The numbers related to MOOC Técnico courses show an increasingly success of Técnico online courses platform. With almost 10,000 registered participants, the platform offers 12 courses, and another 5 courses are being prepared for the coming times. These courses attract members of Técnico community (current students, alumni and employees), and also participants outside the school (36%), reaching about 90 countries. MOOC retention rate at Técnico is over 30%, which is quite positive compared to edX [one of the largest and most reputable online course platforms], which has a 7.7% retention rate.
“The results have been highly praised. The feedback from the participants has been very positive”, stresses Ana Moura Santos, Técnico professor and coordinator of the project.
“Video contents are stimulating and adapted to online learning, and are produced by MOOC Técnico team”, explains professor Ana Moura Santos. The diversity of courses and their relevance to some curricular units also contributed to the success of Técnico online courses.
“MOOC Técnico courses are available at different levels of education: secondary school (students and professors), 1st and 2nd cycle (Técnico students and international students) and a wider audience, both national and international, who needs to recycle knowledge in STEAM fields ”, explains professor Ana Moura Santos. “Regarding the content and its online availability , the main criteria are the scientific, technological and pedagogical relevance of the topics covered, combined with attractive and appealing multimedia content in MOOC format”, explains the Técnico professor.
The Técnico online courses platform offers courses in different fields: Physics (3 MOOCs available and 3 MOOCs currently being prepared), Mathematics (3 MOOCs available and 1 MOOC proposed), Engineering and Technology (5 MOOCs available and 1MOOC currently being prepared), Information Technology and Applications (5 MOOCs available and 2 MOOCs currently being prepared). This project is part of 2 European / international projects – the World Pendulum Alliance 2019 and FOSTOW 2019 – and “we will establish 3 partnerships in 2020”, says professor Ana Moura Santos.
MOOC Técnico maintains “close contact with its European counterparts, in particular with other MOOC production teams, such as Polimi’s METID and UPVx, with which we share best practices”, says professor Ana Moura Santos. “Recently, after submitting a proposal to the Open edX 2020 Conference (recently canceled due to COVID-19), I was contacted by edX. They showed interest in disclosing one of the results from the EU project FOSTWOM and invited us to participate in Open edX community monthly Meetup”, says the Técnico professor.
The moment we are living right now may be an opportunity for many people attest the quality of Técnico online courses and acquire new skills. “In this critical moment of the pandemic, when the entire population, in particular the university population, had to stay at home, online courses are a unique opportunity for science-curious people”, says professor Ana Moura Santos. “MOOC Técnico has just relaunched five MOOCs, some in self-paced format, and is preparing to relaunch another two. The online platform has registered an increase of 10% in enrollment”, adds the professor.
According to professor Ana Moura Santos this “may be the right time to disseminate these online courses widely”, once “there is still a widespread lack of knowledge among the Portuguese population” about MOOCs and, at the same time, a slight “distrust of the Academy” regarding this teaching modality.
“Like many other things in Portugal, spreading the word about these online courses on social networks can help a lot to make this project grow”, says the Técnico professor.