My Reflections on MOOC at Halfway Point Of Course

By Lillian Williams

The captivating video above features global health expert Hans Rosling. We’ll get to his relevance for this posting in a moment.

If you follow this blog, you know that I’m taking a 10-week public speaking MOOC taught by Matt McGarrity, a senior lecturer at the University of Washington.

Coming up on week six, I want to share my perceptions about the course so far.

MOOCs, of course, are those massive open online courses which are free of charge, and open to anyone around the globe with an Internet connection. Though most MOOCs do not offer college credit, they do offer valuable information and a space for learning.

As mentioned in an earlier post, I am a college teacher interested in the design of MOOC courses, as well as teaching and learning issues. Also, I believe that teachers in traditional, face-to-face courses can learn from those who teach online courses, and vice versa.

In that video, the speaker, Rosling, delivers an entertaining and informative talk about issues of global energy use. Rosling’s presentation is one of the excellent sample speeches utilized in this online course for teaching/learning purposes. His talk captures your attention from the first moment. Click above to hear the speech.

Such speech examples underscore essential points of the course lectures. The instructor asks students to analyze the speeches, but he also walks students though his critiques of sample speeches, point by point. From a teaching/learning standpoint, here are other elements that contribute to the effectiveness of this course:

1. The lectures are well-organized. In each lecture segment, for example, McGarrity begins by clearly explaining how and why that particular lecture will help to meet course goals. McGarrity links new ideas to those explained in previous lectures. In other words, the instructor makes it easy for students to mentally add and organize new information.

2. McGarrity repeats key points within his lectures. This is a fine point, and an important one. One of the biggest mistakes made by new teachers is their reluctance to repeat main points during presentations. McGarrity, a seasoned teacher, is careful to repeat— and then go around again—in an effort to emphasize crucial issues. He’s not a sook when it comes to repetition.

3. McGarrity shares his evaluation rubrics with students. Students use these carefully-crafted evaluation rubrics to analyze speeches. For example, the rubric for impromptu speeches asks students to examine speech arrangement issues. Were transitions between main points effective? Was the internal structure clear and effective? Did the speaker provide a sense of closure?

These are but a few reflections at mid-point of this course. If time permits, I will follow with another post about this course. And just to be clear, I do not know the instructor, Matt McGarrity. Never met him. Never heard about him before this course.

Meanwhile, find a comprehensive list of upcoming MOOCs here. Find a list of other MOOC and e-learning resources here. Among the largest MOOC providers are Coursera, edX, and Udacity.

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Video | This entry was posted in digital education, digital media, e-learning courses, e-learning resources, elearning courses, elearning resources, free e-learning course, free elearning courses, MOOC, online courses, online teaching and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to My Reflections on MOOC at Halfway Point Of Course

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