Coursera is an education platform that partners with top universities and organizations worldwide to offer courses online for free. It was started by two Stanford professors in late 2011. In less than three years it has reached 10 million students around the world and raised $85 million in ventur
Quietly, Harvard has built what amounts to an in-house production company to create MOOCs, or massive open online courses, high-end online classes that prestigious universities have for the last two years offered for free to anyone in the world, generally without formal credit.
As part of a larger research project into massively open online courses (MOOCs), we have investigated student background, as well as student participation in a physics MOOC with a laboratory component.
MOOC providers are targeting the high school demographic, to the extent that they're developing programs just for high schoolers. We take a look at what's available for high schoolers, and from which providers.
1 MOOCs are multiple: UK MOOCs have multiple pedagogic forms and intentions, and we can no longer define them as a single ‘transformative’ entity. Broad-brush descriptions of MOOC pedagogy in terms of a cMOOC/xMOOC binary are no longer representative or particularly useful. A more nuanced approach to institutional thinking around MOOCs is now needed: one which takes account of an analysis of MOOC pedagogy at a micro level of individual course design. 2 MOOC pedagogy is not embedded in MOOC platforms, but is negotiated and emergent. Multiple social and material influences converge when MOOC pedagogy is enacted: teacher preferences and beliefs, disciplinary influences, patterns of learner expectation and engagement, and other contextual factors such as institutional teaching culture or the desire to generate analytics. We need to give greater attention to MOOC pedagogy as a socio-material and discipline-informed issue. 3 ‘The teacher’ persists in the MOOC. Though MOOC teaching functions are often disaggregated and delegated to automated processes and community-based social learning, the place and visibility of the teacher remain of central importance. MOOC teaching is high visibility, high risk and dependent on significant intellectual, emotional and time commitment from academics and the professionals who work alongside them.
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