BizMOOC Result 2.1: Guidelines for business, HEIs, learners


(1) Guidelines for Businesses

BizMOOC – BizMOOC – Knowledge Alliance to enable a European-wide exploitation of the potential of MOOCs for the world of business
Programme: Erasmus+ | Key Action 2 | Knowledge Alliances
Reference Number: 562286-EPP- 1-2015- 1-AT- EPPKA2-KA
Grant agreement number: 2015-2929 / 001-001
Project Duration: 36 months, 1/1/2016 – 31/12/2018

(1) Guidelines for Businesses

Authors: Thomas Neumann & Ines Roiderer (AVL LIST GmBH), Chiara Sancin, Sara Miani (DIDA srl), Kristina Kertészová & Andrea Kalafusova (KOŠICE IT VALLEY z.p.o.) Thomas Staubitz (HASSO-PLATTNER-INSTITUT (HPI) FÜR SOFTWARESYSTEMTECHNIK GMBH)

With support/input/feedback by all BizMOOC partners: FH JOANNEUM Graz (AT), Open University (UK), University de Alicante (ES), Burgas Free University (BG), University of Economics Krakow (PL), AVL List GmbH (AT), iversity GmbH (DE), Hasso-Plattner-Institut (HPI) für Softwaresystemtechnik GmbH (DE), DIDA srl (IT), Košice IT Valley (SK), The National Unions of Students in Europe (BE), EADTU (NL)

1. Introduction

This document provides a number of questions and answers relating to how to use MOOCs in the world of business. It is aimed at two broad categories of users: Businesses applying MOOCs from external providers and Businesses applying self-produced MOOCs.

  • Businesses applying MOOCs from external providers
    • What are MOOCs?
    • Are MOOCs used for business training?
    • Are MOOCs really free for my employees? What are potential additional costs?
    • Are MOOCs of the same quality as other (online) education provision?
    • How do I measure the quality of the MOOC on offer?
    • How valuable are the credits given for MOOC completion?
    • How can companies employ existing MOOCs by other providers? What are the potential costs involved?
    • Can we make use of MOOCs that are only accessible for my employees?
    • What topics are offered by MOOCs? Where can I find MOOCs for certain topics?
    • What are the costs per user/participant of MOOCs from external providers?
    • What is the average workload needed to successfully pass/finish the MOOC?
    • What are the technical requirements? Languages? Subtitles? Translation available?
    • What happens with the data/information that is being generated throughout the MOOC in terms of data security, BackUps, Hosting – etc.?
    • What happens with the data/information generated throughout MOOCs from external providers?
    • Which options do I have in terms of reporting the success of my employees?
    • How is cheating prevented in MOOCs? How do I know that the person with the MOOC certificate is really the person who acquired that knowledge?
    • How do you integrate MOOCs into corporate learning/development programs?
    • Can MOOCs be used as a recruitment tool?
  • Businesses applying self-produced MOOCs
    • What are possible reasons for companies to provide MOOCs themselves?
    • What are the costs per user/participant of self-produced MOOCs?
    • What options, in terms of platforms, do I have if I want to provide MOOCs on my own?
    • What are the costs of the MOOC providing platforms?
    • What is the average workload needed to successfully pass/finish the MOOC?
    • What are the technical requirements? Languages? Subtitles? Translation available?
    • What happens with the data/information that is being generated throughout the MOOC in terms of data security, BackUps, Hosting – etc.?
    • What happens with data/information generated throughout self-produced MOOCs?
    • Which options do I have in terms of reporting the success of the participants?
    • Is an accident during the training classified as working accident?
    • How to resolve work council issues – especially in Germany & Austria?

There are also two further sets of guidelines, which may be of interest: MOOCs for Higher Education Institutions, MOOCs for Society.

2. Guiding Questions & Answers

Businesses applying MOOCs from external providers

What are MOOCs?

MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Courses. There does not exist an unambiguous, straightforward and broadly accepted definition of a MOOC, but a European collaborative has developed the following clear operational definition: “An online course designed for large number of participants that can be accessed by anyone anywhere, as long as they have an internet connection, is open to everyone without entry qualifications and offers a full/complete course experience online for free” (Brouns et al., 2014).

