Course Content

The majority of content was created from scratch. Some topics were re-purposed from a previous course, Architecting Software for the Cloud (2014), designed by Prof. Prabhakar.

The topics of the MoM are summarized as follows:

Origins of a MOOC (Week 1)

  • Taxonomy
  • Rationale/Interest
  • Predecessors

Architecture of a MOOC (Week 2)

  • Best Practices
  • Analytics
  • Learner and instructor interaction
  • Certification
  • Assessment

Costs to run a MOOC (Week 3)

  • Hardware and Hosting
  • Platform design (Google Course Builder; MITx)
  • Quality
  • Creating video lectures
  • International examples (India – NPTEL, Google,  Microsoft; US – MIT; UK – FutureLearn)

Variations in MOOCs (Week 4)

  • Mainstream MOOC providers
  • MOOCs in the developing world
  • Pedagogical and practical considerations

Running a MOOC (Week 5)

  • Planning a MOOC
  • Managing a MOOC
  • Running a MOOC

Evaluator Comments

The coverage of content topics was deemed to be well-sequenced. Beginning with the origins and types of MOOCs followed by common practices and instructional design provides a foundation before being exposed to more technical aspects. One suggestion would be to move Week 4 content to Week 2. This seems more logical in terms of providing a general overview of the range of MOOCs which could then be used to look at best practices, assessments, etc.

Overall, the content catered to backgrounds in sustainable development, programming/technical requirements and online learning pedagogy. As such the array of topics would seem appealing to an eclectic group of participants which is often characteristic of enrolment in a MOOC. This also reflects the complexity of MOOCs relative to type, implementation and design.

The topics on analytics and pedagogical techniques such as the Flipped Classroom were timely and beneficial. Expansion of analytics and/or research in general on learner outcomes of a MOOC is recommended. As part of this report on the MoM course, a simple statistical analysis of patterns of postings by participants revealed novel findings. Demonstrating the merits of analytics in more detail would provide a good example of how to infuse quality assurance into the design of a MOOC. Other considerations for added content include design and selection of topics/content and marketing of MOOCs.

There was also a good balance between audio and visual presentation of content. As will be noted in a following subsection on course platform (in this Section II), video lectures provided visual representations of ideas or concepts and there were PowerPoint slides and instructor transcripts available for download for most video lectures.

The course content also benefited from a range of presenters, including a handful of guest speakers. Well known figures in the field of MOOCs agreed to devote some of their time and included Sir John Daniel (former President of COL) and Prof. Sanjay Sarma (Director for MITx).


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