What I’ve learned about low-cost production from teaching about low-cost production.

Constantly developing learning technologies mean that there is always something to learn about.  Not just about the new technologies, but also about new production and pedagogical techniques that are made possible by these new technologies.  In the “Making MOOCs on a Budget” course (moocs4all.eu), I have been privileged to work not only with some great co-instructors, but also with very well informed participants and as a result have learned much and improved my own techniques.  I won’t name names, but here are some of the things that I have learned over the last number of weeks:

Content development tools.

Firstly I learned that I need to get my Microsoft Office up to date to take advantage of MS Office Mix which, from demonstrations I have seen, makes it very easy to develop online videos from the types of content you already have or are comfortable developing.  Zaption seems to be a fantastic tool for creating video lessons consisting of existing youtube videos and segments of videos in which you can embed quizzes and even have branching based on the responses to quizzes.  This free tool (service?) seems quite powerful and relatively easy to use.

Production and Editing

You may have noticed that the instructors use varying styles for video production and also achieve varying standards of production quality.  I learned many techniques from the master during the course (you know who I’m talking about), including lighting, talking to camera, repeating after errors, as how to edit afterwards.  From another team member I learned how to add text to a head-shot video and from others how effective a conversational style can be.  I didn’t get the time to put them into practice, but my videos will be better in the future.


I have used multiple choice quizzes for many years, but even during my research I learned a few new tricks.  However, I’m relatively new to peer assessment and finally I got around to looking at the use of Rubrics in more detail.  These are very useful in assessment in general but they are crucial to the success of peer assessment.


A great new idea for this second delivery of the MOOC was the idea of a weekly newsletter.  It seems to be a great way of giving an overview of the week gone by and the coming week and in doing so draws people who are falling away back in as well as generating a little excitement about the upcoming content.  This has received great positive feedback from participants.

So, all in all, I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve learned a lot.
Brian Mulligan, IT Sligo.

About brianmmulligan

Head of Online Learning Innovation, Institute of Technology Sligo, https://bit.ly/brianmulligan Checkout my blog on education, "I wouldn't start from here anyway!" at http://elearngrump.blogspot.ie/
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