A Better Kind of MOOC

Been thinking for a while about how to innovate on the MOOC (Massive Open Online Course). Here are the problems MOOCs face: 

  • Despite having high quality content that is in great demand, virtually no one watches a MOOC past the first two or three lectures.
  • MOOCs are often visually annoying. A camera pointed at a professor's face. We get all the downsides of classroom learning, with none of the upsides.
  • MOOCs too often fail to communicate the sort of excitement of learning that comes with being surrounded by peers who are learning the same material as you are at the same time. MOOCs are insufficiently social.

I'm still thinking about how it makes sense to try and hack the MOOC. But in the meantime, I'm trying out a few things on the God and the Good Life class that I may try to work into a MOOC (if I ever try to make one). One of them is just the format of the class syllabus / website (they are the same thing). It's laid out simply. Students (or anyone online really) can just visit the site, click the topic they want to think about, and do all the readings and assignments. We're also trying to get the course blog to be more active -- to be a social space for those who may be following along and doing the readings. One major thing was missing, though: content. That is, until now! Below is a video we put together for lecture #1 of course content (title: Learn to Live Well). I'm hoping to do this for each of the courses. Links will be available the page for each of the lecture days (example). Enjoy!

 

Professor Meghan Sullivan, "The good life is roughly this big."