This chapter of the MOOC BOOK describes the basic views of what is a MOOC, discusses the commonalities between many definitions and demonstrates the strong connections to both open and online education.

Are MOOCs used for business training?

Yes, MOOCs are used by participants for their continuous professional development and MOOC providers recently have been targeting their offer towards business training explicitly. However, they are not part of the policies of companies within HRD (Human Resource Development) yet.

MOOCs are complete online courses offered for free by higher education institutions and civil society organisations. Recently also companies have started offering MOOCs as well. Although relatively new, the impact is already enormous. By the end of 2015, approximately 4,200 courses were offered by 500+ universities to 35 million students. This has increased by 2016 to 6850 courses by over 700 universities to 58 million students (Class Central, 2016). Hence, 23 million new participants were registered in 2016 alone. Note that not all MOOCs are listed on Class Central, so numbers are higher.

The last two years an increase in the amount of courses, focusing on the field of technology and business, took place.

Are MOOCs really free for my employees? What are potential additional costs?

Yes, MOOCs by definition are free. However, some MOOC providers are not offering a complete course for free anymore. For example, one needs to pay a fee for an official credit when completing the course; some even offer only the educational content for free (and you also need to pay for quizzes, feedback, participation in fora, etc.).

Are MOOCs of the same quality as other (online) education provision?

As with regular training offers, the quality of MOOCs strongly depends on who is providing them and the quality assurance applied. MOOCs started as a non-formal educational provision – and consequently are placed outside the quality control of formal courses offered by higher education systems. Some MOOCs are developed by professors individually (or in small teams), other MOOCs are co-created with companies and some universities even have whole departments support/developing MOOCs including quality control mechanism. Next, big MOOC platform providers do have strict quality assurance before a MOOC may be published (e.g. to protect their brand). Even quality labels for MOOC provisions are available (e.g. OpenupEd quality label).

How do I measure the quality of the MOOC on offer?

Before selecting a MOOC for your company, you may wish to assess and review the quality of the MOOC on offer, in order to assure that the MOOC has a high quality, and that it meets your learning needs. There are a number of ways helping you to identify and assess the quality of a MOOC:

  • Look for a clear description of the course – including the breakdown of the modules available, its intended learning goals and outcomes.

  • Examine the materials available on the course – ensure the video is of high quality, and that there are e-books and other high quality materials available for download.

  • Who is the provider of the MOOC? Was it produced by a reputable university or another provider?

  • Is the MOOC hosted by one of the recognised platforms? It doesn’t have to be; many universities have developed MOOCs on their own platforms, but if it is on a platform such as Coursera, FutureLearn, etc.

  • it indicates that the MOOC went through their agreed production process.

  • Are there opportunities to work in groups and with other participants – to share ideas and experience, through the use of online communication tools? Can you interact with instructors?

  • Will you receive continuous feedback and tracking of progression?

  • Does the MOOC offer a certificate or statement of participation?

  • Check to see if the MOOC has been based on the regular courses of a formal programme.

  • Look for some sort of quality label or evidence of a quality assurance process.

  • Check for information regarding processing of data, IPRs, copyright information.

How valuable are the credits given for MOOC completion?

Participants that complete a MOOC may get different kind of certificates depending on the MOOC provider; ranging from digital badges, certificates of participation, verified certificates, statements of accomplishment etc. This chapter of the MOOC BOOK elaborates about this.

More recently some MOOC providers have been providing certificates to a collection/series of MOOCs, using terms like Micromasters, nanodegrees, online course programs, etc. Some of them are even recognized as part of a regular Bachelor´s or Master´s degree.

How can companies employ existing MOOCs by other providers? What are the potential costs involved?

MOOCs provide an easy accessible, low cost possibility for on the job trainings and professional development.

Common forms are:

  • Integrating MOOC platforms within enterprise education portfolios

  • Supporting employees’ expenses for MOOC certificates

  • Accepting MOOC certificates as proof of professional development

  • Allowing employees to spend a certain amount of work time to participate in MOOCs

Per definition, the participation in a MOOC is free of charge. However, MOOC providers started to offer additional services (such as certification, tutoring etc.) and tailored courses especially for companies which come at a cost. Also, additional costs might be charged by the integration of MOOCs in internal education portfolios (technical support, setting up infrastructure, internal marketing of offer etc.). In addition, opportunity costs (e.g. time for participation) for the company need to be considered when sending employees to MOOCs.

