How to Teach MOOCs Effectively

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  How to Teach MOOCs Effectively

Learn 4 keys to teaching MOOCs online.

By Ashley Henshaw


How to Teach MOOCs Effectively
Photo: Thinkstock

If you are a professor, an instructor, or maybe just a great guitar player who wants to teach lessons, you might be interested in using MOOCs to reach more students. You might also be someone with no teaching experience whatsoever who is interested in creating a MOOC as a hobby or try to make money on websites like Udemy that allow anyone to create their own online course.

Learn how to play to the strengths of the online learning community, and you’ll be able to create effective MOOCs or improve the quality of your existing MOOC in no time.

Providing many ways for students to consume the information is an effective way to improve student learning and make sure that your MOOC is the best it can be.

1. Utilize Your Introductions

Introductory or welcome lectures engage students, allow them to get used to the format of the MOOC (remember this may be the first time they’ve ever taken a Massive Open Online Course), and set your tone and expectations in the virtual classroom.

Many of the most popular MOOCs utilize great intros. The top Udemy courses let students know about the course in intro lectures. Intros set up course expectations, answer initial questions and concerns, and generally show your students how awesome you are.

Take a look at the Intro to Computer Science course at Udacity for example. While many students might be scared to dive into computer science, the instructors effectively reassure students that no experience is necessary and focus on getting to build your own search engine, the most exciting part of the course.

2. Nurture Online Discussions

An important part of effective MOOCs is promoting online discussion through forums or message boards. Effective MOOC instructors foster group-learning and critical thinking skills. This is especially true in online classes.

In the International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning, Kaye Shelton writes, “the instructor should become a facilitator and review the discussions without controlling them.” Group input, whether optional or required at “discussion times” set by you, will help students improve the quality of their learning.

3. Assign Homework

Don’t think that because you have no way of checking homework you shouldn’t give any. Assignments are important to learning. Remember that the primary goal of homework is not to test students but to allow students to interact, retrieve and remember knowledge. Papers from the journal Science show that even small, simple assignments given after you’ve taught something benefit students much more than continued studying.

4. Use Multimedia Effectively

Students learn in a variety of different ways and effective MOOC instructors vary their method of teaching by giving video lectures, audio files, and text files for students who learn material in different ways. Also consider the use of infographics, which is information presented in graphs, charts and pictures.

Providing many ways for students to consume the information is an effective way to improve student learning and make sure that your MOOC is the best it can be.

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