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:
- A week-by-week topic guide from September 2016 to July 2017
- 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
- Links to resources using text, images, videos and sound meaning that the purchase of additional text-books or other resources would not be required
- Link to the most popular paid-for resources for those schools who already have them available eg. published text-books
- Computer Assessed Multiple Choice Topic Tests linked to the topics to help inform teachers’ judgements on progress
- 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
- 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
- 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:
- Is this proposal something that you would consider as a valuable resource?
- Is the ‘market place’ already saturated – would this resource be duplicating those that already exist?
- Are the features listed above important? Any features missing or unnecessary?
- Do the subscription fees £50-100 per school seem reasonable? What would be the most/least you’d expect to pay for this?
- Which exam board specification have you chose to go with?
- Any other comments?