2016 MOOC Update


Are there  Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) for adult basic skills learners? It depends on how you define a MOOC I suppose. Some would describe Khan Academy as a MOOC and they do offer free online basic math courses, and perhaps other basic skills courses. Perhaps USA Learns would be described by some as a MOOC for English language learners --  it's free, and its audience is massive! There's a trend, however, that suggests that there will be MOOCS designed or found useful for adult basic skills students. In a December 28, 2015 EdSurge article: MOOCS in 2015, Breaking Down the Numbers, in addition to pointing out that "there are more courses and students now than ever before," Dhawal Shah suggests that an important new MOOC audience is high school students. Judging by the top-rated course so far, it also is moving from a primarily highly technical and professional to a more general audience. The top-rated course, worldwide, is A Life of Happiness and Fulfillment (Indian School of Business & Coursera) . Not what you expected?

Have you found any MOOCs or other free or Open Education Resource (OER) online courses that are useful for your students, or for your own professional development as an adult educator? If so, let us know what those are.

Are you aware of the Peer 2 Peer University  Learning Circles project in the Chicago Public Libraries, through which librarians facilitate MOOC and other online learning courses with face-to-face study circles? The audience for these is adults who had never heard of MOOCS, often didn't even know that there were free online courses. This library-based Learning Circle blended learning model has an impressive course completion rate and, even for those who did not complete a course, almost 100% want to take another course this way. Let me know if you are interested in learning more about this project.

Meanwhile, stay tuned. I expect that as time progresses the world of MOOCS will find adult basic skills learners, especially those who want to learn English and those at the adult secondary education level.

David J. Rosen

Moderator, Technology and Learning CoP