Thinking about MOOCs: A Link Round-Up

As part of Vanderbilt’s Coursera partnership, I’ve been working this fall to help the half-dozen Coursera faculty here design and build their spring courses. Since teaching online at this scale is new territory for higher education, I’ve spent a lot of time exploring this educational space with my graduate assistant, Katie McEwen. By the time the Coursera announcement was made back on September 19th, Katie and I had created a 45-page Coursera resource guide detailing common and uncommon teaching practices used by the courses then available on the Coursera platform.

Since September, Katie and I have both been blogging about teaching and learning in and with MOOCs, and I wanted to make sure I directed the attention of readers of this blog to some of those blog posts, most of which have run on the Center for Teaching (CFT) blog. Katie’s posts over on the CFT website have thus far focused on the nuts and bolts of Coursera, with explanatory posts on video lectures, video discussions, and assessments. (She’ll be tackling peer grading in her next post.) Meanwhile, I’ve blogged here and on the CFT site about Coursera’s role as an innovation accelerator, about considering a MOOC as something of a super-textbook, and about four different contexts in which students might take a MOOC as part of an on-campus, credit-bearing course.

Also this fall, the CFT is hosting a visiting scholar, law professor Catherine Easton of Lancaster University in the UK. Catherine is in the United States as part of the International Scholars Program of the UK’s Higher Education Academy (HEA). She’s here to study classroom response systems (“clickers”) and related technologies, although she’s developed a healthy interest in MOOCs since arriving. She and I have started identifying some connections between the use of clickers in face-to-face classes and the use of multiple-choice questions embedded in the online lecture videos common on Coursera. See her blog post for more on this idea.

I’m hoping to do a little more writing on this topic over winter break, starting with a few ideas for applying the social pedagogies lens to student activities within a MOOC. I hope that those of you interested in MOOCs will read some of the posts I’ve mentioned here–and that you find them useful as you consider how MOOCs might affect teaching and learning in higher education.


Image: “Don’t Chain Me Down,” Wendell, Flickr (CC)

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