Proposal for a GCSE Computing MOOC

About one third of my work since joining Exa Education has been supporting the teaching of Computing in UK schools. I’m constantly looking for new solutions to help me scale-up my support to other teachers and I’d like to share a proposal for a MOOC to support the teaching of GCSE Computing and enlist a group of teachers willing to try it out.

Please read the proposal below and either comment here or send me suggestions to help me develop the proposal further. I’ll amend/edit this post in light of suggestions. Please bear in mind that this is only a proposal at this stage – not a concrete commitment. Comments and suggestions you make below may help determine the future of this proposal.

Introduction: The new Computer Science GCSEs starting in September 2016 place 80% of the assessment weighting on terminal exam papers in the summer of Year 11, with just 20% of the weighting on a practical non-examined assessment. In my 5 years of teaching GCSE Computing, I felt that the best lessons were those lessons where pupils were practically engaged in problem-solving activity. To facilitate a greater amount of time for practical lessons, I developed a ‘flipped learning’ approach to the knowledge content, eg. http://tinyurl.com/gcsecomptopics. This approach served me and my classes very well and many other teachers have told me it’s been a lifesaver for them too.

I’m considering developing this yet further into a tool that any teacher (and their classes) will be able to use, especially to support teachers unfamiliar with Computing/Computer Science.

The main features of this resource when created would include some of the following:

  1. A week-by-week topic guide from September 2016 to July 2017
  2. Relevant homework topics each week that link to OCR’s GCSE Computer Science (J276) and if there’s enough demand, widen scope to include AQA, WJEC/Eduqas and Edexcel/Pearson qualifications too
  3. Links to resources using text, images, videos and sound meaning that the purchase of additional text-books or other resources would not be required
  4. Link to the most popular paid-for resources for those schools who already have them available eg. published text-books
  5. Computer Assessed Multiple Choice Topic Tests linked to the topics to help inform teachers’ judgements on progress
  6. The MOOC would be hosted on a server that I would maintain, reducing the amount of setting up required – but would allow schools to fork/host their own version if that was an option they wanted to explore
  7. Ability for teachers to register their own classes if they choose to administer groups and export assessment data, but no personal data other than email addresses would be stored on the server
  8. A teacher-only forum for teachers to discuss issues pertaining to the use of the MOOC and share links to relevant resources/activities.

Non-Examined Assessment: In addition, I’ve also been developing activities to support preparing pupils for the non-examined assessments based on an approach I developed at my previous school, but this would be kept separate from the MOOC and would be much more specific to the individual exam board specifications due to the variations between them.

The cost: For me to develop a quality resource I anticipate I would need to spend at least 1 day per week throughout the year developing, refining and maintaining the MOOC which would represent a cost to my employers Exa Education. To mitigate the costs, a fee in the region of £50-£100 per school would make it viable. This would be a non-profit making venture, so if more schools signed up, the subscription could be reduced.

Questions for you to answer:

  1. Is this proposal something that you would consider as a valuable resource?
  2. Is the ‘market place’ already saturated – would this resource be duplicating those that already exist?
  3. Are the features listed above important? Any features missing or unnecessary?
  4. Do the subscription fees £50-100 per school seem reasonable? What would be the most/least you’d expect to pay for this?
  5. Which exam board specification have you chose to go with?
  6. Any other comments?

 

 

 

 

 

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35 Comments Add yours

  1. Paula dean says:

    Yes please!

    Like

  2. Steve says:

    Fab idea, at least I know they would be engaging and would allow me to focus on facilitating rather then spending hours creating slides.

    Do you have any ones you have already started., which we could review?

    Like

    1. teknoteacher says:

      Steve – thanks. I have a lot of resources already created and shared, but the problem is they’re spread out in different areas. Some here in this blog – others at http://tinyurl.com/jellymarmite . I’m proposing something new however, that will be a development and refinement of the existing plans and resources.

      Like

  3. Shirley Crossley says:

    Q1 – extremely valuable Q2- lots about but would trust your resources more as you have taught it and understand how to teach it. Q3- sounds perfect Q4 – don’t think that is an unreasonable amount at all

    >

    Like

    1. teknoteacher says:

      Shirley, it’s now available at: http://courses.exa.foundation with some more background at https://teachcomputing.wordpress.com/2016/08/27/the-mooc-has-landed/ The first term’s worth of content is free, then a £100+vat subscription after that to access additional content.

      Like

  4. smarttable says:

    I think this is a really excellent idea. I am sure once it is up and running it will really take off. Students would love access to this type of content too. I think the cost sounds very reasonable. The content across the exam boards will be similar in many ways so you may be better to focus on generic content with pointers that emphasise differences as appropriate.

