Archive for Thursday, August 28, 2014

K-State offers its first MOOC; KU not interested

August 28, 2014


Kansas State University announced Thursday that it is joining the flurry of schools offering “Massive Open Online Courses” that are broadening access to higher education.

The MOOCs allow tens of thousands of students to take a class at the same time, but the rate of students dropping out of the generally free, digital courses hovers around 90 percent. Some experts say MOOCs can’t replace traditional classroom learning, especially for struggling students who need more face-to-face interaction and mentoring to succeed.

Kansas University has no MOOCs and isn’t interested in them.

“At KU, our educational emphasis is on student learning and student academic success, and MOOCs have not been shown to be effective avenues for student learning and generally don’t lead to degree attainment,” said Errin Barcomb-Peterson, director of news and media relations.

The Kansas State Global Campus’ first MOOC, titled “Health and Wellness 101: Everyday Small Changes,” will cover a wide range of topics, including meal planning, healthy cooking, body image, physical activity, substance abuse and stress management.

Linda Yarrow, an assistant professor of human nutrition who led the development team for the course and will teach its first cycle this fall, said that the class format encourages instructors to be creative and innovative. The course will feature videos and interactive games. Students will be able to communicate through message boards and participate in weekly real-time chats with a registered dietitian about how they can apply what they are learning to their own lives.

“MOOCs can reach people anywhere around the world in an efficient and asynchronous manner, making them ideal for outreach education in ways the traditional classroom can’t achieve,” Yarrow said.

The first cycle of the course will be taught Oct. 6 to Nov. 15, with content remaining open to students until Dec. 12.

Yarrow said the course isn’t for college credit, but she saw it as a way to disseminate information that will help people and possibly get them interested in other program options at K-State.


Philipp Wannemaker 3 years, 9 months ago

Saw MOOC, immediately thought Moo Cow, seemed appropriate. Online courses are really useless. Who knows who is taking them and who is really doing the work? Google is a great search engine, why does anyone taking an online course have to do anything, simply google necessary answers.

James Howlette 3 years, 9 months ago

Online courses are not useless. Nor are they hotbeds for cheaters any more than face to face courses. Where the kids today bring their laptops and have Google. The issue here is the MOOC, which are usually classes that nobody gets college credit for taking.

Lawrence Morgan 3 years, 9 months ago

I agree completely with Roger Tarbutton. We are going to use free MOOCs in West Africa for a pilot course, in which the students and teacher use these courses to boost and expand their own knowledge.

KUs response is ridiculous. They are way behind the times. The Chancellor should go - be fired if necessary - to find a replacement of a very different sort - take, for example, the President of Arizona State University, Michael M. Crow. ASU now offers over 70 courses online, and it is in large part the result of Michael Crow's vision.

Errin Barcomb-Peterson, director of news and media relations, should also be fired, and replacements be hired which reflect the 21st century, not just the jobs and high pay of many professors - which makes the amount the students pay even greater. Students can't continue borrowing like this. I would not be surprised if half the professors would be made useless if MOOCs were fully operable in each university - and especially, KU.

KU is way behind the times.

Robert Rauktis 3 years, 8 months ago

"not just the jobs and high pay of many professors " <<< You're confused with COACHES.

Joe Blackford II 3 years, 8 months ago

So what did Errin Barcomb-Peterson, KU director of news and media relations, say about MOOCs last month?

"Barcomb-Peterson . . . served as director of news and editorial services at Kansas State University."

I'd bet Barcomb-Peterson has a record of saying the NBAF will be SAFE, in spite of recent CDC mishaps.

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