As an academic discipline entirely focused on human culture and heavily reliant on face-to-face communication, the humanities doesn’t always seem like a good fit for massive online open courses (MOOCs).

humanities

3.8 million people enrolled in humanities courses.

“It is hard to imagine having a human, teacher-ly presence in this space,” Julie Lindquist, a professor at Michigan State University who was building a creative writing MOOC, told eCampus News in June.

It turns out that nearly 4 million humans have flocked to humanities courses offered by the MOOC provider Coursera since the company launched two years ago.

The humanities is the now second most popular course subject on the platform, according to an infographic the company released Oct. 24.

The most popular subject is computer science with nearly 9.5 million enrollees.

The humanities trails with only 3,861,497 enrollees, but managed to beat out business and management (3.5 million); economics and finance (3.3 million); and information, tech, and design (2.4 million).

That high-profile MOOCs like Canvas’ “Walking Dead” course fall under the humanities umbrella probably doesn’t hurt the discipline’s chance of success online.

See page 2 for why some in higher education believe MOOCs are ignoring the humanities…


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