Course Development and MOOCs (Part 3)

14 Jan

By Ellen Brandenberger

In my first post I examined the role of course developers and the skills they bring to the creation of MOOCs. In a second, I wrote about the contrast between instructional designers, course developers, and faculty members, isolating inherent differences and their ramifications for teaching and learning. Here, I hope to describe the MOOC development process wholistically from the perspective of a course developer. What efforts go into the creation of MOOCs? What steps do course developers take to get MOOCs online?

To answer such questions, I conducted interviews of individuals in course development roles at four different higher education institutions. These eight individuals sat down with me for semi-structured interviews to explore their roles, responsibilities, and qualifications. Each worked for higher education institutions that are members of the edX Consortia.

The development of a MOOC for the edX platform, from the perspective of a course developer, generally takes the following arc:

Proposal: The university call for proposals, asking faculty to propose a course, whether residential or newly created from their research, to be made into a MOOC. With the help of course developers, these proposals are reviewed, and courses are selected. The reasoning behind this selection varies significantly by institution, but usually encompasses either wider popular relevance, the uniqueness of the offering (a faculty member with famous research might be a great choice here), or a course that would be especially effective if delivered online.

Development: After proposals are selected, it is time to build the course, the the most labor-intensive step for course developers. Course developers meet regularly with faculty to outline a syllabus for the course, determine the format with which course content will be displayed online, plan, shoot, and produce video content for the course, acquire publishing rights for course readings and software, plan student activities, and work with web developers (both in their own institution and at edX) to ensure the transition of their content to the online format.

[ Full article available at Inside Higher Ed: ]

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Posted by on January 14, 2015 in MOOCs in the News


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