This article on open and free platforms to host your MOOC belongs to the entire series: comparison of places to host your MOOC. As already mentioned there are only a few platforms which really belong to the category of open educational resources. The term is described in the Wikipedia article: Open educational resources as follows:

Open Educational Resources (OER) are freely accessible, usually openly licensed documents and media that are useful for teaching, learning, educational, assessment and research purposes. Although some people consider the use of an open format to be an essential characteristic of OER, this is not a universally acknowledged requirement. The development and promotion of open educational resources is often motivated by a desire to curb the commodification of knowledge and provide an alternate or enhanced educational paradigm

I go a little further than the definition and really require an open licence and also open formats of the documents:

Open Educational Resources (OER) are freely accessible, usually openly licensed documents and media that are useful for teaching, learning, educational, assessment and research purposes. Although some people consider the use of an open format to be is an essential characteristic of OER, this is not a universally acknowledged requirement. The development and promotion of open educational resources is often motivated by a desire to curb the commodification of knowledge and provide an alternate or enhanced educational paradigm

Taking this into account I’ll now compare OER platforms which offer services to host a MOOC. The upshot is that I would suggest to host your MOOC either on Khan Academy or on Wikiversity.

Kahn Academy

Khan Academy is a non-profit educational website created in 2006 by educator Salman Khan, a graduate of MIT and Harvard Business School. The stated mission is to provide “a free world-class education for anyone anywhere”. It is strongly supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and won the Google 10 to the 100 award giving them 2 million dollars. Currently the content is translated to various languages including German. You can find more information for instructors on the website at https://www.khanacademy.org/about

  1. Overhead: You have to learn the Khan academy software
  2. Open: Anyone can create courses on Khan academy. I am note quite sure about including videos since khan academy seems to require some standard branding.
  3. Licence: CC 3.0 by Share alike
  4. Hosting time: As long as the project is founded.
  5. Open Format: The website provides an API to obtain data at http://api-explorer.khanacademy.org/ also all (?) source code of Khan academy is available: https://github.com/Khan
  6. Feedback:Various Feedback mechanisms are provided as explained on the website
  7. Quizes: Yes
  8. Community:As far as I understand instructors cannot collaborate within the software
  9. Audience:Yes: more than a quarter billion lessons have been delivered.
  10. Support: There are a lot of online courses training the coach
  11. Online Meetings: There are Q&A style discussions related to every content created
  12. Account Management:
  13. Risk: Besides Khan Academy running out of money I don’t see any risks

Recommendation: Khan Academy is a very good platform to choose once you want to host a massive open online course. The material as free and open. The platform and community is very active and there is a lot of outside support. Exporting data doesn’t seem to work yet but there seems to be the will to be open in the future. Anyway Khan Academy is the only open educational resources platform that offers you a user experience that is closest to the otherwise commercialized MOOC format.

Wikiversity

Wikiversity is a Wikimedia Foundation project which supports learning communities, their learning materials, and resulting activities. It differs from more structured projects such as Wikipedia in that it instead offers a series of tutorials, or courses, for the fostering of learning, rather than formal content. Like Wikipedia it is offered in several languages. The English version of wikiversity seems quite active where as the German version is currently being restructured.

  1. Overhead: Wiki markup language is very easy to learn. also there is the network of wiki tutors that can come to your place and teach you how to use mediawiki
  2. Open: Anybody can contribute to Wikimedia projects
  3. Licence: CC3.0 SA BY
  4. Hosting time: Forever as long as Wikimedia exists
  5. Open Format: Data base dumps are available and the software is open source
  6. Feedback: So far there is little feedback for instructors but there are potential ways of changing this.
  7. Quizes: yes
  8. Community:Instructurs help each other out and also share content among each other. Minor mistakes in the material are quickly corrected.
  9. Audience:There is a large audience, if the video content is uploaded to wiki commons and included into related wikipedia articles there is a high visibility of the MOOC at the targeted audience.
  10. SupportEspecially in Germany there is the Mentoring network of Media wiki users who teach best practices of using media wiki software.
  11. Online MeetingsHolger Brenner also uses media wiki on wikiversity to create online meetings but this is rather tricky
  12. Account ManagementThere exist different user roles in media wiki but those are not really reflecting a student / teacher relationship
  13. RiskBasically there are none. The data base dumps as well as the software are available for download. Even if the platform closes oneself can still easily host the content.

Recommendation: Mediawiki software is very flexible and offers a lot of opportunities. The software itself is not best suited for the “commercialized” massive open online course format. The biggest drawback is the missing analytics for instructors to see how the course is proceeding. On the other side if one actively uses wikiversity (which I did on my last course) one gets a lot of personal feedback. Wikiversity has a lot of trust (provided by wikipedia) and users to explore content and attract many new people. Also wikimedia really follows the concept of free content without any limitations. Finally Mediawiki is open source and also extensions can be included into Wikiversity if the community agrees to that.

