MOOCs, OERs, Open and Distance Learning: Past, Present and Future by Dr. Cengiz Hakan Aydin (Regional Speaker)

by Tuyet Hayes (Guest Blogger)

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Dr. Hakan Aydin, Professor of Educational Communications and Technology and Dean of the Faculty of Economics at Anadolu University presented a very informative overview of open education trends.  With 30,000 traditional and 2.4 distance education students, Anadolu University in Turkey ranks as the third largest university in the world by enrollment.  This mega university offers over 2000 distance education courses, all of which are produced in house.

Aydin distinguished between OERs (Open Education Resources), MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), and the ODL (open and distance learning) program at Anadolu.  In comparison, it seems the ODL program at Anadolu focuses more on providing quality resources and support through a number of efforts including specially designed textbooks and resources, flexible and varied instructional options (F2F, asynchronous, synchronous), call centers, and tutors.  One area that seemed to distinguish Anadolu University was the mandated use of proctored tests for assessment.

I was surprised to learn that while some universities might fear offering OERs or MOOCs due to an expected drop in traditional student enrollment, the opposite seemed to be true.  Enrollment in traditional programs at Anadolu actually increased annually by 11% for the past four years as they increased the number of open courses offered.  Offering open courses seems to be an effective marketing tool to expose and attract students to traditional programs.  Aydin concluded with the idea that OERs and MOOCs would have a role in the continued “unbundling” of university services such as content, certification, assessment, guidance, and research.

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