Teach a MOOC…what, are you crazy?

Maria H. Anderson, Ph.D.
Director of Learning & Research, Instructure

Canvas Network: http://canvas.net
Many of us have experience with SPOCs = Small Private Online Courses
Recommendations: 2-4 hrs/wk, 3-6 weeks

Considerations for Teaching MOOCs

– Assessments
– Resources provided
– Required materials
– Length
– Access to resources


Social Media MOOC – http://learn.canvas.net/courses/1
Request student access to SoMe – http://bit.ly/sloancmooc

Recommendations from Maria

Resources Provided

  • Wherever possible, provide resources that are freely accessible in most of the world
  • Consider your role to be the curator of the millions of resources on the Internet


  • The assessments should provide another opportunity for learning (ex: design a quiz that is designed for students to fail unless they read the readings, then let students go back and take quiz again after failing first time and then completing the readings)


  • The activities should provide a chance to apply what you’re learning in the real world
  • Activities should provide a way for students to share and delight in what they are learning


  • Discussions provide a place to truly leverage the diversity and life experiences of your participants.
  • Discussions don’t have to be required unless the purpose of participating will be valuable to every student individually

Length of Course

  • MOOC students want to spend fewer hours per week and commit to less weeks
  • This doesn’t mean you teach a less rigorous version of the same course. It means you teach a different course. It might mean you teach three courses instead of one.

My Takeaways

  • MOOCs (massive open online courses) are fundamentally different from SPOCs (specialized private online courses)
  • student-created content are some of the most interesting and valuable components of MOOCs
  • MOOCs can be great venue for experimenting with new learning opportunities for students
  • MOOCs can be considered “service to the community” and are a great way to showcase the institution
  • motivation for offering MOOCs still must be identified
  • “enroll has become the new like button”
  • ongoing availability adds a unique dimension