Current issue table of contentsBy M. Mitchell Waldrop. Massive open online courses are transforming higher education — and providing fodder for scientific research. When campus president Wallace Loh walked into Juan Uriagereka's office last August, he got right to the point. “We need courses for this thing — yesterday!”
Uriagereka, associate provost for faculty affairs at the University of Maryland in College Park, knew exactly what his boss meant. Campus administrators around the world had been buzzing for months about massive open online courses, or MOOCs: Internet-based teaching programmes designed to handle thousands of students simultaneously, in part using the tactics of social-networking websites. To supplement video lectures, much of the learning comes from online comments, questions and discussions. Participants even mark one another's tests. Read more...