More than 230,000 students from more than 180 countries have enrolled in massive open online classes, known as MOOCs, offered by UNC since July 2013.
People across the globe continue to take advantage of world-class professors by enrolling in the classes, but UNC professors teaching the massive classes have also benefited.
After teaching MOOCs as large as 40,000 students, economics professor Buck Goldstein, said he learned how to facilitate and communicate with his large lectures better.
“Probably the biggest lesson of this semester has been that we can use techniques from the MOOC to make on campus class better,” he said.
In Goldstein’s MOOC, “What’s Your Big Idea?” students communicated and discussed the material through 900 forums online. Goldstein said he plans to use forums in his Introduction to Entrepreneurship course with about 320 students enrolled to foster communication and to help students help each other.
Rob Bruce, director of the Friday Center, said MOOCs are an educational experiment and give professors the ability to reach students across the world.
“The primary reason we became involved is to see what we can learn and also to see how these courses, when we create them, can be used in a face-to-face classroom as well,” he said.
Since the inception of MOOCs at UNC, 7 courses have been offered through Coursera. Each course, free and available to anyone, lasts about six weeks with prerecorded lectures, forums for participation and quizzes.
A majority of people enrolled in MOOCs live outside of the U.S.