Mooc, Mazur and Mitra – My planned pedagogy #ocTEL

The activity on #ocTEL was to look at a course you were teaching and see how ‘individual to social’ and ‘autonomous to directed’ it was.  Most of what I currently do as a learning technologist is single training sessions rather than a course, so I am veering off topic and instead…

Im going to weave together a few good ideas borrowed from other people to define what I would do to provide an “good” educational experience for University Students.

MolymodsMooc Pedagogy (connectivist)
The first part of this would be to encourage each student to have their own blog
(research show that students can benefit from blogs (editlib) and that they generally are positive about the effect of blogs on their learning (

The second would be to use a social network (depending on class size this could be a particular network or students could choose the one they wish to use)
(The research on social networks show that they provide a lot of benefits associated with informal learning (  and for anecdotal evidence see this blog post by a student on a mooc)

With all students having these 2 tools we would be equipped to harness the key benefits of the cMooc approach even if we were not properly engaged in a Mooc.

Mazur – Flipped classroom

The benefits to student learning of a flipped classroom method have a growing body of research backing them – I particularly like this report for its clarity ( 

As such my plan will be to provide all the materials, notes etc via the VLE and use the lecture time for problem solving and clicker work.  One thing that I might also do is make a couple of short 10 min videos each week to cover the key bits of the lecture that the flip will be replacing.

Mitra – Group Active Learning

Its a 10 week course so I would like to include 2 sessions doing this based on his SOLE toolkit.  However my target audience are University students so I think it needs a bit of tweaking.  Obviously the question will need to be a bit harder, but I would suggest a question from a past exam paper on the topic that will be covered that week would be a good one.   Students bring their own laptops but only one per group can be used. Next lecture theaters are a bit difficult to move around in so groups of 4 at each end of each row of seats, 2 or 3 groups at the front where the lecturer stands and any extra groups in the nearest space outside.  After the 40 minutes everyone comes back to the class and 3 groups are chosen at random to present what they have learnt.  Then all students are given access to a google doc, in the following week they need to add what they have learnt to the google doc and as a class edit it into a coherent whole.

So a standard week would look like this

  • Pre-Lecture read materials and watch short videos (either by other experts in the field or a couple of 10 minute ones created for the course)
  • Lecture short demos of concepts with clicker questions and discussions (the Mazur method)
  • Post lecture students will be asked to write a blog post on topic or addressing a question about the topic in more depth, when done they will share the post via the social network.  They should read the posts of some other students and should be encouraged to make comments.

I would leave the assessment of the unit the same as previously, however I would make a simple change that (for essays etc) 2 days after the submission deadline they should post their work on their blogs and share with other students.  I might even use the peer assessment tools to allocate them all a couple of assessments that they can mark.  I would of course still mark the essays myself but students will then have the learning experience of looking in depth at what other students have done and getting feedback on what others think of their work.

I would release my marks a couple of days after students get the “marks” from their peers.  It might also have the side effect of demonstrating to students how much effort staff put into their marking.

I think this would be a pretty strong structure with repeated learning opportunities and its backed by research into what makes effective teaching, I just need to find a course to apply it to or an academic who is willing to work with me to make some changes to their course.


7 thoughts on “Mooc, Mazur and Mitra – My planned pedagogy #ocTEL

  1. Jo Conlon

    I would agree that the structure looks very strong. I particularly like the blog posting idea. Someone suggested extracting examples of good practice as exemplars too in the preamble of the next session. I would make anonymous initially but as I am typing this I am wondering about that (but trying to stay on track with this comment so will stop…). I also like the Google doc bit but need to play with this myself more. On trying to do small group work in a lecture theatre I would advise that you ask students to make one space their ‘base’ for the whole 10-week course, this really helps with familiarization with the large group ; I find that you can begin to see them / remember them as individuals much more quickly and this avoids also repeatedly picking on the same group. I think a group identity would help too e.g. ‘back row crew’ etc

    1. josephgliddon Post author

      Thanks for the small group idea, I think I will use it. A sense of identity could also be useful for fostering a bit of friendly competition between groups.

  2. Gitte Bailey Hass

    I’ll try to flip my class room in physics next school year. It’s a huge job to collect materials for the work at home. My students will be 14- 15 years old. I didn’t think about using the peer evaluation, so thanks a lot for the idea. I already planned a lot of practical work and then writing journals. Now I will add that they have to assess two physics journals from their peers. Which makes it very important to spend energy to communicate both how to write a journal and how to assess it. I liked the system from the mooc edc, so I think I’ll use their 0, 1 or 2 points. Thank you for an inspiring post.

  3. Pingback: Why do people think Blogs will transform education? | More than just Content

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