Massive open online courses, or MOOCs, are garnering lots of attention these days. Some see large-scale, web-based classes as the new frontier for colleges and universities, a great leap forward that could revolutionize higher education, The Huffington Post reports. Duke University professor of psychology and behavioral economics Dan Ariely and his colleagues at the Center for Advanced Hindsight, on the other hand, see MOOCs as the perfect way to test Dan’s academic funny bone. Will the jokes that work in a traditional college classroom work in a class of say, several thousand online students? We here at the Humor Code were happy to lend a hand. So as part of his recent MOOC, “A Beginner’s Guide to Irrational Behavior,” Dan told a joke at the beginning of each week’s online lecture video. We asked Dan to predict how funny and how offensive his students would find each of these zingers on a five-point scale, from “not at all” to “extremely.” We also had him rate how funny and how offensive he found each of his own jokes using the same scale.
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