Would you like to take Cryptography,Introduction to Sustainability, Modern and Contemporary American Poetry, or Algorithms Part I? These are just a few of the currently available MOOC’s.
MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Course; meaning, free and open enrollment to anyone, anywhere. The traditional MOOC typically touts student enrollment from hundreds to thousands of students for one class. Yes–thousands.
Courses are developed and delivered by faculty at prominent institutions like Duke, MIT, Harvard, Princeton, etc. These institutions are partnering together with organizations like Coursera, edx and Udacity to create a unified course delivery system for the MOOCs.
While MOOC courses don’t offer the same level of credit that traditional university courses offer, some provide certificates upon successful completion of the course. There are rumors of MOOC certificates earning street cred, particularly for hiring purposes in large technology corporations around the globe. If you have certificates in Computer Architecture and Computing for Data Analysis then you will be a more desirable hire than the guy with none.
I am currently enrolled in my second MOOC, Gamification, taught by Kevin Warbach from the University of Pennsylvania. The course is designed with a series of video lectures, quizzes, and discussion forums. I enjoy the open format. People from all other the world are enrolled and right away you get a sense of community with the other participants. It’s easy to enroll in a course and if you don’t have time to finish it, you didn’t waste your money! New courses are starting all the time, there are no traditional semesters.
Check out available MOOC’s at:
Coursera – a company who has partnered with 16 of the world’s top universities to offer a wide range of free courses across disciplines. (Stanford, Princeton, Michigan…)
edX – originally developed by MIT. They have recently partnered with Harvard and Berkeley. Most of their courses are technical.
Udacity – courses from a range of universities. Most of their courses focus on the technical.
PROBLEM: Every time you make a change to a syllabus you have to delete the old syllabus in Blackboard and upload the newest version into every section. This is very time consuming.
SOLUTION: Convert a course syllabus to a Google Doc, link to it in Blackboard. When a Google Doc is edited it shows your changes in real time. If you make changes to the Google Doc, it shows updates immediately wherever it is linked.
Example: Your course syllabus is a Google Doc and you have it linked to 3 course sections in Blackboard. When you make changes to the Google Doc (the syllabus), it is also updating in your 3 course sections all at once.
Seen these around? They’re word clouds and have been circulating digitally and in print over the past few years. What appears to be a technical and time consuming task is more easy than you think (like paste a bunch of words in a text box and click the word “Go” kind of easy).
Wordle’s one downfall – - You can’t “save” your word cloud as an image. Once it’s generated, you have the option to print it or add it to Wordle’s gallery. BUT, here’s the “workaround” …take a screenshot of your wordle (using either your PrtScn key or Snagit
“If you can both listen to (students) and accept their answers not as things to only be judged right or wrong but as pieces of information which may reveal what the (student) is thinking, you will have taken a giant step toward becoming a master teacher, rather than merely a disseminator of information.” -Easley & Zwoyer, 1975
Two of the biggest buzzwords in education: Assessment and Engagement.
We have a tendency to associate the term “assessment” with “tests”. But, it is sooooo much more. If I were to define assessment in layman terms, I would describe is as “putting your feelers out”. While in the midst of a lesson have you ever thought to yourself, “They just aren’t getting it”? Think back to that moment. How did you know your students weren’t “getting it”? Believe it or not, the “how” in this situation is a type of assessment, properly known as Formative Assessment.
Feedback is the heart of formative assessment. When we, the educator, are conducting a formative assessment we are ultimately asking for feedback from the student. Student feedback provides us with information to gauge where our students are in the moment versus where we want them to be. Feedback is essential, it allows us to tweak, modify, or change our pace to ensure student success and understanding. Now– hold that thought.
Our students want to play an active role in their education. They do not want to be passive learners, commonly called the “sit-n-get” approach. Engaging the learners is more than being a great lecturer; the students need to interact on their level and in a way which is meaningful to them.
Making a connection
Begin every class session with a question. Introduce your topic by polling the class on the lesson topic before the lesson. It encourages active participation from your students. It turns the lights on inside their heads. They are ready. You now know where they stand.
Make every student a participant. This where engaging the learner comes into play and can be as easy as having every student raise their hand. Better yet, put a device in their hand.
Clickers have made a successful debut onto higher ed campuses over the last few years. Students can respond in a variety of formats from multiple choice to open-ended.
A free web application, Poll Everywhere allows student to respond to questions mobile devices and tablets into the clickers. Students can respond with their cell phones!
Respond to their responses. You’ve asked the question and gathered the information. You know where the students stand, you have their attention. What are you going to do about it? Take this opportunity to bring in a connection from the previous lesson, start a discussion, start over, move ahead! Their responses can now guide you in a direction that best fits the needs of your learners.