How to use MOOCs in K-12 education?
The term MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Courses. The abbreviation clearly conveys its definition,

Massive: It’s designed to enroll thousands of students.

Open: Anyone can access through Web at free of cost.

Online: Much of the interaction takes place

 online through web discussion groups with cohorts of learners, or on wikis or via video tutorials by professors.

Courses: They have concrete start and end dates, student assessments, online tests and quizzes and proctored exams. Upon completion, some may offer a “Verified Certificate” of completion or college credit.

The term MOOCs is the most familiar word to higher educational students as it is the biggest trend and a revolutionary approach of the 21st century educational system. MOOC providers namely Coursera, Udacity, EdX, etc.have helped to boost MOOC mania, with some courses boasting tens of thousands of participants. MOOCs have already made their mark on higher education, now they’re making their way to enter into K12 education. Introduction of MOOCs into K12 education results in many achievements. Let’s learn the usage of MOOCs in K12 education.

MOOCs expand K12 hybrid or blended learning:

Traditional classroom methods are no longer effective to engage students and technology alone can’t help students reach learning standards but a combination of both technological approaches and classroom methods enhances student learning. This approach is called hybrid or blended learning. As MOOCs are delivered online, K12 institutions can take advantage to introduce MOOCs as a part of blended learning program, also they can save the precious time and effort of their teachers.

Reynoldsburg (Ohio) City Schools’ eSTEM Academy has added the course “environment” to its STEM curriculum for grades 9 through 12, by combining MOOCs with live classroom instructions. “Teachers use the online content along with the problem-based learning work that is part of the academy’s goal”, says Principal Marcy Raymond.

Another real-life example is that of Madeline Schultz, eSTEM Academy Physics teacher. She used Udacity’s MOOC- Physics as a part of blended learning program in her classroom. Students appeared for MOOC- Physics twice a week and Schultz also worked individually with students who struggled with certain concepts.

MOOCs result in implementation of new courses:

It’s difficult for a K12 institution to implement every course in their curriculum. Even if they find a course very useful, they can’t implement it due to a shortage of teachers or course resources. K12 institutions can use MOOCs as an alternative to many courses such as foreign languages, advanced placement classes, etc.

MOOCs bring best lectures:

There are hundreds of institutions providing thousands of certification or non certification courses online. K12 administrators can bring lectures from best professors from around the world. No matter where a student was born or where he completes his schooling, he can have access to great professor’s tutorials in the form of MOOCs.

MOOCs provide students with pre-college courses:

Brown University has identified the fact that many Engineering freshers eventually change their specializations because they lack knowledge of what they’re getting into. Brown University has recently begun offering Exploring Engineering, which is a pre-college engineering course provided through Canvas Network, the MOOC platform on the Canvas Learning Management System. This MOOC platform for K12 students tells all about the requirements and provides information on different majors of Engineering in Brown University.

MOOCs support Personalization of Learning:

K12 institutions can provide students with numerous courses according to their individual interests. Some students are interested in learning Foreign Languages, some in Science, many others in History, Nature, Technology, etc. Traditional classrooms can’t provide them with all such resources and MOOCs are the best solution.

Teachers’ professional development and training:

Coursera, a leading MOOC developer has recently announced that  it will begin offering free professional development courses for K12 teachers. These courses focus on the skills that teachers need to instruct online courses. MOOCs offer a broad range of topics that teachers can choose from. It helps teachers to have a better idea of MOOCs before introducing them into their classroom.

The above mentioned are the few benefits of introducing MOOCs to K12 education. We’d like to know a few more uses of MOOCs in K12. Please share with us your views and your ways of using MOOCs in K12 education. The comment box awaits you.

About the Author
Author: Santosh Bhaskar KWebsite:
Devotee of Dr. Abdul Kalam. Following his path of Creating Creative Education in India. Contributing my works in "India Vision 2020". Former EdTech Blogger/Researcher at ETR India

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