What to do with a big idea?

“Watch out for what you wish for,” the old Chinese proverb, comes to mind as we sort our way through our plans for our upcoming MOOC, “What’s Your Big Idea?

With close to 12,000 students registered so far and more than a month to go before launch, my co-teacher Holden Thorp and I are scratching our heads about something we never really planned or thought about: What to do with the presentations — three minute videos, PowerPoints or “Prezzis” — that learners can submit to earn a certificate of accomplishment in our course. Like almost everything else about MOOCs, we have more questions than answers.

But we are excited about the prospect of a deluge of ideas from all over the world.

How do we find ourselves in this predicament? A month ago, with the help of a team that knows much more about MOOC’s than we do, we decided to create two tracks for our class: an assessment-based path involving multiple choice quizzes at the end of every module; and an experiential track for students who actually have a “big idea” and are willing to submit a pitch describing it.

In a meeting about the course with colleagues at Google someone said, “Your big idea is the big idea,” and we hope that is correct.

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