Can we make use of MOOCs that are only accessible for my employees?

Different models exist – depending on budget and intentions.

  • Some MOOC providers/platforms offer to run or re-run custom iterations of particular courses where only invited participants can join.

  • Another model is a course reactivation feature that allows groups of participants to reactivate archived courses including e.g. new deadlines depending on the individual course start/course reactivation date.

  • Some providers may re-model an existing MOOC towards a closed-private environment even tailored to needs of the company. They for example are offered as SPOC (Small Private Online Course).

  • Some platforms also allow participants to create smaller contexts within a larger course. E.g. on openHPI, every participant may create so called CollabSpaces. These can be public or private (invitation only). Next to the members of such a CollabSpace only the course’s teaching team has access to these spaces.

What topics are offered by MOOCs? Where can I find MOOCs for certain topics?

With almost 7000 courses offered (Class Central, 2016), a broad variety of topics is available, including many HRD issues, business skills and even highly specialised courses. The question is whether to find the appropriate courses.

MOOCs are provided mostly by higher education institutions or Spin-off companies by these institutions or their staff. Some are also offered directly by large organisations. You can usually find information on the sites of the providers directly about the MOOCs they offer.

On the other hand you can use the MOOC platform as a starting point for your search (Coursera, Udacity, edX, Canvas, Kadenze, Novoed etc.).

On the other hand, there are some online sources which facilitate a search for MOOCs across platforms. Examples are:

  • MOOC List is an online directory of MOOCs, which provides information on the MOOCs offered by different providers, and users can search for MOOCs offered by universities and other providers around the world. Users can search using the website by multiple criteria, such as the topic or theme, the university or provider, the length of the course.

  • Class central is another online platform which collates information about online courses available.

  • OpenUpEd – a list of MOOCs from European providers that meet certain quality guidelines.

What are the costs per user/participant of MOOCs from external providers?

Applying MOOCs from external platforms does not require as many resources because most of the courses are for free and only for certifications or examinations a fee is required. Therefore, by applying MOOCs from external providers, huge sums for producing and providing the course can be saved. It is also possible to participate in a MOOC for free as many MOOC providing platforms often offer the basic course for free. If a certain course completion certificate or exams are required, often a small amount for these services is charged, prices range in most cases between € 50 and € 100 per course (MOOC List, 2017).

What is the average workload needed to successfully pass/finish the MOOC?

Regarding courses from external providers the duration differs and lasts from a few weeks up to a few months. That depends on the individual MOOC – each MOOC will have a specific length of study, depending on the nature of the course. MOOCs will normally last between 3-12 weeks, depending on the course and a trend towards shorter MOOCs is observed. Even MiniMOOCs are in existence. Ideally, the MOOC description provides an estimated workload for the full course completion or an estimated workload per week.

Normally the learners should spend between 5-10 hours a week in a MOOC. The sum of all the videos in a xMOOC week helps to estimate the time which is needed. Note that an increasingly number of self-paced MOOCs are offered, given the flexibility to choose the start and end date of the course. Coursera even just introduced another model for learners that are lacking behind schedule. Given that, they are automatically enrolled in the course that starts later – some of their courses now start every three weeks.

What are the technical requirements? Languages? Subtitles? Translation available?

There are hardly any technical requirements if MOOCs are applied from external providers apart from a computer or any other mobile terminal and Internet connection. If MOOCs are applied from external providers, in most cases the language cannot be selected so the predetermined language needs to be accepted.

MOOCs can be accessed on MOOC providing platforms online. There are various providers, e.g. Coursera, edX, FutureLearn, etc. Due to the increasing number of various MOOC providing platforms it became very complex to find the right MOOC for the specific request. Therefore, some platforms arose, acting like search engines for MOOCs and providing overview of all available courses on all platforms which are relevant for certain subjects. These search engines have the advantage that the future MOOC learners do not need to check every MOOC platform on their own but can receive all relevant courses/information very quickly.

Open Education Europa, Class Central, MOOC List, MOOC tracks or Minglebox are only a few examples for these MOOC search engines.

