MOOC content can be a valuable addition to course materials, but more experimentation is needed.
The tipping point for Tsigaris came two years ago when he determined that available online material was "just as good" as any textbook. He experimented with the idea, using resources such as MOOC content in place of a required text. "MOOCs help organize the information for you," said Tsigaris. "For the students' textbook, I use the Saylor Organization, which is based on the Creative Commons [license], and you can take the material without any copyright issues. Plus I added the Khan Academy to my lectures, and PowerPoint slides, so the students had quite a bit of information."
Tsigaris spends a lot of time sorting that information and steering students to relevant links or helpful MOOCs. "I tell students that these MOOCs are available and feel free to go and register," he explained. "A 7- to 8-week Coursera course from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign was offered near the same time as my course. I told my students, 'I give you my lectures and my examples, but please feel free to take this online course that is free, and go watch the videos of the instructor there, and you get a different perspective, different examples, and different explanations.'"