MOOCs: How will they affect your K-12 classroom?

“Clayton Christensen also predicted in his book, Disrupting Class, that by 2019, 50 percent of all high school courses will be online. I believe it,” he emphasized.

Many factors contribute to MOOC success, explained Garrigan, with the basic understanding that people want to learn.

“Lots of people want to learn if they think it’s interesting and there’s no risk,” he said.

Another major reason is the complete change of teaching methods and tools used with MOOCs. For example:

  • Each video is usually 10 minutes, holding student attention span.
  • There’s a high instructor presence, lending to a personal, collegial feel. “Many students say they choose courses based on instructor personality,” said Garrigan.
  • “Retrieval” feedback occurs every five minutes or so with MOOCs. According to Garrigan, this means that after five minutes students are asked to complete a short quiz to determine whether or not they understand the concepts presented. If they don’t pass the quiz, they cannot move forward and are asked to review the material.
  • Deadlines still exist for tests and homework.
  • Q & A forums are popular, as well as online student study groups.

Watch Daphne Koller’s (Stanford University professor and co-founder of the MOOC platform Coursera) video on the importance of retrieval feedback in MOOCs:

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Another interesting characteristic of MOOCs is the software behind the videos offered by many MOOC platforms (Coursera, Udacity, Khan Academy, and edX), allowing the educator to give students a first-person point-of-view.

(Next page: Educators switching to MOOCs)

Meris Stansbury

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