These search engines supply support in finding the appropriate MOOC in various ways. It is possible to search by institution, by platform, by subject, by MOOC name, etc. In this way, it becomes very easy also for businesses to find the right MOOC for their purposes.

More information about MOOC providing platforms and MOOC search engines can be found in this MOOC BOOK chapter.

What happens with the data/information that is being generated throughout the MOOC in terms of data security, BackUps, Hosting – etc.?

During the participation in a MOOC a wide variety of personal and activity data of the participants is collected and used for different purposes by tutors, hosting platforms and possible third party actors, such as universities or companies. Partly, this data is processed by the Learning Analytics modules, in order to understand and optimize the learning process.

In literature and European documents four types of data are encountered: personal (private, sensitive and confidential) and non-personal. The term “personal data” is legally recognized and is defined as “any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person (‘data subject’); an identifiable person is someone who can be identified, directly or indirectly, in particular by reference to an identification number or to one or more factors specific to his/her physical, physiological, mental, economic, cultural or social identity.

The implementation of data privacy and data protection in MOOCs is not an easy task because it includes the involvement of multiple stakeholders and interested parties with a wide variety of interested issues applying in different context. Additionally there is a need for the development of appropriate mechanisms and tools for good data classification, for delivering complete information to learners about their collected data and for schemes in support of suitable choices in a given learning scenario.

What happens with the data/information generated throughout MOOCs from external providers?

If MOOCs are applied from external providers, the data processing and protection policies of the provider needs to be reviewed. In case, a third party (e.g. a university) offers a course on a professional platform hosted by another entity, at least two parties are involved. The legal situation and the protection of employee data might be restricted and the data of their employees as well as the tracking data of the learning success cannot be secured entirely.

Which options do I have in terms of reporting the success of my employees?

The most basic form of reporting is a manual check by the employer if a participant has received a certificate for a course.

The question if I can get more detailed reportings strongly depends on the size of the cohort of employees that are sent to participate in a MOOC, the amount of money that the company wants to invest in a detailed reporting per employee/participant. Most MOOC platforms will be able to produce such reports, based on e.g. the participants company email address.  

However, the privacy guidelines of many MOOC providers do not allow to hand out this kind of data to third parties, such as e.g. an employer anyway. Therefore, at minimum written agreements of the employees taking the course that their data can be passed on to their employer will be required.

Furthermore, platforms such as LinkedIn, Degreed  or Accredible  offer possibilities to collect achievements of informal education activities. Some of these rely on trust, the participants enter their data themselves, others such as e.g. Mammooc  are able to automatedly collect the data of participants who allow the tool to do so and even offer the possibility to form groups, e.g. of employees or school classes. Teachers or employers that are authorized by the participant, can then monitor the progress of the members of their group.

This, however, only works with those MOOC platforms that provide the necessary APIs to access this data.  

All of these options rely heavily on the result of the negotiations of a company with the MOOC platform that offers the courses.

How is cheating prevented in MOOCs? How do I know that the person with the MOOC certificate is really the person who acquired that knowledge?

As for every type of online course, it is an issue. There are different approaches and opinions existing in this respect. Some facilitators argue that you cannot monitor or verify taken-home exams and assignments in larger face-to-face course settings too, as you do not have the opportunity to individually verify knowledge levels of all learners, e.g. by validating a written exam by back-checking orally.

Other approaches to safeguard verification in MOOCs are applied by the major, resource-intensive North-American MOOC platforms which ask for live webcams combined with government-issued IDs of learners for taking exams. The platform ‘Coursera’ even offers to track keyboard biometrics of their learners in order to receive a verified certificate (ICEF, 2013). That means, unique keyboard type patterns and typing rhythms are recorded for each learner and compared when taking an exam or elaborating an assignment.

Other platforms such as openHPI offer an automated face recognition mechanism, which has to be activated (and paid) when a Qualified Certificate is ordered by a participant.

This mechanisms allows for a simple identity check in open book exams without intruding as deep into the privacy of a participant as e.g. the human proctoring that is offered by other providers (Staubitz, Renz, Meinel, 2016).

Further readings to this topic are offered by the MOOC BOOK chapters on

How do you integrate MOOCs into corporate learning/development programs?

