February 21, 2013, 12:59 pm
Karen Head, a guest blogger for Wired Campus, is an assistant professor in the Georgia Institute of Technology’s School of Literature, Media, and Communication, and director of the institute’s Communication Center. She reports periodically on her group’s efforts to develop and offer a massive open online course in freshman composition.
Generally people approach new problems by beginning with what they already know, so early conversations are rooted in clichés about reinventing wheels or building better mousetraps. However, MOOCs aren’t like the existing structures we know—they are neither traditional lecture courses nor traditional distance-learning models. The “massive” component changes every aspect of what we are attempting to do and requires innovative approaches, especially for a course on freshman composition. With technologies evolving so rapidly, it is easy to…
January 24, 2013, 2:59 pm
The following is a guest post by Karen Head, an assistant professor in the Georgia Institute of Technology’s School of Literature, Media, and Communication, and director of the institute’s Communication Center. She joins us today and in the coming months to report on her group’s efforts to develop and offer a MOOC (massive open online course) in freshman composition.
In November 2012, I was part of a team that was awarded a grant by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop a MOOC for one of the most ubiquitous of university courses: freshman composition. Over the next five months, I will blog about our process. And I will try to address a central question surrounding the proliferation of massive open online courses. Many people argue that rising technologies could allow us to educate the world more…
January 24, 2013, 2:58 pm
Karen Head joins us today and in the coming months to report on her group’s efforts to develop and offer a MOOC (massive open online course) in freshman composition. She’s an assistant professor in the Georgia Institute of Technology’s School of Literature, Media, and Communication, and director of the institute’s Communication Center. So far higher education hasn’t seen many introductory writing courses taught in such a format, so we expect there’ll be lots of interest in this experiment. Thanks for joining us, Karen.
January 23, 2013, 8:58 pm
Since massive open online courses exploded into the public consciousness, college presidents have been trying to figure out how to use higher education’s most hyped innovation to deal with one of its greatest challenges: enrolling and graduating more students at a time of rising costs and declining support.
Academic Partnerships, a company that helps traditional institutions build online programs, believes it has found a way. And it involves awarding academic credit to students who take MOOCs—at no…
January 18, 2013, 12:28 pm
Taylor Branch (Photo by J. Brough Schamp)
The author and historian Taylor Branch spent nearly 25 years exploring and writing about the civil-rights era, and the result was a popular trilogy of books, America in the King Years, one of which won a Pulitzer Prize. This semester Mr. Branch will share his knowledge of the period by teaching a course at the University of Baltimore and opening it up to outsiders on the Web as a massive open online course, or MOOC.
The course, which starts on January 23, is built around his new book, The King Years: Historic Moments in the Civil Rights Movement, and will include face-to-face instruction with 20 University of Baltimore students, along with up to 100 auditors who will tune in online at no charge.
The idea for the course took shape as Mr. Branch worked on the new book,…
January 9, 2013, 5:00 am
Some producers of free e-textbooks have had trouble persuading professors to adopt them. So one backer of “open-source textbooks” has decided to sell its titles on Chegg, an online textbook retailer, for a small fee in hopes of reaching a wider audience.
The group is called the Twenty Million Minds Foundation, and its goal is to save students money by creating e-textbooks for popular subjects and making them available free—or as close to free as possible. It has spent about $1.5-million developing a handful of textbooks written by high-profile scholars.
But its leaders admit that professors have been slow to assign the books in their courses. Few professors have heard of the Twenty Million Minds Foundation or of OpenStax College, the Rice University-run service that hosts the free textbooks produced by the foundation.
“When you’re a foundation and you approach a professor,…
January 8, 2013, 5:00 am
Cornell University’s online spinoff is moving into MOOCs, with a free marketing course in its hospitality program starting on Tuesday. But the program will be designed to steer students toward a follow-up course for $1,200 to get a professional certificate.
The free online course, “Marketing the Hospitality Brand Through New Media: Social, Mobile, and Search,” is being offered by eCornell. It’s geared toward people working in sales, marketing, and financial positions in the hospitality industry, and is being taught by Robert J. Kwortnik and William Carroll, faculty members at Cornell’s School of Hotel Administration.
The school has been offering online courses through eCornell since 2002, but this is the first one that is being pitched as a massive open online course, or MOOC. Cornell officials hope the class will attract thousands of students.
Students who finish the…
November 29, 2012, 2:20 pm
Salman Khan’s dream college looks very different from the typical four-year institution.
The founder of Khan Academy, a popular site that offers free online video lectures about a variety of subjects, lays out his thoughts on the future of education in his book, The One World School House: Education Reimagined, released last month. Though most of the work describes Mr. Khan’s experiences with Khan Academy and his suggestions for changing elementary- and secondary-school systems, he does devote a few chapters to higher education.
In a chapter titled “What College Could Be Like,” Mr. Khan conjures an image of a new campus in Silicon Valley where students would spend their days working on internships and projects with mentors, and would continue their education with self-paced learning similar to that of Khan Academy. The students would attend ungraded seminars at night on art…
October 26, 2012, 3:13 pm
A proposal to phase out incentive pay for teaching online courses has become a sticking point in contract negotiations between the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education and the system’s faculty union.
The system has provided professors with financial incentives to develop and teach online courses since 1999, shelling out about $5-million annually, said Kenneth D. Marshall, a spokesman for the 14-campus system. But system leaders have proposed cutting those incentives in negotiations for a new contract, and the professors’ dissatisfaction over that plan and other issues may lead them to strike.
The professors receive $800 per credit for each online course, as well as $25 per student taking the course, to cover the time they spent developing the materials or learning new technology tools. They also receive extra payments if the course is reused in following years, said…