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News Roundup — Continuing Ed MOOCs for Teachers, XPU College Readiness MOOC

Welcome. Here’s your roundup of MOOC News for May 5, 2013.

The biggest development this week that will impact students is probably the announcement of new courses on Coursera that particularly focus on continuing education MOOCs for teachers. On the face of it, the wave of new courses look like previous rollouts. In the mix are some of the same institutions and some new ones like the American Museum of Natural History. And they’re still not-for-credit.chingateague

But with these partnerships, Coursera seems to be aiming for a very lucrative market — teachers whose contracts or career advancement opportunities depend on earning “continuing ed” credits. Many teachers in the U.S. spend their evenings, weekends and summers in higher ed programs accumulating the credits required to move up salary schedules or to qualify for administrative positions. And many of them already do this in distance learning environments. At the end of this summer, a lot of teachers around the country are going to be approaching their district offices with MOOC certificates in hand to argue that they should be counted for credit.

Our overlooked MOOC of the week is Experience U (a.k.a. XPU), put on by faculty at University of Prince Edward Island in Canada. It’s a five-week project designed to “answer the many, many questions college students have in preparing themselves for the university experience,” such as “What’s a syllabus?” and “How do I communicate with my professor?” Parents and teachers are also encouraged to participate or direct their graduating seniors there. It’s all run on a Facebook group, and materials include videos and facilitated discussion. One of the organizers, Dave Cormier, describes it as a (maybe M)OOC. I’m not sure what his hesitation is, but if it’s not quite a MOOC, he would know, given that he’s credited with coining the term. Full press release about it here.

We’re noticing a lot of “college readiness” discussion in MOOC world. Another overlooked class worth looking at is Introductory Algebra Review from Wake Tech Community College in North Carolina on Udacity. The intent of the class is to help with math placement tests for students about to enter college. They’re doing something similar to the developmental math MOOC at University of Wisconsin – La Crosse that we featured earlier this week. And look later this week for an interview we’ll have with the Miami University Global Academy, which is using MOOCs for AP and SAT subject test prep.

Did you hear about the Vampire Fictions MOOC at Edge Hill University in England? Now your parents won’t be able to say, “I’m paying tuition for what?”

I’m going to finish up this week by coloring outside the lines a little by mentioning a MOOC “commentary.” There’s lots of it out there worth reading, but I usually want to use this space to focus on real developments that really matter to students. However, one piece last week in the commentary category stood out for me. Donald Clark’s blog Plan B identifies 10 different target audiences for MOOCs in a way that I think is especially useful. It’s not the only time he’s broken things down in a way that helpfully cuts through the chatter, either.

Enjoy it, but come right back. We have some great pieces coming up this week, including an interview with Kio Stark, author of Don’t Go Back to School.

And, as always, if you have some MOOC News that didn’t get enough Twitter chatter, make sure we know about it. In the meantime, to get this news roundup in your email box, be sure to sign up for our newsletter.

Robert McGuire (51 Posts)

I’ve been a graduate student in English literature, a newspaper and magazine reporter, an ESL teacher at home and abroad, a marketing consultant and a grants and outcomes measurement specialist in nonprofits. Currently, I provide higher education MOOC consulting services and teach writing at a local university, and my “other job” is volunteering for several local nonprofit organizations. I started this project because I believe MOOCs are going to be an important – not to mention fascinating – social development, and I want to ensure that students and teachers could participate in lively critical dialogue about it. You can find me on G+.


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