Thursday, August 23, 2012

Free Online Course Will Rely on Multiple Sites

From ACM TechNews:
Free Online Course Will Rely on Multiple Sites
New York Times
(08/21/12) Tamar Lewin

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology's OpenCourseWare program is launching "A Gentle Introduction to Python," a new course that will operate as a mechanical massive open online course (MOOC) and teach the computer programming language by patching together existing resources from other open-learning sites. In addition to OpenCourseWare material, the class will use instant-feedback exercises and quizzes from Codecademy, OpenStudy, and Peer 2 Peer University. "The MOOCs that have come out in the last six months are really incredible and have truly moved the needle for online learning, but they are based on very sophisticated central platforms and require significant resources to develop," says Peer 2 Peer University co-founder Philipp Schmidt. The mechanical MOOC will not be as tightly structured as the free courses currently offered by universities such as Harvard, Berkeley, Stanford, and the University of Pennsylvania. The mechanical MOOC will not offer a certificate of completion, but students can earn a badge from Codecademy to document their achievement. The creators of the mechanical MOOC hope that the new model will help increase the percentage of students who complete their courses. "Our goal is to have everyone who participates succeed," says OpenStudy co-founder Preetha Rom.

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