Massive open online collaboration gaining ground

NovoEd, on the other hand, places students in groups from the start of the course, and then attempts to foster collaboration through discussion boards, group projects, and peer evaluation, Trumbore said.

“We offer students the chance to form teams so that even if you are one of the 20,000 people in a MOOC, you are working with five people from all around the world,” she said. “It gives students one of the benefits of MOOCs, you get a global audience, but you also get the benefit of a smaller course in which you are working directly with your peers.”

That difference in collaboration has lured some universities to NovoEd that were previously apprehensive about launching a MOOC.

Mike Lenox, an associate dean for innovation programs at Darden School of Business, said the school was searching for a way to get its courses to a larger audience, but without sacrificing the “student experience” that comes with physical classrooms.

“From executive education to open courses, the social technology available on NovoEd allows us to thoughtfully scale our offerings at the highest levels of quality and innovation,” Lenox said.

NovoEd’s 16 new partners were not weary of online education, Trumbore said, but many were weary of what could be lost when a course is scaled to reach such a large number of students.

“Not very topic can be taught in isolation,” she said. “When we add in the ability to collaborate, suddenly these institutions are able to get involved. They really want to create a global classroom.”

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