2013 GSI Symposium Breakout Session 5: Challenges and Rewards of Teaching in a MOOC

A Report from the Trenches

We’re continuing with our reports from the JHU Gateway Sciences Initiative (GSI) 2nd Annual Symposium on Excellence in Teaching and Learning in the Sciences.  Our final report is on the session “Challenges and Rewards of Teaching in a MOOC” presented by Brian Caffo, PhD Associate Professor of Biostatistics, Bloomberg School of Public Health; Kevin Frick, PhD, Professor of Health Policy and Management, Bloomberg School of Public Health; and Ira Gooding, OpenCourseWare Coordinator, Bloomberg School of Public Health.

This breakout session followed Daphne Koller’s (PhD, Co-founder of Coursera and Professor of Computer Science, Stanford University) keynote address: The Online Revolution: Education for Everyone. [Click on the link to see a video-cast of her talk.]

Sample Menu of JHSPH Coursera CoursesSince JHU began working with Coursera in July 2012, The Bloomberg School of Public Health (JHSPH) has developed and offered eight massive open online courses (MOOCs) on the Coursera platform. During this session, Ira Gooding, Educational Resource Coordinator in the JHSPH Center for Teaching and Learning, presented an overview of the School’s work so far, including enrollment information, completion rates, and practical insights about the development of MOOCs.

Gooding was joined by two MOOC instructors: Kevin Frick, Professor of Health Policy and Management, and Brian Caffo, Professor of Biostatistics. Drs. Frick and Caffo both shared details of their experiences teaching thousands of students via the MOOC model. During the question and answer portion, the panel was joined by two other MOOC instructors: Karen Charron of the Department of International Health and Roger Peng of the Department of Biostatistics. All agreed that MOOCs are a powerful tool for broadening access to high-quality educational experiences that can serve as a supplement or a gateway to more formal and traditional academic pursuits.

Many thanks to Ira Gooding for providing The Innovative Instructor with the notes from this session.

For more information on massive open online courses, see The Innovative Instructor post from January 8, 2013: The ABCs of MOOCS.

Macie Hall, Senior Instructional Designer
Center for Educational Resources


Image Source: Ira Gooding

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