Thursday, August 16, 2012

What is a MOOC?

MOOCs (massive, open, online classes) are a hot topic -- they've generated a lot of experimentation, press, venture capital, etc. When my colleagues ask what it is all about, I point them to these quick resources:

1. Peter Norvig, The 100,000-student classroom. This is a six-minute TED talk describing the MOOC Norvig and a colleague taught at Stanford along with some of the principles that guided the course design.

2. A twenty minute audio interview of George Siemens, a professor at Athabasca University. Siemens was one of the first to teach a MOOC. (He may have coined the term). He describes his decentralized approach to MOOC design and, like Norvig, focuses on the need and opportunity for pedagogical research.

3. A twenty minute Ted Talk by Coursera co-founder Daphne Koller presents their MOOC techniques and highlights a few pedagoical research results.

4. Two blog posts that give a sense of the video production process at Udacity, a prominent, venture funded startup:

Disclaimer -- these are all presentations by enthusiasts. I've written several posts on MOOCs in the last year or so, and see a lot of potential, but there remain many unanswered questions.