‘Video Games and Learning’ pilot MOOC launches

Kurt Squire has enrolled in about a dozen Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), the University of Wisconsin news service reports.

“The experience was fun — to essentially be back in college again, but to feel like I’m doing so driven by my own interest without the pressures of grades and so on,” Squire says.

Now Squire, a professor in the School of Education’s Department of Curriculum and Instruction, along with Constance Steinkuehler, an associate professor of digital media in the department, will teach a MOOC — Video Games and Learning — beginning today (Oct. 3). It’s the UW’s first-ever pilot MOOC.

Squire and Steinkuehler are co-directors of the Games+Learning+Society Center within the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery.

More than 30,000 people have signed up for the free six-week course, which will discuss research on the kinds of thinking and learning that goes into video games and gaming culture, benefits and drawbacks of digital gameplay, tensions between youth culture and traditional education, and new developments intended to bridge that growing divide.

“I’ve seen the openness of MOOCs as a tremendous driver of change with dramatic potential to help curricular alignment, knowledge sharing and, potentially, learning,” Squire says.

While content differs, MOOCs provide access to instructors from universities all over the world by connecting learners through technology. Students watch videos, take quizzes, read materials and participate in online discussions with fellow learners from around the globe. MOOCs also allow students to learn at their own pace.

The course is one of four free pilot MOOCs offered by UW-Madison.

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