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MOOCs and Their AfterlivesExperiments in Scale and Access in Higher Education$
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Elizabeth Losh

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226469317

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226469591.001.0001

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Can MOOCs and SPOCs Help Scale Residential Education While Maintaining High Quality?

Can MOOCs and SPOCs Help Scale Residential Education While Maintaining High Quality?

(p.37) 2 Can MOOCs and SPOCs Help Scale Residential Education While Maintaining High Quality?
MOOCs and Their Afterlives

Armando Fox

University of Chicago Press

While early discussions around the pros and cons of MOOCs have been spirited, often overlooked in such discussions are how MOOCs can enhance rather than replace classroom teaching. Experience with an early and highly-successful software engineering MOOC led to coining the term SPOC, for Small Private Online Course, to describe the more intimate experience resulting from the careful customization and adaptation of MOOC-tested materials for classroom use. The result is that the campus course on which the MOOC was based has quadrupled its enrollment while maintaining high student evaluations and has allowed teaching assistants to spend more of their time advising open-ended student projects, which are key to the course's learning objectives. Further, a growing community of classroom instructors at other universities has adapted the same MOOC materials in a wide variety of pedagogies, dispelling the myth that MOOCs threaten to impose homogeneity that de-professionalizes instructors and devalues their creativity. On the contrary, this SPOC community now regularly contributes new course materials to the MOOC and enhances existing ones, to the benefit of all. Notwithstanding, structural and cultural institutional obstacles pose some challenges to widespread emulation of this successful strategy.

Keywords:   MOOC, SPOC, online education, flipped classroom, blended learning

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