on the one hand,
  • and to replace or serve as an alternative to traditional classroom instruction, on the other.

Both are examples of ‘As is’ AND ‘During Design’ (see figure 1).

If you want to replace the teacher instruction into a MOOC as a teacher you have to determine whether te MOOC fits, or can be changed to fit (repurpose, see figure 1) the learning goals, or the educational context (Sloep, 2014). Teachers and instructional designers involved in curriculum design needs specific knowledge and skills to correctly adopt OER in their curricula (IOF, 2016).

As an Instructional Designer I wonder what (design) principles or decisions do you have to take into account?

Little research has been done yet on the implementation of MOOCs in contexts other than in which they are designed and developed (Griffiths, Chingos, Mulhern & Spies, 2014). Research advocated using flipped classroom as a strategy for hybrid learning concerning MOOCs (Martin, 2012). Hybrid learning combines face-to-face classroom instruction with online activities. Hybrid and blended learning are used exchangeable.

In an experimental study (Li, Zhang, Bonk, & Guo, 2015) a MOOC and other online OER resources were used. The design of the course is shown in figure 2.

Course timeline and major activity

Figure 2 – Course timeline and major activity (Zhang et al, 2015)

The designs shows a flipped-classroom model. The pedagogical approach is characterized by reversing the traditional role of the teacher giving lectures in classroom and students doing homework at home and allowing students to watch online video lectures before class and participate in interactive activities such as discussions during the inclass sessions (Li, et al, 2015). The teacher instruction is replaced by the MOOC (1ste lesson each week). To have a productive and effective discussion during lesson 2 each week the students must prepare themselves by looking at the MOOC materials. Otherwise, there won’t be a fruitful discussion during class time. The designer in the example of the course presented in figure 2 decided to use the MOOC assignments and also own developed assignments. In this example many design decisions are made.

What decisions do you have to make as a teacher or instructional designer by using a MOOC in traditional classroom setting (Israel, 2015):

  • Replacement for traditional in-campus course OR MOOC as supplementary text
  • Single OR multiple MOOCs (or using parts of the MOOCs)
  • Live MOOCs OR archived MOOCs
  • Using the MOOC as the only content OR use also additional content like a book
  • Completing all OR part OR none of the MOOC assignments
  • Using own developed assignments OR none own developed tasks

In most of the studies MOOCs were being used as open educational resources rather than a massive open online courses (Israel, 2015). The integration of MOOCS and OER should not be an end in itself. It must fit in well with the needs of the students, the goals and the assessment of the course (constructive alignment).

In the studies discussed by Israel (2015) almost none of the studies used the assessments of MOOCs for grading purposes. I’m wondering if a MOOC test adequately the knowledge for your own program. Most of the studies about incorporating MOOCs in traditional classroom settings claimes that the impact was almost equal or slightly better than face-to-face teaching environments (Israel, 2015). Griffiths et al. (2014) mentioned there are also other benefits resulting from the use of MOOCs, like gaining strong critical thinking. In order to get that kind of return, interaction is important. In the course design of figure 2 there is student-to-student, student-to-lecture and student-to-content interaction. These interactions are important for students’ learning process. These processes are encouraged and strengthened by the role of the teacher. Next to design issues the role of the teacher changes from lecturer-centred to student-centred. And perhaps this has more impact than the role of the MOOC in the design.


Astin, W.A. (2014). To MOOC of not to MOOC the liberal arts? Why not consult the evidence? Geraadgpleegd op 29 oktober 2019, van

Bralic, A. & Divjak, B. (2018). Integrating MOOCs in traditionally taught courses: achieving learning outcomes with blended learning. International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education

Griffiths, R., Chingos, M., Mulhern, C., & Spies, R. (2014). Interactive online learning on campus: Testing MOOCs and other platforms in hybrid formats in the University System of Maryland (ITHAKA S+R Report).

Inan, F.A. & Yukselturk, E. (2006). Examining the Factors Affecting Student Dropout in an Online Certificate Program. Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education-TOJDE July 2006 Volume: 7 Number: 3 Article: 6. Geraadgpleegd op 29 oktober 2019, van

IOF (Ed.). (2016). Open Educational Resources Competency Framework. Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie. Retrieved from

Israel, M.J. (2015). Effectiveness of Integrating MOOCs in Traditional Classrooms for Undergraduate Students. International Review of Research in Open an Distributed Learning, Volume 16, Numer 5

Jordan, K. (2014). Initial trends in enrolment and completion of massive open online courses. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 15(1), 133–160. Retrieved from

Koller, D. (2012, November 7). How online courses can form a basis for on-campus teaching. [Web log post]. Retrieved from

Li, Y., Zhang, Y.M., Bonk, C.J. & Guo, Y. (2015). Integrating MOOC and Flipping the classroon practices in a traditional undergraduate course: students’ experience and perceptions. iJET, Vol. 10,

Martin, F.G. (2012). Will massive open online courses change how we teach? Communications of the ACM, Vol. 55, 26-28

Sloep, P. (2014). Didactic methods for open and online education. Retrieved from

Topic 2 – To MOOC or not to MOOC