MOOCs can be easily integrated into already existing corporate learning programs as it is just a different training method. One advantage is that the staff training with MOOCs can also be conducted outside the working time. Hereby the question arises whether training is working time or leisure time. If the advanced training is taking place outside the working time (e.g. on weekends or during official holidays), the regulations of the law on rest periods need to be taken into consideration (Kraft, 2008). Furthermore, the order to work overtime needs to be covered by the contract of employment or the wage agreement and there must not be any opposing interest of the employee (e.g. incompatibility with childcare obligations, already booked weekend holiday, etc.)5.

Of course the respective country’s regulation needs to be taken into consideration. In Austria the following regulation is applied according to the Austrian Act on Working Hours:

Working time is classified as those periods of time where employees are present in the employer’s range of authority and are liable to its directives. During the working time, the employee cannot determine the usage of the time on its own. Whether advanced staff training is classified as working time or not is determined by the specific agreement and the working contract of employer and employee.

According to Kraft (2008), in the case such an agreement does not exist, the determination of working time or leisure time depends on whether the participation of the training was

  • Mandatory directed by the employer → definitely working time

  • Realized due to a specific request of the employee or at least not mandatory and the employee had the choice to participate or not → in this case, the advanced training needs to be classified as working time at least if the training was conducted during the regular working time5

When a mandatory staff training is conducted outside the working hours (e.g. in the evenings or at weekends), the training needs to be classified as an ordered overtime according to § 6 Abs. 1 Arbeitszeitgesetz (Austrian Act on Working Hours). In this respect, also the agreed surcharges according to the wage agreement need to be paid.

If an agreement on flexible working time is applied, overtime does not necessarily need to be paid and it is possible to transfer the time credit e.g. to the next month. In this case, the training time is not considered as overtime but as flexi-time credits according to § 6 Abs. 1a AZG (Austrian Act on Working Hours)5.

Can MOOCs be used as a recruitment tool?

Yes. There are forecasts that MOOCs could become a major recruitment tool for universities (Nelson, 2015) as well as for companies. Selling user data of their learners to potential employers and/or matching them is one of the business models of the major professional MOOC providers. Bersin/Deloitte conducted a research, where they identified more than 350 companies, including large players such as Amazon, Facebook, Google and Twitter that have paid Coursera and Udacity to match them with MOOC graduates.

Businesses applying self-produced MOOCs

What are possible reasons for companies to provide MOOCs themselves?

At this moment companies are either providing MOOCs themselves and/or are supporting MOOC providers financially for various reasons. Renz et al. list the following goals a company might want to achieve by offering MOOCs :

  • Creating a talent pipeline to find new talents and employees.

  • Digitalize the On-Boarding of new employees.

  • Support self triggered learning for employees.

  • Enable Enterprise triggered learning for employees.

  • Sharing knowledge in between customers, employees and partners.

  • Increase Branding and Marketing through brand and product visibility.

  • Enable Collaboration.

Offering MOOCs to create revenue might be another goal, but until now there has not been established a sustainable business model on this basis.

This study undertaken in the course of the BizMOOC project identifies opportunities for the use of MOOCs in business, based on the results of 56 interviews with company representatives.

What are the costs per user/participant of self-produced MOOCs?

When self-designing and/or producing MOOCs, a lot of organisational effort as well as resources are required. In this respect, considerable time and financial resources for the following factors need to be considered: the virtual platform, the design, production, teaching and evaluation of the course, the development of content and technology (Renz, Schwerer, Meinel, 2016).

Therefore, the costs for producing a MOOC range from € 25,000 to € 500,000 (Schultz, 2014). This wide range is derived from the various demands of the companies on MOOCs.

According to Schultz (2014), the expenditures for a MOOC depend on the following three factors:

  1. Platform (fixed costs, variable costs of support)

  2. Content (fixed cost)

  3. Teaching capacity (variable costs depending on the amount of participants) (Renz, Schwerer, Meinel, 2016)

According to Schultz (2014), the process of producing a MOOC is divided in four phases; each phase is assigned with a different amount of required time and costs as a percentage (Renz, Schwerer, Meinel, 2016):

  1. Design phase (1-2 months/5%)

  2. Production phase (2-6 months/35%)

  3. Teaching phase (1-3 months/45%)

  4. Evaluation phase (1-3 months/10%)

More information about the cost aspect of MOOCs can be found in this MOOC BOOK chapter from p. 6 onwards and this chapter from p. 9 onwards.

