Are your grades killing your grandmother? Dan Ariely’s prescription: The perfect MOOC

05 Mar

The fact that more college students lose grandparents right before taking college exams suggests those same students’ grandparents would be better off if their grandchildren enrolled in Massive Open Online Courses, known as MOOCs.
[ Photo by Flickr user Rosie O’Beirne. ]

By Dan Ariely

Editor’s Note: As winter creeps into spring, it’s getting to be midterm exam season across America’s college and university campuses. That means the risk for college students of losing a grandmother will soon spike by 10 percent. A few months down the road, before finals, the risk will climb 19 percent.

Duke behavioral economist and psychologist Dan Ariely has a preventive prescription: enroll in a MOOC — one of those Massive Open Online Courses, and you might just save your grandmother some fatal stress about your exam performance. Huh?

Stay tuned — Ariely’s good at explaining irrationality. He taught his first MOOC — “An Introduction to Irrational Behavior” — last year, and as it was just getting started, reported on the pluses and pitfalls of teaching online for Making Sense. When the course was over, he told us he was surprised how time-consuming teaching a MOOC was. He wasn’t sure if he’d do another one.

Well, now he is. “A Beginner’s Guide to Irrational Behavior, Take 2″ starts next week. As Ariely explains:

…you will learn about some of the many ways in which we behave in less than rational ways, and how we might overcome some of our shortcomings. You’ll also find cases where our irrationalities work in our favor, and how we can harness these tendencies to make better decisions.

But getting back to those grandmothers, Ariely joins us now on Making Sense to elaborate on yet another benefit of enrolling in MOOCs.

Simone Pathe, Making Sense Editor

There are many differences between MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) and in-person courses. However, not all are as interesting as the difference in the welfare of the families and loved ones of the students taking the two different types of classes.

[ Full article available at PBS NewsHour: ]

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Posted by on March 5, 2014 in MOOCs in the News


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