6 Tips for Creating a ‘Mini’ MOOC

20 Apr

There are ways to allow your institution to experiment with online courses, even if they’re not intended to be “massive.” An online program manager shares advice.

By Dian Schaffhauser

Not every school is ready to run a massive open online course through one of the larger platforms like edX or Coursera — and maybe that’s not what’s needed anyway. Sometimes instructors simply want to dabble in order to understand something better. Case in point: the University of Michigan Dearborn. This institution with 9,000 students is considerably smaller than its sibling, the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, which has 50,000 students. Whereas the Ann Arbor campus was one of the first schools to sign on with Coursera in 2012, the Dearborn campus hasn’t yet answered the call to develop courses for the MOOC platform.

Elizabeth Fomin, program manager for Dearborn’s College of Arts, Sciences and Letters Online Program, is immersed in all kinds of work at the university related to online learning and emerging technology. She also teaches courses in visual communication and Web technology. In a presentation at the recent CT Forum conference in Long Beach, CA, Fomin shared the lessons she has learned in helping her campus try out a MOOC initiative without waiting for an invitation.

Coursera and EdX Aren’t the Only Games in Town
For Fomin, the answer lay with an alternative MOOC platform, Canvas Network, which is run by the same company, Instructure, that produces her campus’ chosen learning management system, Canvas. Canvas Network will host courses from two-year and four-year colleges, K-12 schools and districts, academic partnerships and consortia, non-profits with an education or public mission, government agencies with an education mission and even for-profit companies if they’re teaming up with an educational organization.

The site currently hosts about 70 courses, all for free, as a way to demonstrate its commercial LMS. As Fomin described the Canvas Network MOOC offerings, “They don’t tend to mirror what you’d see in a traditional state university MOOC. They’re shorter. They don’t have as much interaction with the faculty. They’re more like e-learning — a little bit smaller [and] easier to digest.”

[ Full article available at Campus Technology: ]

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Posted by on April 20, 2015 in Best Practices, MOOCs in the News



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