What options, in terms of platforms, do I have if I want to provide MOOCs on my own?

In general, several options exist:

  1. making use of already existing platforms used mainly for e-learning

  2. use available tools (social media), especially suitable for cMOOCs model

  3. installation of open source software as a dedicated MOOC platform of company (e.g. OpenedX, OpenMOOC, etc.)

  4. buy dedicated software as a company MOOC platform

  5. use cloud-service models for MOOC platforms (Moodle, Canvas)

  6. join existing MOOC partnerships that offer MOOC platform (like OpenupEd, EduOpen)

  7. join one of the main MOOC platforms

Ad A. Not recommended as most traditional e-learning platforms do not really support the MOOC format.

Traditional in-company e-learning systems lack support for the two characteristics that distinguish a MOOC from a mere online course. Remember that MOOCs are open and designed for (potentially) massive audience, most traditional Learning Management Systems (LMS) do not support this adequately. In addition, most company owned e-learning systems are not open to the world. Both, the massiveness and the openness are the core elements that distinguish MOOCs from traditional e-learning.

However, for some organisations the number of participants is limited by language and by topic. Those organisations make a ‘clone/copy’ of existing e-learning platform on a dedicated server open to anyone (so no interference occur with regular pay-for, closed courses).

Ad B. Recommended for those MOOCs that rely on a lot of interaction between participants and for this are using social media like Twitter, Facebook for communication, SNA for building and guiding the network/community and including Google docs, – Drive, Dropbox to structure output.

Ad C. There is dedicated open software available especially dedicated for MOOCs. Examples are OpenedX and OpenMOOC.

Advantages:

  • Complete control; fully customizable.

Disadvantages:

  • Requires personnel to develop, adapt to local needs, operate and support the system.

  • Strong dependence of the organisation/community developing this open software (and their roadmap).

  • Only supports those pedagogical models of MOOCs offered by software, but sometimes own adjustments can be made.

Recommendation: Only recommended if the necessary expertise concerning software already are available in the company or if the company wants strongly invest in the (ict-/MOOC) expertise needed. This option requires some scale but is used of universities and even at country level (e.g., FUN)

Ad D. Providing a company platform (SaaS – Software as a Service, examples: openSAP, openWHO):

Advantages:

  • More options for individual features, branding, etc.

  • The platforms are easily set up and provide professional support.

  • Full control over user base and data.

  • On-premise hosting possible (if required e.g. for privacy reasons)

Disadvantages:

  • If only few courses are provided, they might appear lost.

Recommendation: Good option if a company strategy exists to provide a large number of courses, and a large (massive) number of participants is to be addressed. Supports both, courses for employees only and courses to address a broader public.

Ad E. The software for MOOC platforms is offered as a cloud solution. Examples are Canvas and recently Moodle also launched a cloud based MOOC platform solution.

Same (dis)advantages exists between with regular software. Recommended for small companies not offering that many MOOCs.

Ad F. Some open MOOC partnerships are offering MOOC platform services as well. They are a running a MOOC platform services based on open/closed software (C/D) and are offering these for the partners for their MOOC offering. Example is EduOpen in Italy and FUN in France. OpenupEd offers MOOC platforms hosted by their partner at institutional level related to dedicated pedagogical models and/or language areas.

E and F are good options to get started or experiment with the format or if only few courses are planned to be offered. Particularly, if the courses are intended to reach a wider audience than just the employees of the company, e.g. to teach current and future customers how to use a certain product, or if the company intends to provide courses in the Corporate Social Responsibility context (e.g. openSAP’s Africa Code Week courses or the course “Auch du kannst das. Deutsch für Asylbewerber. Ehrenamtlich.”).

Ad G. Providing courses on one of the existing MOOC platforms (EdX, Coursera, FutureLearn, Udacity, …)

Advantages:

  • Existing user base. Still the company’s particular target group needs to be addressed separately.

  • Plug and play. The platforms are up and running and provide professional support.

