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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Yale debuts on-demand MOOCs

"In 2014, Yale first launched Massive Open Online Courses on Coursera, an education platform that partners with the nation’s top universities to offer online classes for anyone in the world to take. Now, one year later, Yale has begun to offer its first “on-demand” MOOCs — courses which have rolling registration so students can join in at any time." according to Alice Zhou, contributing reporter.

Professor Ian Ayres, whose "A Law Student's Toolkit" is one of the Yale MOOC courses on Coursera's "on demand" cohort-based platform, says the MOOCs are "a public service to the world" and "an excellent way to let people know about our core business of teaching."

Coursera developed on-demand MOOCs in recent months to address issues of accessibility among its users. Lucas Swineford, Yale’s executive director of digital dissemination and online education, said Coursera had previously operated on a session-based model, where students who wanted to take Yale MOOCs but who had missed the registration deadlines would often have to wait until the classes finished to re-enroll for the next cycle. In addition to the new on-demand MOOCs, Swineford highlighted Coursera’s new “auto-cohort” feature offered for on-demand classes. This allows Coursera to register a new group of students about every three weeks so students can enjoy the freedom on-demand offers but also retain a classroom feel. This year’s Yale on-demand courses include “Introduction to Negotiation” by School of Management professor Barry Nalebuff, “A Law Student’s Toolkit” by Yale Law School professor Ian Ayres ’81 LAW ’86 and “The Global Financial Crisis” by SOM professor Andrew Metrick ’89 GRD ’89 and Timothy Geithner, former secretary of the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

“Our main goal is to amplify the impact of Yale’s great teachers,” Swineford said. “We want to extend the reach of some of this incredible educational material from the best Yale faculty members.”

Although Ayres, Nalebuff and Metrick have never taught online courses before, all three said they felt optimistic about what their on-demand MOOCs could achieve.

Ayres stressed the flexibility that on-demand MOOCs offer students. His course, which lasts just three weeks, aims to give a brief introduction to the terminology and concepts lawyers and legal academics use to craft their arguments. He said his on-demand class especially benefits students who are only interested in some of the topics he covers. Since students can enroll in the course whenever they want; they do not have to take the entire course to access a specific set of lectures. Ayres said he has also attempted to make his lectures more “modular,” meaning students do not have to have viewed previous lectures to understand current course material...

Photo: Richard Levin
Former University President Richard Levin is the current CEO of Coursera.

Source: Yale Daily News (blog)

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