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A Sneak Peek At The Comic Book MOOC Get a Grasp

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Get a Grasp! A Primer Course for Getting Your Comic Started, which starts March 23, is another example of a MOOC offered by an independent organization, in this case a nonprofit called Making Comics (dotcom) devoted to developing free teaching resources. Charlie Chung from from Class Central recently spoke with Patrick Yurick, CEO of Making Comics (dotCom) and one of the instructors of Get a Grasp, to get a preview, and he generously developed this article for MOOC News and Reviews. Below is a transcript of their conversation about the upcoming comic book MOOC.  -Editor What is your personal background and what is MakingComics (dotCom)? I went to graphic design school and decided to become an art educator. For the last five years, I worked at High Tech High [in San Deigo, CA], and developed an after-school comic book project...

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From Anecdotes to Evidence: A Preview Of A New Data Journalism MOOC

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Doing Journalism with Data: First Steps, Skills and Tools, which starts May 19, is an example of a growing trend of MOOCs offered by organizations outside the usual university structure, in this case under the auspices of the European Journalism Centre and featuring an international team instructors from across the commercial and non-profit publishing spectrum. Charlie Chung from from Class Central recently spoke with one of the instructors on the team to get a preview and generously developed this article for MOOC News and Reviews.   -Editor       The amount of data being generated in our modern society is exploding, and it’s being collected and analyzed by all kinds of organizations, from governments (e.g. the U.S. NSA) to corporations (e.g. loyalty reward cards). There have also been extreme reactions against some of this (e.g. in the form of...

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Learning Design for Online Ed: An Interview With Gilly Salmon About Her Carpe Diem MOOC

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The video below is an interview with Professor Gilly Salmon, who has been a guest before talking about her extensive research in online education and pedagogy and what she has observed about MOOCs so far. Now, the first MOOC that she is leading is about to launch. “Carpe Diem—Learning Design” starts on March 10, and we took the opportunity to discuss some of the differences between course design for “traditional” online learning and for MOOCs. We also dig a little bit into the resources that were required to build this MOOC. As I pointed out during her previous visit, Professor Salmon is the author of a foundational text on distance learning, E-tivities: The Key to Active Online Learning, which is now in its second edition. She is currently the Pro Vice-Chancellor of Learning Transformations at Swinburne University of Technology,...

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Course Profile: General Semantics MOOC

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Instructor Steve Stockdale at New Mexico State University discusses the upcoming Introduction to General Semantics MOOC, hosted on Canvas.net, which starts January 13. Editor’s note: Thank you to Class Central for developing and providing this article.   What is General Semantics? General Semantics is an over-arching field that tries to integrate: a) what we know about ourselves, b) what we know about the world around us, and c) what that tells us about how we need to be evaluating our experiences. So it includes the physical sciences as well as what’s going on inside of ourselves from a physiological and neurological standpoint. The goal is to derive a pattern of behavior that’s consistent with what we know about how the brain works and how the world around us works. We have imperfect sense organs, and what we think we see...

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What Do We Know About MOOC Students So Far?: A Look At Recent User Data

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by John Swope We’ve been hearing for some time that the number of people taking MOOCs is growing. While student enrollment has risen from an estimated 1 million in 2012 to over 10 million today, with thousands of MOOCs and dozens of providers, information about who these students are has been more speculative. Recently, Edinburgh University came out with a report on the behavior of their students over the course of six MOOCs provided via Coursera. Professors such as Jeffrey Pomerantz, who teaches a MOOC on Metadata, has blogged about his student activity. Providers, though sensitive about their numbers around student attrition, don’t seem to prevent the release of this information. Slowly, information like this is shining a light on who MOOC students are and what they want. Who are MOOC students? MOOC students are diverse, ranging from overachieving...

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Using “Traditional” Online Education to Launch MOOCs: A Q&A With Colorado State’s Distance Ed Team

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Good morning. This is Robert McGuire at MOOC News and Reviews, and today we’re going to hear from part of the leadership team at Colorado State University OnlinePlus, which is the distance learning program for that state university system. The reason I wanted to talk to them is because they are in the process of developing their first MOOCs by building on their existing infrastructure and experience with online education, which I suspect is going to be the way that many public universities start experimenting with MOOCs. The first of these classes from CSU OnlinePlus is a psychology class titled The Science of Relationships, which will run this fall semester from September 23 to November 15. And in the spring they have two other classes they’re planning in educational leadership and environmental science.  [You can play the audio recording...

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The Modest MOOC: How the Knight Center For Journalism Put On 5 Classes In 10 Months

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Hello everyone. This is Robert McGuire at MOOC News and Reviews, and today we’re talking with the Knight Center for Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin to learn more about their MOOCs. The Knight Center is a professional training and outreach program for journalists in Latin America and the Caribbean. They run a digital media center and operate a number of workshops, conferences and educational programs to elevate journalism standards and defend press freedom in the Americas. The Knight Center was founded and is directed by Rosental Alves who is also a professor in the University of Texas at Austin School of Journalism. He created the first class on online journalism at UT-Austin in 1997. Before that, he had a 27-year career as a working journalist in Brazil. The Knight Center’s newest work includes several MOOCs, and...

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The New College Try: A Q&A With Degree of Freedom’s Jonathan Haber

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Hello everybody. This is Robert McGuire from MOOC News and Reviews. Today I’m talking with Jonathan Haber who is the man behind the Degree of Freedom project. Degree of Freedom is his experiment to see if he can learn everything an undergraduate philosophy major would learn in college, only Jonathan is relying on free online resources, and he’s trying to do it in one year instead of four. As we speak, he is a rising junior, so to speak, with four semesters under his belt and four more semesters to go. All of this is documented on the Degree of Freedom website. Jonathan also churns out a lot of interesting commentary and reporting about online education. Regular readers at MOOC News and Reviews will recognize him as our most prolific reviewer of courses. His newest project is a weekly...

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Open Classes, Closed Circles?: Cosmopolitanism In the Age of MOOCs

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Below is my inteview with Ethan Zuckerman, the author of Rewire: Digital Cosmopolitans in the Age of Connection which makes a case for more cosmopolitanism and argues that we sometimes paradoxically use digital tools meant to open up the world instead to close ourselves off in the same old circles. He digs into some fascinating research to illustrate this tendency and gives some advice about how to counteract it. Though most of Rewire is about journalism and social media, we talked about how some of these ideas can be applied to MOOCs. You can use the player to listen to the audio from our phone interview or, if you prefer, read the transcript. -Robert      Audio of interview with Ethan Zuckerman [Download]   McGuire Hello everyone. This is Robert McGuire from MOOC News and Reviews. Today I’m talking...

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Using MOOCs For Employee Development and Organizational Learning

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Like any large organization, JLT Group spends a lot of effort on continuing education for their workforce. JLT is one of the world’s largest providers of insurance and employee benefits related advice, brokerage and associated services, and lately their Mumbai, India office, which includes over 850 employees, has started using MOOCs as part of their employee development and organizational learning. We first noticed JLT’s use of MOOCs when a group of employees enrolled en masse in Introduction To Public Speaking, taught by Matt McGarrity at the University of Washington via Coursera. It turns out that about 30 people in the Mumbai office, in a variety of positions and at a variety of experience levels, have formed a “study group” to support one another in that MOOC. Managers at the office first started working MOOCs into their organizational learning activities...

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