    Hope this helps

    Richard

    Like

  5. Jayne says:

    1. Definitely
    2. Lots available, but have liked and would trust your resources
    3. Sounds great
    4. Very reasonable and affordable even on our tight budget
    5. OCR
    6. Looking forward to it!

    Like

    1. teknoteacher says:

      Jayne, it’s now available at: http://courses.exa.foundation with some more background at https://teachcomputing.wordpress.com/2016/08/27/the-mooc-has-landed/ The first term’s worth of content is free, then a £100+vat subscription after that to access additional content.

      Like

  6. Michael Harrington says:

    Alan, a fantastic idea and some great resources you have so generously shared. Especially http://tinyurl.com/jellymarmite.

    I am going to look at adapting this to create my own if you do not mind. I will link to our school oneDrive, classOne Note and all my google docs.

    I am keen to get as much as possible on the cloud, online, shareable and unloadable for my classes.

    A bleated thank you for your sharing. Much appreciated.

    The same answers as others for me.
    Is this proposal something that you would consider as a valuable resource? YES
    Is the ‘market place’ already saturated – would this resource be duplicating those that already exist?
    SOME BUT I LIKE THE IDEA OF ONE SOURCE/LOCATION FOR ALL RESOURCES FOR A COURSE – (COMPUTER SCIENCE GCSE & A LEVEL)
    Are the features listed above important? Any features missing or unnecessary? THESE CAN BE ADDED AS YOU / OTHERS PROVE THEIR SUCCESS IN THE CLASS
    Do the subscription fees £50-100 per school seem reasonable? What would be the most/least you’d expect to pay for this? 100 IS FINE
    Which exam board specification have you chose to go with? PLEASE INCLUDE CIE COMPUTER SCIENCE GCSE

    Any other comments?
    I always remember what a Google Apps for Education representative said to me at BETT a few years ago when I told him there were only 2 teachers in my department and we both did it “our way”. He asked me to imagine there were 50 teachers in my dept who taught exactly the same way as me!

    How much less work would we all have to do if we shared or were part of a group.

    You MOOC is represents this goal

    Thanks

    Michael

    Like

    1. teknoteacher says:

      Michael, all really helpful comments, thank you. Lots for me to consider.

      Like

    2. teknoteacher says:

      Michael, it’s now available at: http://courses.exa.foundation with some more background at https://teachcomputing.wordpress.com/2016/08/27/the-mooc-has-landed/ The first term’s worth of content is free, then a £100+vat subscription after that to access additional content.

      Like

  7. Alistair. says:

    This Sounds like a really good idea and something that will be valuable for teachers who do not have a computing specialty background.
    Q1 There are resources out there though none of them are as interactive as what you have produced in the past . This could be a very valuable resource
    Q2 . There are some resources out there, but not at the level that you have done.
    Q3 Features that you have listed are very clear, would work well practically in the classroom
    Q4 For the amount of resources in comparison to other providers. The cost seems good.
    Q5 OCR J276
    Q6 All being well this goes ahead when do you hope to have this up and running?

    Please keep us up to date on this. Cheers Alistair.

    Like

    1. teknoteacher says:

      Alistair, thank you very much for the comments and feedback. All being well, I anticipate that the resource would be available for use from 1st September and probably on a four week trial basis to begin with. My next few weeks are my busiest period with events every week, but I imagine I’ll be working on this through the month of August. If you’ve subscribed to this blog, you’ll receive an update when it’s available.

      Like

    2. teknoteacher says:

      Alistair, it’s now available at: http://courses.exa.foundation with some more background at https://teachcomputing.wordpress.com/2016/08/27/the-mooc-has-landed/ The first term’s worth of content is free, then a £100+vat subscription after that to access additional content.

      Like

  8. Mudassir Mir says:

    Hi Alan

    I’d be interested in signing up to this and paying for access to the resources.

    The cheaper the better but £50 is reasonable but I’d like to see what this would look like before I pay for it.

    thanks

    Mudassir Mir

    Leader of ICT & Computing

    Bradford Academy

    Bradford Academy Teasdale Street Bradford BD4 7QJ

    Tel: 01274 256789 (Reception) m.mir@bradfordacademy.co.uk

    ________________________________

    Like

  9. Bob Verde says:

    Hi Alan, It would certainly be useful for a student teacher. It would be nice if it were possible to get a discounted rate for PGCE students! 🙂

    Like

  10. sireid says:

    Q1-4: A very big, Yes please!
    Q5: OCR
    Q6: Couldn’t think of anyone better to develop this. I greatly appreciate your time, energy and enthusiasm, Alan, in creating and sharing so many resources in the past. They’ve been liberating and very welcome. Please keep us posted of further developments!? Thanks.

