Yale is partnering with Coursera, an educational technology platform, to offer massive open online courses (MOOCs) for anyone to take, for free. Coursera’s platform differs from earlier open education initiative such as Open Yale Courses in several significant respects:
- Coursera requires all learners to register for the site and enroll in courses;
- Coursera is interactive, and assessment is at the heart of the learning experience;
- Coursera provides student assessment through machine-graded quizzes and peer-reviewed writing assignments;
- although some longer lectures are posted (as in OYC), the typical course on Coursera takes the subject matter covered in a fifty-minute lecture and breaks it into shorter units, and the platform allows the instructor to insert quiz questions at any point in the video segment; and
- all students start the course online at the same time and have weekly homework and assignments that must be posted by certain deadlines.
Most importantly, the Coursera’s technology invites the professor to re-imagine how the course materials can be brought to life for the students in new ways and in new forms of community. In other words, faculty have more flexibility than with the OYC platforms to structure their online courses and assessments.
Diana Kleiner’s Roman Architecture