On-Campus Impacts of MOOCs at Duke University

03 Aug

By Kim Manturuk and Quentin M. Ruiz-Esparza

Although much of the attention given to massive open online courses (MOOCs) focuses on their ability to reach millions of learners worldwide, one of Duke University‘s original primary objectives for getting involved with MOOCs was to use the courses to promote innovation in teaching and learning within the Duke campus community. At the beginning of Duke’s MOOC venture in 2012, Duke President Richard Brodhead said,

“We see the online environment as a sphere for experimentation where faculty can develop and pilot new teaching methodologies. If the pedagogical innovations prove successful, faculty members can devise ways to import these ideas back into their Duke classrooms.”

In the three years since the venture launched in 2012, MOOCs have led to surprising pedagogical outcomes. Duke faculty members have invested heavily in the university’s exploration of MOOCs, with 30 instructors from 28 departments developing 31 MOOCs on Coursera (figure 1). Across 66 individual course sessions, Duke MOOCs have had 2.8 million enrollments and issued more than 72,000 certificates. Today, faculty members continue to design new MOOCs, launch additional course sessions, and seek out new uses for MOOC educational resources.

Figure 1. Duke University's portal on Coursera

Duke University’s portal on Coursera

When Duke first began developing MOOCs, the uptake in creating video lessons immediately suggested the opportunity for instructors to explore flipped classes. By using these instructional videos in place of in-class lectures for campus courses, faculty freed up class time for more engaging activities and provided students greater flexibility in learning content. To date, more than half of Duke’s MOOCs have led to at least one flipped class.

However, the on-campus impacts have gone far beyond moving lectures from the podium to the laptop or mobile device. Faculty members are

  • leveraging MOOC resources for much-needed supplemental learning and review opportunities for on-campus students,
  • improving materials and activities in their classes,
  • crafting better assessments to measure student learning, and
  • experimenting with new pedagogies to increase engagement and learning.

In this article, we offer various examples of how the MOOCs initiative has led Duke faculty members to evolve in their approaches to teaching and learning.

[ Full article available at EDUCAUSE Review: ]

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Posted by on August 3, 2015 in Industry News, MOOCs in the News


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