Deakin's MOOC to explore innovations in assessment

17 June 2013

Deakin University's first massive open online course (MOOC) will explore the humanitarian sector and its role in disaster and emergency response.

The twelve-week course, the first in Deakin's new open learning space known as DeakinConnect, will introduce participants to the history of the humanitarian field, its response to natural and human-induced disasters and emergencies and the various global players who participate in humanitarian aid.

DeakinConnect is a new purpose-built platform that enables the University to innovate in assessment. Rather than try to test and measure student success, the course prompts learners to create and share rich evidence of their attainment of learning outcomes. Learners can provide feedback on each other's work and award peer credit using digital badging.

Deakin Vice Chancellor, Professor Jane den Hollander said the DeakinConnect platform would offer assessments that prompt the learner to create rich digital learning evidence.

“Participants will be invited to create up to six learning exhibits that specifically demonstrate their capabilities and share their exhibits with peers,” she said.

“Peers can award credit signifying that they believe the participant's exhibit shows mastery of learning outcomes at or beyond the agreed standards and DeakinConnect Peer Credit badges can be shared on LinkedIn or Facebook.”

Participants seeking formal assessment for credit towards a Deakin qualification can opt to pay a fee, and the process will involve providing two learning exhibits from DeakinConnect, as well as a formal research paper and an interview.

“DeakinConnect fits perfectly with the aims of our strategic plan to offer brilliant education where students are and where they want to go through personal, engaging and relevant learning experiences,” Professor den Hollander said.

Entitled Humanitarian Responses to 21st Century Disasters, the course will explore the complexities of working in the global humanitarian field and examine the ethical challenges of disaster and emergency response.

Deakin has worked in partnership with groups such as Save the Children, Plan, Care, AusAid, Oxfam, World Vision and the Asian Disaster Reduction and Response Network in the development of the course and will continue to work with them during the program.

Professor den Hollander said that the time was right for such a course and the open learning platform was the ideal delivery channel, as participants can connect from anywhere around the globe.

“It is estimated that by 2015, 375 million people will be impacted by climate-related disasters alone and appropriate humanitarian responses to these disasters will be essential,” she said.

Participants will be encouraged to explore opportunities to become involved in humanitarian aid programs.

The course is offered for free online, but up to 100 participants will have the opportunity to have their learning accredited by Deakin for a fee of $495. This would provide them with partial credit for acceptance into Deakin's Graduate Certificate and Masters programs in International and Community Development.

Course participants will learn by accessing resources such as expert commentary and interviews and by testing response strategies in Lolesia, an imaginary country in south-east Asia suffering from decades of economic stagnation and oppressive rule.

They will be encouraged to network online with humanitarian workers and peers across the globe and to challenge and question each other's ideas.

Online registrations for the new course open today (17 June 2013) at

The course will commence in July.

News facts
  • Deakin's first massive open online course (MOOC) will explore the humanitarian sector and its role in disaster and emergency response
  • DeakinConnect, a new purpose-built learning platform will enable Deakin to innovate in assessment.
  • Students will be encouraged to exhibit evidence of their learning outcomes for peer assessment.
  • Participants can apply to have their learning asssessed by Deakin for credit towards further study.

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Andrew Birks
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17th June 2013