Sunday, February 24, 2013

MOOCs at Penn State; An Update

The following is from my colleague Mary Miles about Penn State's entry into the MOOC business.

Professor Miles serves as a Faculty Senate representative on the steering committee for Penn State's recently released MOOCS. She, along with several other Faculty Senators, have been actively involved in developing, selecting, and analyzing the current MOOC offerings, and will continue to be engaged in the evolution of MOOCS at Penn State. Her principal charge as the representative is to keep the Senate apprised and involved in this exciting project.

Dear Fellow Senators, I want to share with you some background information about Penn State's recent, exciting, announcement that we will be offering a selection of MOOCS. I have been serving on a university-wide committee that discusses, selects, and helps to develop Penn State's MOOCS. My primary role is to work as a liaison between this group and the Senate. In this capacity, I join several other Senators who have been actively involved in devising and supporting the MOOCS. I have been thoroughly impressed by the innovation and thoughtfulness with which our MOOCS have evolved. Together, our deans, faculty, staff, administrators, and instructional designers have created five very dynamic and interesting courses, reflective of our academic strengths and that reinforce our brand for outstanding online learning. 
There has been a proliferation of articles in the media regarding MOOCs and their powerful impact on the higher education landscape. Rather than simply jumping on the bandwagon, Penn State is entering this arena with a careful strategy. We have had a growing number of Penn State faculty, administrators and IT specialists monitoring this activity and thoughtfully considering Penn State's potential participation over the last six months. Specifically, we identified the following rationales or strategies regarding our engagement in this emerging educational model: 

 -- increase Penn State's visibility and global brand -- reinforce Penn State's leadership in online education

-- showcase key academic strengths and outstanding faculty, specifically to recruit undergraduate and graduate students and faculty 
-- test the Coursera course platform capability to engage large audiences of learners and apply our learning to our online and hybrid course designs 

-- evaluate capability in providing access to high demand courses 

 -- extend PSU content and expertise to internal and external audiences to address key societal issues

-- address Penn State student needs, such as college preparation or remediation 

-- meet the engagement requirement for federal agency funding 

-- increase visibility of World Campus courses and programs, and drive enrollments to specific programs 

-- consider new revenue models 
Drawing upon the expertise of the directors and faculty in our Center for Online Innovation in Learning, we will be evaluating and assessing the outcomes of our Coursera partnership and on-line courses, ensuring both their educational successes and revenue generating potential. We will also remain actively involved in analyzing new MOOCS and strategies. Please check out our five new MOOCS here, the press release here, and join me in celebrating this latest development! 
Mary Mary C. Miles, Ph.D. 
Department of English 
The Pennsylvania State University 
mcm114 AT, 
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” ~Mahatma Gandhi

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