Many massive open online courses (MOOCs) today are not very different from a traditional in-person class. The architecture, organization, and interactions all seek to imitate the traditional class format. Although everything surrounding MOOCs, including context of use, learners, and digital capabilities, have drastically altered, somehow the courses essentially stay the same.
The motivation for this project initially stemmed from our personally disappointing experiences with MOOCs, but we soon realized that significant improvements in this area could have a valuable impact on the large numbers of learners who take online courses. Any improvements made on the translation process would have an impact on both teachers of these courses and on the learners who depend upon them for their education.
We attempted to redefine several aspects of traditional courses: the syllabi and the course pace. How might the traditional syllabus be better adapted to an online environment? If the course is online and accessible to students in various time zones, shouldn’t there be more freedom to work through the course material at the learner’s own pace?
This work was intended to serve as the first step in the process of improving the way MOOCs are designed and carried out.
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