“Independent MOOC” reaches global audience with connected course

How GW customized its own in-cloud hosting services on the Open edX platform to reach a better audience

MOOC-GW-courseIndependent collaboration may sound like an oxymoron, but for George Washington University (GW) this method of MOOC hosting has reached a significant global audience and strengthened relationships with peers in the process.

In May of this year, Associate Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at GW, Lorena Barba, wanted to expand her “Practical Numerical Methods with Python” course on a global scale.

I am an advocate of open education, and I believe that it is important to share content openly,” Barba said. “But I also believe that the content should be controlled by the creators. In my case, the content that I am authoring is shared openly under a Creative Commons Attribution license: this means that anyone all over the world can use it, modify or remix it, as long as they credit the source and original authors.”

Call it a “connected course,” or an “independent MOOC,” but Barba’s course is one and the same, thanks to Open edX and its in-cloud hosting services.

Barba’s course makes the University the second in the U.S. (Stanford University being the first) to customize and deploy in-cloud hosting services on the Open edX platform; meaning that GW is not a member of the edX consortium, but instead offers their MOOCs independently.

The University has partnered with Southampton University in the U.K. and Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile to develop their connected courses across institutions, allowing instructors at these locations to teach their own versions of Barba’s computational science and engineering course to their local students.

Already, over 3,000 students from around the world are currently enrolled in Barba’s MOOC.

(Next page: Implementing a connected course on an independent platform)

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