MOOCs must be reimagined as “born-digital” education

August 27, 2014

An article in Wired examines the past and future of massive open online courses (MOOCs). The piece calls for the creation of alternatives to standard MOOCs, which the author says frequently err too far on the side of being repackaged lectures. The article suggests that new models of online pedagogy must be created with a consideration of what education would look like if it had been “born-digital.” The article holds up the example of Arizona State University professor Ariel Anbar's “integrative curriculum,” which is organized around a single question: “are we alone in the universe?” His course, "Habitable Worlds," is designed for non-STEM students completing a required science credit. It includes tailored learning paths that allow students to receive instant feedback on their progress. Anbar took advantage of an existing authoring tool called Smart Sparrow, which is designed to facilitate the work of professors and instructional designers who want to create courses without spending countless hours coding. The course has now reached 1,500 students and has seen significant reductions in student failure rates. Wired