    Like

  11. Jack says:

    This is an excellent idea. In response to the questions
    1. yes, very valuable.
    2 & 3. I would second what Alistair has said.
    4. The cost seems vert resonable.
    5. OCR
    6. I found the OCR videos for thier MOOC very benefical for giving pupils an introduction to the topic.

    Like

  12. Mark Fairbank says:

    Questions for you to answer:
    Is this proposal something that you would consider as a valuable resource? YES

    Is the ‘market place’ already saturated – would this resource be duplicating those that already exist? NO THAT I KNOW OF

    Are the features listed above important? Any features missing or unnecessary? ALL LOOKS GOOD

    Do the subscription fees £50-100 per school seem reasonable? What would be the most/least you’d expect to pay for this? VERY FAIR EVENT WITH A SMALL COHORT 2 x 15 students) THIS WORKS OUT AT ONLY £3.33 PER CHILD.

    Which exam board specification have you chose to go with? OCR J276

    Any other comments? NO

    Like

    1. teknoteacher says:

      Mark, it’s now available at: http://courses.exa.foundation with some more background at https://teachcomputing.wordpress.com/2016/08/27/the-mooc-has-landed/ The first term’s worth of content is free, then a £100+vat subscription after that to access additional content.

      Like

  13. Sharn Kaur says:

    Has this been finalised if so I would be interested.

    Like

  14. Alex Baker says:

    This sounds like an excellent idea.
    Is this proposal something that you would consider as a valuable resource?
    Yes, I have been looking for a good MOOC to help my students with their computer science.

    Is the ‘market place’ already saturated – would this resource be duplicating those that already exist?
    OCR already run a MOOC based on their course (http://www.cambridgegcsecomputing.org/). It might be an idea to prioritise those other boards (AQA please!).

    Are the features listed above important? Any features missing or unnecessary?
    I’d be very grateful for some sort of built in assessment. That’s what I’m finding hardest at the moment.

    Do the subscription fees £50-100 per school seem reasonable?
    What would be the most/least you’d expect to pay for this?
    That seems very fair.

    Which exam board specification have you chose to go with?
    AQA

    Like

    1. teknoteacher says:

      Alex, it’s now available at: http://courses.exa.foundation with some more background at https://teachcomputing.wordpress.com/2016/08/27/the-mooc-has-landed/ The first term’s worth of content is free, then a £100+vat subscription after that to access additional content.

      Like

  15. Ian Harridge says:

    Hi Alan

    Great idea – many services start charging large fees – to be able to give students access and monitor there progress through the materials would be good. Tests and past exam questions etc would be good.

    Following other exam boards would be an excellent solution too – we have gone with AQA this year,

    Like

    1. teknoteacher says:

      Ian, it’s now available at: http://courses.exa.foundation with some more background at https://teachcomputing.wordpress.com/2016/08/27/the-mooc-has-landed/ The first term’s worth of content is free, then a £100+vat subscription after that to access additional content.

      Like

  16. deborah stones says:

    A great big yes from me. I trust your resources having used many of them I know the quality and relevance is first class. Would fund the cost myself if school didn’t as it would save me so much time. Just looking forward to seeing it.

    Like

  17. This sounds like a great idea Alan, as I currently find that so many resources are spread out in different places so a central place to access these would be great.
    I think the subscription cost is very reasonable and within reach of all school department budgets.
    I’m going with OCR.
    I’d be very interested to be involved with this! Thanks

    Like

    1. teknoteacher says:

      Kevin, it’s ready now – you can now register at http://courses.exa.foundation

      Like

  18. Kevin G says:

    When’s it ready, and where do i pay….

    🙂

    Like

    1. teknoteacher says:

      Kevin, the first half term of content will be free and should be available early next week about 23rd August. I’ve completed the resources section, I just need to configure the assessment tools. I hope and expect that people will rate it good enough to pay for, hence the 6 week no-obligation trial. 🙂

      Like

    2. teknoteacher says:

      Kevin, it’s now available at: http://courses.exa.foundation with some more background at https://teachcomputing.wordpress.com/2016/08/27/the-mooc-has-landed/ The first term’s worth of content is free, then a £100+vat subscription after that to access additional content.

      Like

  19. Kevin G says:

    That’s super! Thanks Alan.

    Like

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