The ODL project grounds on student’s active learning through inquiry-based science instruction and exploitation of remote/virtual STEM laboratories. ODL methodology incorporates four key innovations: first, the use of micro-MOOCs and ICT-based educational instruments to motivate teachers in the creation of flexible personalized teaching/learning paths and to increase students’ interest and involvement, due to the innovative methodology; second, the incorporation of remote/virtual laboratories, as didactical instrument for practice-based learning, with the aim to capture the students’ imagination and motivation, effectively engaging them; third, the 5E cycle (ENGAGE, EXPLORE, EXPLAIN, EXTEND, EVALUATE) to develop student critical thinking and to help students to explore and evaluate their learning; and finally, by the deployment of practical exercises, evaluation tests, students will take control and awareness of their learning.
The ODL project should offer some suggestions that can guide teachers in selecting topics and useful virtual/remote labs to develop suitable microMOOC-based teaching paths promoting inquiry learning.
In the ODL project, “scenario” is synonymous of pedagogical framework for MOOC design and implementation. According to the discussion among the consortium partners at the kick-off meeting, in order to ensure pedagogical coherence of all micro-MOOCs and, at the same time, to leave the teachers free to create personalized teaching paths, the templates for MOOC scenarios’ development will be differentiated for
(i) the level of teacher guidance;
(ii) the difficulty of the involved remote/virtual laboratories;
(iii) the requested student’s cognitive skills.
In fact, there are various levels of inquiry in science education – the initial level where the teacher directs every aspect, to the highest level where the student holds the control and needs the intellectual and practical skills to become investigator, acting as a researcher. Through the series of different levels of inquiry, the student becomes more able to carry out his/her own independent inquiry, and the assistance of the teacher becomes different, less instructive, but more enabling and flexible.