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  • Learn traditional healing methods through a MOOC
    Curanderismo is an art of traditional healing in some parts of U.S. Though it was offered as a summer class in a university will be available for everyone as a MOOC course in the Coursera platform late in August 2014. The course would have traditional healers explaining their work. Read more...
  • Qualt - A new mobile MOOC platform for professionals
    Qualt is the first mobile MOOC platform to deliver free access to recognized training for job seekers. The courses on this platform is based on courses developed by the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT), Google, the Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing (IDM) and other professional bodies. Read more...
  • Online learning expands ten fold in Indonesia
    Online education is rapidly changing into a major trend in Indonesia. Within the past 2 years there have been countless investments in web-based learning, deriving from its prominent universities and colleges. They have college ranking sites and search engines to assist learners to choose the most suitable online programs. Read more...
  • Want to negotiate in teams? Take this MOOC
    "Psychology of Negotiations" is a MOOC by a German university in which the learners will conduct negotiations in teams and deal with the topic of Commons. It is a course in English, free of charge, without any prerequisites and open to anyone around the world. Successful learners may get a certificate for a nominal fee of EUR 20 with 5 Credit Points. Read more...

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  • Interview with Dr. Raj Raghunathan


    Dr. Rajagopal Raghunathan is the author of one the world’s most popular online courses, a MOOC offered by Coursera entitled ‘A Life of Happiness and Fulfillment’. He is Professor of Marketing at the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas. WUC interviewed him in the midst of his world tour sharing his experiences on how to develop and deliver successful educational content online.

    1. What are the major limitations of the current education system in preparing youth for life in the 21st century?

    Education systems vary by country and culture of course—e.g., the system in Germany, Netherlands and some other European countries allow for students to self select into “professional” vs. “skilled labor” tracks during high school. However, by and large, most education systems fail us by not providing an overarching framework for understanding why being educated is useful. I would imagine that most people would agree that education is useful because it helps enhance everyone’s well-being, and I think this overarching goal needs to be made explicit from Day 1 and reaffirmed through out one’s education. Courses on the topic of "well-being” need to find a way into the curriculum and should play a very central role.

    2. Is it possible to shift from a subject centered to person/student centered learning?

    Yes, we currently have the technology to be able to do so. Online platforms can more easily enable students to delve deeper into a particular topic of interest.

    3. What are the strategies to shift from passive to active learning?

    Students differ from one another in how they learn. Some students learn well by listening, others by reading, and most learn best by actually doing—or teaching to someone else. The online medium provides greater opportunities for active learning. For example, students could be asked to videotape the various things that they did for an assignment and upload it on to the course website. Or, they could be asked to teach a particular topic to someone who is not knowledgeable about that topic. And, of course, they could be periodically tested through “in video quizzes”; findings show that such quick tests can enhance learner-engagement and learning.

    4. What are the advantages of the online classes? What are your suggestions for creating an effective course?

    The online medium offers several significant advantages over the offline (face-to-face) medium. One such advantage is efficiency. You can convey more information per unit of time and add other elements like images and music that enhance learning. It’s easier to integrate quick assessments in online contexts. You can bring in guest speakers and subject matter experts more easily in online videos. It’s more expensive and effortful to do it in face-to-face contexts.
    That said, there are some key disadvantages of the online medium. It can be frustrating if the internet connection is bad. It also does not as easily allow for exchanges between learners. I think it is very important to have a few face-to-face meetings to complement the online content.
    The key element that will make an online course a success is that it needs to offer information in smaller bits than is typically done face-to-face. Given that the online medium has more reach and therefore attracts students from a more diverse set of backgrounds, the message needs to be communicated differently—more directly and using simpler language.

  • Envisioning the era of comprehension
    Ranjani Ravi

    Jargon is a serious academic problem, a growing problem that takes pride in incomprehensibility.

    Jargon is a necessary step in the evolution of scientific language. But it runs the risk of becoming too rigid and gibberish that the very purpose of defining things to make them comprehensible is lost.

    A recent Chronicle article reports that

    Last fall (Naomi Wolf and Sacha Kopp) started a program at Stony Brook University, a State University of New York campus, called "The Public Intellectual." In a four-session workshop, they "train faculty members and graduate students (and even undergraduates) in the skills of … writing and speaking about their work, on mass global platforms."

    This is a great initiative and may offer us the hope of comprehending the incomprehensible!

    But the focus should on understanding and learning for their own sake, not to become intellectuals. It should be on learning for the sake of knowledge.

    Courses with such a motive will work.