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Teaching a journalism MOOC: 5 tips and techniques

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Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have become a hot topic this year in the press. It seems on a daily basis there is some article or blog post talking about the latest MOOC platform, MOOC course being offered or debate surrounding the issue regarding this type of learning, PBS reports.

It should be no surprise that the MOOC field is quickly becoming an industry into itself where there is almost a new company, initiative or program being launched on a monthly basis.

Many people may be familiar with the existing MOOC players such as edX, Coursera and Udacity. But there are new, global players entering the market such as iversity, Schoo and Futurelearn.

These MOOC players and the ones yet to come are shaking up the academy as well as the overall idea of what learning can be. There has been plenty of debate in the press about the advantages and disadvantages to this kind of learning, and many questions remain about the future of where MOOCS will reside in the larger education picture.

I don’t have a crystal ball to say if MOOCs will become a permanent learning fixture, but I do think as educators we have the opportunity to explore this format to test out new forms of teaching. In the 21st century we have the chance to set the path toward new and exciting ways of teaching subjects, and the only way to do so is if we are willing to experiment with different approaches.

Be diligent in planning the MOOC, its content and instruction model. Consider co-teaching it with professionals in the field.

The original idea for the “Data-Driven Journalism: The Basics” MOOC came about earlier this summer when I saw a lot of discussion online about the lack of training and centralized materials for journalists to learn data-driven journalism techniques around the world. There are a lot of online resources such as digital books, videos, tutorials and websites on the topic, but much of it is not centralized and lacks structure or organization to help a newbie navigate those waters.

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