OER Commons

OER Commons is a freely accessible online library located at www.oercommons.org that provides a web-based infrastructure for teachers and others to search and discover Open Educational Resources (OER) and other freely available instructional materials. OER Commons is a project created by ISKME, an independent non-profit organization based in Half Moon Bay, California, founded by Lisa Petrides in 2002. Launched in 2007, OER Commons aggregates Open Educational Resources, which are teaching and learning materials that are openly licensed for anyone to use and reuse, in order to support a global network for engaging with flexible, adaptable curriculum

  1. Overhead: No at all
  2. Open: to anybody. I don’t know about content moderation
  3. Licence: Creative commons
  4. Hosting time: hosting can be on any website.
  5. Open Format: all formats supported
  6. Feedback: No
  7. Quizes: No
  8. Community: Yes
  9. Audience:not of students but rather of teachers collecting teaching material
  10. Support: No
  11. Online Meetings: No
  12. Account Management: No
  13. Risk: No

Recommendation: OER Commons is a very interesting approach since a lot of content that is needed for an open MOOC can be drawn from OER commons. All of the MOOC content can be integrated into OER commons and from this hub being spread to other instructors again. The platform itself doesn’t seem suitable to host an entire course. I think anybody who does a MOOC should submit his material to OER commons. This works really easily even if the content is just provided as a web link. I did this with my last course which was hosted on wikiversity

European MOOC platform open up ed

The european union created its own mooc platform under www.openuped.eu/.

  1. Overhead: No at all
  2. Open: only selected partners
  3. Licence: partner choice
  4. Hosting time: you host the mooc yourself
  5. Open Format: your decision
  6. Feedback: possible
  7. Quizes:possible
  8. Community: There is a network of partners but it’s hard to say how much collaboration exists
  9. Audience:your own students
  10. Support: n/a
  11. Online Meetings: possible
  12. Account Management: possible
  13. Risk: None

Recommendation: This platform seems interesting since there is political will behind. Right now it seems to only aggregate MOOCs from various partners so there is no hosting service offered. On the other side you maintain the licence of everything and can probably add an existing MOOC to the index of the platform ==> Nice to have but for now it cannot work as a standalone hosting service. Also it is not clear if you can participate since they work only with selected partners.

P2P University

Peer to Peer University (P2PU) is a nonprofit online open learning community which allows users to organize and participate in courses and study groups to learn about specific topics. Peer 2 Peer University was started in 2009 with funding from the Hewlett Foundation and the Shuttleworth Foundation. The main learning management system for P2PU courses is called Lernanta (the Esperanto word for “learning”). P2PU also hosts a wiki and an OSQA server for questions and answers.

  1. Overhead: low
  2. Open: Anybody
  3. Licence: CC SA BY
  4. Hosting time: I did not spot video content
  5. Open Format: As far as I see there is no standard format used
  6. Feedback: through discussions
  7. Quizes: no
  8. Community: there are strong partners like mozilla connected to the project
  9. Audience: doesn’t seem too large
  10. Support: there is a lot of teaching about the platform in courses on the platform. since courses are p2p I assume there is quite some support
  11. Online Meetings: possible
  12. Account Management: probably not
  13. Risk: This platform doesn’t seem to be mature yet. Will it survive?

Recommendation: I like the approach of this learning platform but I have the feeling it is much more targeted towards learning groups from students. It also doesn’t seem to be very mature and it is not quite clear to what place it will develop. Also I could not find data base dumps on the website which decreases my trust into the platform.

Summary

I hope I did not oversee any platform. My advice is to go for either Khan Academy or Wikiversity and submit your entire course as well as pieces of the material to OER Commons. In that way I would also suggest to add part of the content of your course to wiki commons if can enhance any given wikipedia article. I think it is probably personal choice whether to go for Khan Academy or for Wikiversity. Personally I would probably go for Wikiversity since I already had good experiences and my trust to this platform with respect to long term sustainability is higher. Also out of the box more languages are supported. In any case: When you want to create a MOOC don’t let yourself be blinded by commercialized platforms and offers just because they look nicer. Education is something that belongs to the citizens!

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3 Comments on Comparison of open educational resources services to host your MOOC

  1. [...] we need the content, next we can think about how to use it”. Have alook at my blog post: http://www.rene-pickhardt.de/c.....c/ to see which open platforms perform [...]

  2. [...] to my former blog post there are  3 ways for creating a MOOC that is truely [...]

  3. [...] wikiversity in comparison to other MOOC platforms is truely open you might also want to watch some of my introductory videos. They are in particular helpful to show [...]

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