Feature

Course connections: A new MOOC phase of student engagement

Ensuring that students are engaging in their distance learning coursework

In an online seminar on the Greek rhetorician Isocrates offered at the University of Pittsburgh, 176 students listened to a live stream of a discussion among graduate students taking the on-campus version of the class and then asked questions or made comments via Twitter.

The eight graduate students in the brick-and-mortar class took turns recording lectures once a week for the online students during the course this past fall. And both the online and doctoral students could interact with one another on the discussion board on Blackboard’s CourseSites platform.

Stanford’s hybrid MOOC offers alternative

Graduate students work on same projects as 25,000 MOOC takers

When Tina Seelig, executive director of the Stanford Technology Ventures Program, taught “A Crash Course on Creativity” last spring, the 38 students in her graduate class worked on the same projects as the 25,000 people around the world who took the MOOC version of the course.

The MOOC not only offered an alternative to Stanford students who were unable to take this oversubscribed class, but also included perspective from people across the globe.

Is there a business model for MOOCs?

Considering the costs of offering massive open online courses and the return on investment

An increasing number of colleges and universities are offering MOOCs, but few have crunched the numbers to determine whether these online courses can succeed as a business proposition. Where return-on-investment conversations are happening, they generally aren’t leading to comprehensive analysis.

Some institutions, however, are paving the way in their attempts to analyze the potential of MOOCs as a business model.

Putting cost calculations in perspective

The right MOOC business model will vary by institution, experts say

Online education providers say university and college clients considering developing MOOCs as a long-term strategy need to think about the economies of scale gained and how long courses can last before the content gets out of date.

Georgia Tech’s MOOC 2.0?

Georgia Tech’s College ready to roll out online master’s program

It won’t quite be describable as a MOOC at first. But that’s one direction that Georgia Tech’s College of Computing can imagine going with its soon-to-be-rolled-out online master’s program, which will start as a pilot in January.

The program has received national attention in part because of a $2 million investment from AT&T—and because Georgia Tech is charging only $6,600 in tuition, compared to $45,000 that traditional master’s students from out-of-state would pay.

Accessibility from a distance in higher education

Today’s digital learning platforms come with varying degrees of accessibility for students with disabilities

The technological revolution sweeping higher education may not be carrying all students with it equally. MOOCs, lecture capture, and other digital platforms are being designed with varying degrees of accessibility for students with mobility restrictions, hearing and visual impairments, and learning disabilities.

Accessibility features embedded in lecture capture

Lecture capture platforms can accommodate human-generated closed captions, and are compatible with screen-reading software

Unlike MOOCs, lecture capture platforms are used widely in for-credit courses. Providers of the technology have built in many accessibility features in the past several years.

Lecture capture platforms designed by Echo360, Panopto, and Sonic Foundry, for instance, can all accommodate human-generated closed captions, and are compatible with screen-reading software used by students with visual impairments. Students who cannot use a mouse can use keyboard commands to navigate the platforms.

Data mining the MOOCs

The massive enrollment in MOOCs is yielding a treasure-trove of information for everything from marketing to course development

The exploding popularity of MOOCs is beginning to open up a mother lode of data about prospective students that colleges and universities can use for marketing and recruitment purposes.

MOOCs are still in their infancy stages, and the concept of leveraging their reach as a data-rich marketing vehicle for the institution is even newer. But it’s beginning to gain a foothold.

MOOC data dig: What to track

There’s no shortage of options for administrators to consider when looking to make decisions from MOOC enrollment data. Here are some ideas suggested by Sam Burgio and Rick Tomlinson, of Jenzabar; Katie Blot and Jarl Jonas, of Blackboard; and Caitlin Garrett, of Rapid Insight:

MOOC data gathering at Syracuse University

Syracuse data science MOOC was designed principally to showcase the school’s new certificate of advanced study in the field

Syracuse University, which has offered MOOCs in data science and librarianship, has used CourseSites to download user information and export it into Excel.

The Syracuse data science MOOC was designed principally to showcase the school’s new certificate of advanced study in the field, says Peggy M. Brown, director of instructional design and an adjunct professor in the School of Information Studies.

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