Thursday, December 6, 2012

Proposed: An Introduction to Massive Open Online Courses for Teenagers -- a Fully Guided Approach (a proposed course for high school teachers)

The images that appear in this blog are intended to benefit the general public.  They were taken from a Stanford University website.  I hope this is considered fiar educational use.  If not, I will remove the images.


Introduction to Massive Open Online Courses for Teenagers: A proposal to help students complete a MOOC with their friends and with the guidance of a face-to-face teacher.
The concept of the “Introduction to MOOCs for teenagers” has been curated by Steve McCrea
This document should be in the public domain. National Public Radio aired an interesting topic (MOOC) and the contents of the transcript are copyrighted.
Create a course in high school to support teenagers who want to take a Massive Open Online Course (Open = Free).
Introduction to MOOCs – a proposed course for teenagers”

(This post on this blog is targeted especially at Diane Grondin in Amelia Academy and Enrique Gonzalez in California)
The transcript mentioned below is from NPR ... it is about a MOOC ...  I'm very interested in seeing teenagers collaborate and get through as a group.  It would be a notch in their resume/transcript.

I can see summer camps evolving courses that would be timed to take place during a MOOC... and the goal would be to get the course completed, even if it means registering one person and having a team of three getting through it...  or have each student register but they can help each other get the answers ... but they need to submit original responses.   
The idea of the course is to get teens used to working online -- which can be VERY intimidating to teenagers who are used to the guided support of a teacher.

I'm posting this information with the following suggestion:  consider creating a course or project that is timed to take place during a MOOC -- a fully guided instruction about how to work online ...  I can imagine that each student who completes a course on will have a special feeling of pride in their accomplishment, even if they completed the course with the aid of their teammates and coaching by a face-to-face teacher.
I think MOOCs are pretty intimidating.  There is a high level of independence and initiative that most have... I've signed up for three of them and abandoned them after two or three attempts.   There are log-on issues, the need to do a LOT of reading, ... it looks lonely for most teenagers to participate in ...   but what if they could work with friends at school (during high school) and with the guidance of a high school teacher?


For Your information

Apparently this MOOC system could be a new way of showing how much a student really understands... it would be a  performance of understanding... 

APPLICATION IN HIGH SCHOOL?  Teams of students complete a MOOC course together...
I wonder if it might be a teaching tool -- get a class of 24 students, put them in groups of 3 or 4 and let each group submit answers and attend the course as a group (four people submitting answers together).

"I survived a MOOC" could be the tshirt at the end of the class.   

the experience would be a practice session.  Many students would never complete another MOOC, but all would have part of the experience.  

Part of the difficulty of participating in a MOOC is the commitment of time -- you don't complete the course simply by listening to lectures.  You have to do independent work, study, interactive quizzes online...  I've signed up for a MOOC but abandoned it because the time commitment was too much.   But how cool would it have been to complete a MOOC with a team of colleagues, who could tell me what one of the lecturers meant or who could bring in a reading reference that I had not done.   

To prepare students for university and independent online work, I predict that high schools will start courses that involve partners working to complete the MOOC together, not to earn a certificate, but to learn collaboration and find out what it takes to be successful in online study.

At language schools that are preparing students for entry into a university, an extended class exercise might be enrolling pairs of students in a MOOC and encouraging the students to work together to complete the online assignments... not for a certificate but for the experience of the online environment.


Outline of a unit
Title: Introduction to MOOCs
Also known as “I survived a MOOC” or “I completed a MOOC”
Students would get a T-Shirt at the end of the course

  1. time at school and at home to log into the MOOC
  2. Students can work in teams to find the answers to the MOOC questions
  3. Enrollment can be individual. If a student decides not to enroll (some students might not want to be online daily), then that student can work with a partner and get a t-shirt “I helped my friend survive a MOOC”
GOAL: Students will get first-hand knowledge of what a college-level course is like online without having to endure many of the hardships that many students experience in isolated, solitary, online courses ...
The entire course might be downloaded and stored as videos for later use by high school students. The materials could be edited to give a preview to the “I completed a MOOC” course.

the full transcript can be found at 

courses at Stanford can be found at

The proposal can be found at 

If you are a principal of a high school and you would like a math teacher who could provide virtual, Skype support of a team of students who want to complete a MOOC, please contact me.  I have time available because I'm not fully employed (several high school principals have said that they can't employ me because I will need a leave of absence of 4 weeks in March 2013 to visit schools in New Zealand and a two-week LOA to give a workshop at a university on a long island in the Caribbean).

I am interested in putting this idea to work:  Giving teenagers the opportunity to complete a MOOC (typically a 7-week program) with extraordinary teaching and tutoring support.  This guidance can be a supplement to the teaching that your current math teacher is giving.   To discuss this idea, please write to

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