  • Price. Even if a provider asks for a fee, this option is in general cheaper than all other options.

  • Flexible models. Next to single courses some providers offer the possibility to collect courses (and apply a more consistent branding).

  • Courses are embedded in a flourishing landscape of other courses.

Disadvantages:

  • High price to become partner

  • Not everyone can become partner because they lack the reputation, ranking or brand.

  • What you see is what you get. Limited options for individual features, branding, etc.

  • Possible vendor-lock-in. Not all platforms allow import/export of courses that have been developed on other platforms.

Under the following link (Sillak, 2015), a checklist for companies is provided which might serve as a starting point.

What are the costs of the MOOC providing platforms?

According to Peterson (2013) usually three different entities collaborate and share the costs of the production: a university providing the content, a platform hosting the course, and external third parties. Big MOOC providing platforms for example budget $ 200,000 for each course they are offering; however, for many course technologies, production costs decrease after their initial development.

What is the average workload needed to successfully pass/finish the MOOC?

The duration and workload of MOOCs can be designed very individually, especially when the courses are produced by the company itself. MOOCs normally last between 3-12 weeks, depending on the course and a trend towards shorter MOOCs is observed. Normally the learners should spend between 5-10 hours a week in a MOOC. The sum of all the videos in a xMOOC week helps to estimate the time which is needed.

The duration of the course needs to be adapted to the amount of the learning content. In this way, it is ensured that every learner has enough time to finish the course in the predetermined time. Knowing your target group will let you adapt the maximum time, a learner can spare throughout the week. Also the level of flexibility may be changed so that learners don’t have to use their weekends to finish the course. Another option in this regard is the provision of self-paced MOOCs, given even more flexibility to the employees by choosing the start and end date of the course.

What are the technical requirements? Languages? Subtitles? Translation available?

If MOOCs are produced by the company on their own, certain technical requirements are needed. Apart from the production requirements, a learning platform needs to be installed so that every employee/participant can access the course. Some companies collaborate directly with certain universities or MOOC providing platforms and use their platforms to provide their MOOCs. The big advantage of self-produced MOOCs in terms of language issues is that the company may produce and determine the language and potential translations or subtitles adjusted to the company’s needs.

What happens with the data/information that is being generated throughout the MOOC in terms of data security, BackUps, Hosting – etc.?

During the participation in a MOOC a wide variety of personal and activity data of the participants is collected and used for different purposes by tutors, hosting platforms and possible third party actors, such as universities or companies. Partly, this data is processed by the Learning Analytics modules, in order to understand and optimize the learning process.

In literature and European documents four types of data are encountered: personal (private, sensitive and confidential) and non-personal. The term “personal data” is legally recognized and is defined as “any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person (‘data subject’); an identifiable person is someone who can be identified, directly or indirectly, in particular by reference to an identification number or to one or more factors specific to his/her physical, physiological, mental, economic, cultural or social identity.

The implementation of data privacy and data protection in MOOCs is not an easy task because it includes the involvement of multiple stakeholders and interested parties with a wide variety of interested issues applying in different context. Additionally there is a need for the development of appropriate mechanisms and tools for good data classification, for delivering complete information to learners about their collected data and for schemes in support of suitable choices in a given learning scenario.

What happens with data/information generated throughout self-produced MOOCs?

Regarding data protection, each legislation has different regulations which need to be taken into consideration when MOOCs are produced by the company.

In the following, a short excerpt from the Austrian Federal Act concerning the Protection of Personal Data (DSG 2000) is provided:

§ 1. (1) Everybody shall have the right to secrecy for the personal data concerning him, especially with regard to his private and family life, insofar as he has an interest deserving such protection. Such an interest is precluded when data cannot be subject to the right to secrecy due to their general availability or because they cannot be traced back to the data subject.

(3) Everybody shall have, insofar as personal data concerning him are destined for automated processing or manual processing, i.e. in filing systems without automated processing, as provided for by law,

  1. the right to obtain information as to who processes what data concerning him, where the data originated, for which purpose they are used, as well as to whom the data are transmitted;

  2. the right to rectification of incorrect data and the right to erasure of illegally processed data. (Bundeskanzleramt, 2017)

Information about copyright and intellectual property rights issues can be found in the MOOC chapters about IPR.

