A blueprint for creating a successful MOOC

Brick-to-click education is not a matter of if, but rather, now. In a constantly growing global community, education modalities are evolving to meet the demands of a knowledge-thirsty and driven population.

One approach to meet these demands is the development of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). MOOCs are intended to:

  • Host large numbers of students.
  • Accommodate an internationally diverse community.
  • Increase access for students from non-traditional regions.
  • Support international marketing and recruitment strategies for universities.

However, the almost-10-year experience with MOOCs has yielded mixed outcomes. The average retention rate for MOOCs is four percent of the enrolled class, which defeats the purpose of providing accessible, available, and equitable education.…Read More

Can social media enhance the MOOC experience?

Researchers say ‘yes,’ but only when taking into consideration 3 key issues.

Though social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter are extremely popular for communication and collaboration—even among academics—when applied to online learning, course designers must understand that providing more options for communication without integration is not always best.

This is the main finding of a recent study conducted by academics in Australia that surveyed over 150 participants on their opinions of using social media as part of a 2014 MOOC for educators on designing their own online and blended teaching materials. [More on the detailed methodology can be found in the full report.] The MOOC, called “Carpe Diem” (CD), had just over 1,000 participants, a high level of engagement and completion, and included the use of hosting platform CourseSites’ LMS, as well as Twitter and Facebook for online communication and collaboration.

Outside of the structure LMS, the Facebook group moderators guided participants to ask question about the CD MOOC, seek practical help, communicate and discuss issues around work tasks, and share links to online group work and resources. Twitter was used by both the CD MOOC team and participants to share practical information and resources, while also encouraging participants to share their thoughts.…Read More

New edX MOOC portal to empower women

edX and Saudi Arabia collaborate on a new MOOC portal to empower women and the disadvantaged

online-learning-saudi-arabiaedX, a nonprofit online platform affiliated with Harvard and MIT, provides open source software for anyone in the world with an internet connection. The courses are free and many countries have adopted edX including China and France.

In November 2013, edX and the Queen Rania Foundation launched Edraak, the first massive open online course (MOOC) portal in Jordan to “open up a world of possibility for intellectually hungry Arab youth,” according to the Queen.

With a booming youth population and rising unemployment, edX is capitalizing on a growing interest in information and online media among Arabic speakers by launching a new initiative with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Labor. This new Arabic online learning platform aims to empower women and the disadvantaged with critical 21st century skills.…Read More

5 rockstar superprofessors of online learning

Who are the rockstar professors of massive open online courses?

Much has been written about how massive open online courses (MOOCs) have given rise to a cast of so-called “rockstar professors.”

rockstarWhile rockstar professors aren’t actually a new concept, their star power has always been more-or-less confined to the campus where they teach — unless, of course, they get their own TV show, like this guy –>.

MOOCs, however, have given these other charismatic professors a global stage in which to teach and — for better or worse — to entertain.…Read More

Learn how to Flip with TED Talks

New MOOC for educators highlights 30 Days of TED

Copyright: Gil C/Shutterstock

With all the MOOCs available today, including the number of platforms and higher-ed institutions offering courses, it’s sometimes difficult to navigate the most credible—and most interesting—MOOCs that can cater to your institution.

In the interest of saving you time, the editors of eCampus News have aggregated 5 new, free (and often generating a lot of buzz) MOOCs that apply to campus faculty and staff looking to enhance their professional development or apply new methodology to their teaching.

For example, this list includes MOOCs, all available in May, that range from “30 Days of TED,” which helps attendees learn how to Flip their courses using TED resources (and much more), to “Understand Media by Understanding Google,” which reveals how to adopt strategies that put attendees on an even footing with large media entities in achieving their own communications goals. Look for other courses on building career skills, applying data to social strategies, and more.…Read More

New platform challenges conventional MOOCs

Coursmos debuts micro-learning method as a solution to low completion rates

coursmos-MOOCs-online One of the most prominent topics educators debate in ed-tech is the effectiveness of massive open online courses, better known as MOOCs. While many say students benefit from the platforms’ diverse selection of course materials and easy access, low completion rates remain problematic for the MOOC movement.

To fight these low rates, a new learning platform Coursmos, has launched a non-traditional method of online education. Founded by a Russian team and based primarily in Redwood City, Calif., Coursmos started as a way to “educate Generation Distracted” and offers micro courses that teach material in chunks.…Read More

Udacity drops free certificates

MOOC certificates could cost students up to $150 per month

brokeresizedThe massive open online course (MOOC) platform Udacity will no longer offer completion certificates for free, the company announced this week.

While students can still take the courses for free, Udacity is discontinuing its “non-identity-verified” certificates. Anyone hoping to earn a certificate proving they mastered material in a MOOC must instead pay for a verified certificate. Students can keep the certificates they have already earned.

The change, effective May 16, is to help employers take MOOCs more seriously, Udacity’s founder Sebastian Thrun said in a blog post Wednesday.…Read More

MOOC: How to design an amazing blended learning course

A new free, five-week MOOC will help educators design more engaging blended learning courses

MOOC-blended-learning Designing a blended learning course may seem complicated to people unfamiliar with the vast array of options blended learning provides, but EDUCAUSE, Instructure, and the University of Central Florida hope to remedy that problem by offering a free MOOC on blended learning methods.

The new course also marks the first venture into the world of MOOCs for EDUCAUSE, a higher education nonprofit focusing on information technology.

Blended learning has gained steam in the past year as more educators seek to incorporate a mix of traditional classroom learning and digital media in order to create a more collaborative, and engaging work environment for students in the classroom and online.…Read More

Amish country gets a murderous MOOC

Erie, Pa. gains fame over its ‘Pizza Bomber’ MOOC

MOOC-Gannon-bomberThe pizza bomber case made national headlines, inspired a book, and was the subject of several television news programs and documentaries. Now, it’s the focus of an online course being offered by Gannon University, the only MOOC offered in Erie, Pa.

“Investigative Concepts: FBI Major Case #203 ‘Pizza Bomber‘” is the first Massive Open Online Course, or MOOC, being offered by any local college or university.

Taught by Gannon faculty member and retired FBI Special Agent Jerry Clark, the lead investigator on the case, the six-week course covers some of the same subject matter Clark teaches in a traditional, on-campus class for credit.…Read More

The shortcomings of MOOCs

The University offers 12 Massive Open Online Courses on the Coursera platform — some current and some upcoming. The University first offered MOOCs last fall with a whirlwind of controversy surrounding them, cavalierdaily.com reports. A year later, we examine the potential successes and failures of MOOCs, as well as their uncertain future in the competitive and expensive world of higher education. The obvious drawback to MOOCs is economic. The University receives no revenue from them, and they require professors to devote extensive hours of work for no additional pay. Physics Prof. Lou Bloomfield expressed a great deal of satisfaction from creating the “How Things Work” MOOC, but questions whether MOOCs will be sustainable for the future, having seen first hand the amount of time and energy necessary to create one…

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