How to Convert a Classroom Course Into a MOOC

29 Aug

The sheer size and diversity of the student body in a MOOC force faculty to use strategies for planning, teaching, and assessment that differ radically from those used in traditional classes.

Illustration: Richard Mia

By Michelle Fredette

Anyone who’s gone through the effort of converting a traditional course into a MOOC can attest that the “M” in the acronym doesn’t just refer to the size of the class–it’s also an apt description of how much labor is involved in preparing the course. It took 300-400 hours of work, for example, to convert three courses for SJSU Plus, a MOOC pilot project between San Jose State University (CA) and Udacity (the project was recently put on hold). EdX, another of the leading MOOC providers, charges schools $250,000 to produce a single course for its platform.

As professors have discovered, the task of converting a course for MOOC use is not as simple as taking recordings of class lectures and cutting them up into digestible segments. And while there are similarities in developing traditional online courses and MOOCs, the sheer scale of the latter changes key dynamics, forcing faculty to come up with new approaches and ideas.

A Different Student Body
Perhaps the biggest factor affecting course design is the makeup of the student body. Forget the idea of the traditional student, who enters college at 18 and graduates with a degree four to five years later. A traditional MOOC student doesn’t exist. Students are of all ages, have different levels of education–many have advanced degrees–live all over the world, and have a wide range of cultural backgrounds. Some are taking the course for fun, others for professional advancement. Because of this diversity, instructors find that they often have to generalize more than they would in a classroom setting.

[ Full article available at Campus Technology: ]

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Posted by on August 29, 2013 in MOOCs in the News


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