Amidst all the angst within academia generated by the new MOOCs (massive open online courses) and online education in general, actually working on a MOOC for the last six months has convinced me of one thing: MOOCs will make the classroom better, The Huffington Post reports. Let me describe how I reached that conclusion. Within weeks of the end of the course on innovation I taught with Holden Thorp as a follow up to our book, Engines of Innovation, I had a conversation with a young economics professor who was helping us with the MOOC we agreed to offer on Coursera in February of 2014. This professor routinely teaches 800 students a semester and has developed a bag full of techniques and technologies he has adapted for the large classroom. He is also an ardent supporter of MOOCs. We didn’t know each other very well so he began by asking if he could be perfectly honest. I said yes. He then said, “We can’t use any of the video from your large classroom. We have to start over. What you do in the classroom won’t work for a MOOC. The content is great but it has to be totally reformatted.” I was stunned.
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