Keith Devlin Blogs His MOOC (Massively Open Online Course)
Keith Devlin, Stanford professor and NPR “Math Guy,” is developing his first MOOC: massively open online course. He’s blogging about as he goes, and reports:
“All my Stanford colleagues who’ve taught MOOCs reported how much time it takes to create such a course, no matter how long you have been teaching at university level. Knowing that you won’t be in the same room as the students, where there is ongoing interaction and constant, instant feedback, means that the entire course has to be planned down to the finest detail, before the first day. In addition to the usual course planning, lectures have to be recorded, written materials prepared, and interactive quizzes constructed well in advance, with the knowledge that for some students, you may be their only connection to the material.”
Devlin’s course is “Introduction to Mathematical Thinking,” and he has some trepidation about teaching this subject online:
“An obvious problem is that learning to think like a mathematician is not something that can be achieved by instruction. In that respect, the learning process is similar to learning to ride a bicycle. There is no avoiding a lengthy and often painful process of trying and failing (i.e., falling) until, one day everything drops into place and you find you can ride. At that point, you wonder why it took you so long. Instruction helps, though only in retrospect can you see how. During the learning period, riding seemed impossible —something others could miraculously do but that you were not capable of.”
Devlin plans to keep blogging about his MOOC as it gets off the ground—will be interesting to see how it unfolds. Read more here.