Got a note from Larry Welkowitz, who is teaching the Canvas.net MOOC we were putting together when I left. They haven’t got through QA yet (Canvas.net has a course QA process), but Larry recorded his Hello video:
Larry is going to be excellent. You already see that here — he wants to shoot outside for an informal feel, but doesn’t want the audio overwhelmed by traffic or street noise, so he has someone shoot from inside the car outward. This is what you get when you put a person with years of vlogging and podcasting experience as the teacher in one of these courses. These are the kind of teachers we really need to attract, people with the disciplinary knowledge who also have this idiom down. (Hint: They aren’t all at Harvard and Stanford. In fact most of them are not.)
As far as the course itself, I left this course a bit of a mess — it was (and is) an experiment in designing a course backwards from a set of open materials, essentially a reverse engineering of the course followed by a difficult reintegration. Initially, it was meant to show how quickly you could put something Coursera-like together yourself from open materials (you can), but it quickly became an investigation of how to make a truly kick-ass course. It wasn’t there when I left — it looked like a garage halfway through an engine rebuild — but I left it in good hands, and I am excited to see what they do with it.
I will link to the course registration as soon as it is up.
It’s actually the potential of the course as a freely shareable piece of courseware (the OOC in MOOC) that has me most excited, but more on that later.
Final unrelated note — someone told me the other day that Coursera spends $30,000 a course, and their partners spend at least that. I was supposed to think that was high, I think. I don’t. If building a course is that cheap, why isn’t every institution in the country trying their hand at it? $60,000 is probably less than what your students are spending on Psych 101 textbooks each year…in the grand scheme of things, it’s pocket change. You should be making one of these too. Talk to me if you want to get started.