MOOCs go to high school

The University of Houston (UH) System will offer two massive open online courses (MOOCs) designed to help high school students prepare for the College Board’s Advanced Placement (AP) Calculus and Statistics exams in May.

The massive courses, known as “Preparing for the AP Calculus AB Exam” and “Preparing for the AP Statistics Exam,” will be made available through Coursera.

houston-school-moocBeginning March 17, the six-week courses will feature free and unlimited enrollment. Participants only need internet access and time to study lessons and complete assignments and quizzes, according to the university.

Jeffrey Morgan, UH’s associate provost of education innovation and technology, said that while the high school-focused MOOCs could draw the attention of prospective college students to UH, the online classes weren’t designed to capture registrants’ information.

“We do not intend to gather data on the students, and then recruit the students outside of the MOOC,” Morgan said, adding that the university will not place its own advertisements in the course content. “However, I do believe that the MOOC will raise awareness about UH to these students, and in that sense, it will be a recruitment tool.”

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Both courses feature video lectures, readings, practice problems, and access to course assistance using a discussion board.

“Preparing for the AP Calculus Exam” lessons include limits and continuity, derivatives, and integration and antidifferentiation. “Preparing for AP Statistics” features lessons on data, probability, and statistical inference. MOOC registrants will also be given advice on test taking strategies.

Students will take practice exams at the conclusion of each course.

Morgan said that these MOOCs can raise students’ scores on AP exams. Most schools award college credit to students who receive a score of 5 on the AP tests.