Use MOOCs to Spur Innovative Classroom Redesign

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John Workman

John Workman, PhD

May 21, 2014

The debate about the viability and impact of MOOCs rages on. But online courses and the traditional classroom share a common drawback—students play a largely passive role. Viewing video-taped lectures, reading posted content, and taking quizzes online is hardly different from the standard classroom experience, and no pedagogical value is created from the addition of technology.

However, MOOCs have proven beneficial in identifying the shortcomings of the traditional classroom, capturing information on how students learn, and generating ideas for improvement. A number of institutions are responding to the insight gleaned from MOOCs and redesigning courses based on learning-outcomes data and developing content and interactions carefully calibrated to student needs. These courses will increasingly be built around adaptive learning assessment and competency demonstration rather than traditional syllabi.