Information about data security can be found this MOOC BOOK chapter from p. 7 onwards.

Which options do I have in terms of reporting the success of the participants?

Depending on the choice of platform, reports can come in various degrees of fine-grained-ness. Question no. 1: who is allowed to access this data?

The answer is simple in self-hosted company MOOC platforms and in SaaS company MOOC platforms. For MOOCs that are run on platforms of other providers, it depends on the terms and conditions of the platform. Often there will be a paragraph that states that the data will not be passed to any third parties but the course provider.

Depending on the the LMS (Learning Management System) or MMS (MOOC Management System) the format of the available reportings will differ. In the following some of the options are listed:

  • Daily reports per mail concerning completion times and other important data,

  • Export reports in different formats, such as PDF or CSV

  • Different filter options

  • Results of assessments

  • Content completion

  • Click data

Is an accident during the training classified as working accident?

According to Kraft (2008), in general, employees participating in a mandatory training induced by the employer are protected by the legal occupational accident insurance. However, this does not imply that unexceptional every accident during this training time is an occupational accident within the meaning of the legal occupational accident insurance (and accordingly within the meaning of the continued payment of remuneration).

Accidents that are happening while commuting to a mandatory ordered advanced training are usually regarded as occupational accidents; also accidents during the training itself are regarded as occupational accidents. However, accidents that are happening during the training’s breaks are not regarded as occupational accidents if the employee is conducting personal activities that are not related to the training (f. e. private purchases during the lunch break)5.

How to resolve work council issues – especially in Germany & Austria?

Referring to the work council information provided by the Arbeiterkammer (2016), a company that is planning a measure for advanced training needs to inform the works council as soon as possible. In this respect, the works council is also eligible to make suggestions in these issues and the proprietor is obliged to discuss the suggestions with the works council6. In Austria works councils are entitled to be informed timely about any training measures and they have consultation rights according to § 94 ArbVG (Austrian Labour Constitution Act). Works councils are also eligible to contribute in the planning and implementation phase of training measures. The extent of the contribution can be regulated by the company agreement6. So generally, if the works councils are already included in the planning process of the training measure usually no problems should occur. More Information about data security can be found in this MOOC BOOK chapter from p. 7 onwards.

References

Arbeiterkammer (2016). Betriebliche Ausbildung und Schulung. Retrieved from https://www.arbeiterkammer.at/service/betriebsrat/rechteundpflichtendesbetriebsrates/Betriebliche_Berufsausbildung_und_Schulung.html

Bundeskanzleramt (2017). Bundesgesetz über den Schutz personenbezogener Daten (Datenschutzgesetz 2000 – DSG 2000), Federal Act concerning the Protection of Personal Data (DSG 2000), Retrieved from https://www.ris.bka.gv.at/Dokumente/Erv/ERV_1999_1_165/ERV_1999_1_165.html

Clarke, T. (2013). The advance of the MOOCs (massive open online courses). Education + Training, pp. 403 – 413.

GPA. (2009). Retrieved 11 05, 2016, from http://www.spitzbetriebsrat.at/files/Schulungen—AZ.pdf

Henrick, G., de Raadt, M., & Costello, E. (2016). MOOCs in Europe. Retrieved from http://pure.au.dk/portal/files/100669162/MOOCs_in_Europe_November_2015.pdf#page=67

Ivanova, M., Holotescu, C., Grosseck, G., & Iapă, C. (2016). Relations between Learning Analytics and Data Privacy in MOOCs. Retrieved from https://www.scribd.com/document/315193973/Relations-between-Learning-Analytics-and-Data-Privacy-in-MOOCs

Kraft (2008). Praxisfall: Fortbildungsveranstaltungen – Freizeit oder Dienstzeit? In: Bilanzbuchhalter, BÖB – Issue 33, March 2008. Retrieved from http://www.possert.at/data/Fortbildungsveranstaltungen.pdf

Loewer-Hirsch, B. (2011). BGN. Retrieved from http://www.bgn.de/8185/28212/1?wc_origin=%2F8012%3Fsk%3D54

MOOC List (2017). About / Frequently Asked Questions. Retrieved from http://www.mooc-list.com/content/frequently-asked-questions