Not all MOOCs are created equal. In the article An Unique Approach to a xMOOC — Learner-Centric Course Design, Debbie Morrison introduced a course called Applied Sustainability delivered by Fanshawe college in Ontario, Canada. This course is unique in that it focuses on students and their learning experiences, as opposed to the traditional instructor-centered design that emphasizes faculty-delivered content. Rather than one expert instructor leading the course, there is an interviewer who travels to visit numerous subject matter experts in the field. The interviewer acts as the ‘host’ of the course, going on an exploratory journey along with the students to learn about applied sustainability. Students have access to a variety of open resources, primarily from the experts in the field, field trips with interviewer and the collection of curated resources on the website. Knowing the different levels of commitment of students from diverse backgrounds, the Fanshawe MOOC provided options to customize their learning by offering four options for course participation—Green, Silver, Gold and Platinum.
|Image from Presentation Slide featuring student project, posted during Webinar with |
Contact North,with Wendy Wilson describing the MOOC’s development strategy
In reading the articles mentioned above, I tried to crack the secret code to the success of MOOCs engagement, and came to the following conclusion. These are the three things that every MOOCs designer should seriously consider and act on immediately:
- Turn passive lecturing into active learning – The instructor of the course is more than the traditional professor that gives lectures. To facilitate students' learning process and encourage participation, he/she explores and learns with students.
- Personalize the experience – In order for every student to get the most out of the course and generate useful feedback for improvement, MOOCs should provide different options in terms of learning objectives and tutoring requests.
- Create a platform for socializing and networking – A passion-driven community is the best loyalty program. The shared passion and the links with various talents keep students coming back for more.
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