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BCcampus: Longtime Supporter of Open Online Learning (yes, MOOCs!)

There’s a lot of discussion these days around Massive Open Online Courses, also known as MOOCs. Millions of people around the world enroll in MOOCs – large scale MOOC provider, Coursera, has even entered into a MOOC partnership with UBC. What you might not realize is that BCcampus has long championed innovative, open online learning by supporting projects that fall under the definition of MOOC. For BCcampus, these open online events tend to focus on professional development.

Sylvia CurrieFor example, since 2008 BCcampus has hosted SCoPE, a well-populated, online community of people with a shared interest in educational research and practice. SCoPE seminars fit the definition of a MOOC; they’re scheduled, free, and open to thousands of members and site visitors.

“SCoPE is very MOOC-like in that everyone is welcome to join in, but participation is not mandatory,” says Sylvia Currie, BCcampus Senior Manager, Professional Development. “We currently have over 4000 registered SCoPE members from all around the world. However, because there is no required membership to access SCoPE’s many free professional development opportunities, the actual number of people who have benefited from participating is likely much higher.”

BCcampus has also been involved in delivering other MOOCs. Back in 2011, BCcampus teamed with MOOC pioneer George Siemens from Athabasca University to offer a free and open course called Learning and Knowledge Analytics to hundreds of learners. This not-for-credit MOOC was hosted in the SCoPE community.

Last May, BCcampus played an integral role in helping the prestigious Oxford Brookes University to deliver First Steps into Learning and Teaching. This successful MOOC is being offered for a second round, running from May 8 to June 14, 2013.

“BCcampus has been involved in many open online learning activities – we’re always looking for ways to help institutions open up their quality, online learning opportunities to broad audiences,” says Currie. “Professional development courses, workshops and seminars are of particular interest as we strive to support our educators. Our goal is to provide comfortable and inviting online learning communities that are easy to navigate, even for those faculty who find new technology intimidating.”