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Workshopping Innovation: U-M edX Workshop Recap

Onawa Gardiner, Marketing Specialist

Three weeks ago, with over a hundred participants, we explored the world of MOOCs and the past, present and future of academic innovation at the U-M edX Workshop.

Faculty panelists

Our workshop kicked off with a panel discussion featuring faculty who have partnered with DEI to create MOOCs.

  • Dr. Elizabeth Du, M.D., Clinical Assistant Professor
  • Dr. Krishna Garikipati, Professor, Departments of Mechanical Engineering and Mathematics
  • Dr. Gautam Kaul, Fred M. Taylor Professor of Business Administration, Professor of Finance
  • Dr. Charles Severance, Clinical Associate Professor in Information
  • Dr. Colleen van Lent, Lecturer IV in Information
  • Dr. Margaret Wooldridge, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, Departments of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

As a part of the MOOC Experiences, Opportunities and Insights Panel, the faculty partners provided advice based on their experiences creating and teaching MOOCs. “Ignore the potentially massive numbers of learners in the MOOC and, instead, focus on creating a great class,” counseled Dr. Colleen van Lent. The panelists also all discussed the rewards of teaching a MOOC in terms of the impact on residential teaching. According to Dr. Gautam Kaul, the residential and MOOC teaching experiences have a symbiotic relationship. “I’m innovating on campus and providing more specialization in MOOCs through each iteration,” said Dr. Kaul. The focus on iteration in the MOOC process and its effect came across through several points of the panel discussion. Dr. Charles Severance pointed out that “With MOOCs you can deepen the course with each iteration and reach highly motivated students.” Additionally, the panelists discussed designing a MOOC for a wide range of learners as well as ways to enhance teaching styles in order to meet the diverse preferences of a global audience.

Room of attendees discussing

The MOOC Experiences, Opportunities and Insights Panel session was followed by the Xtroardinary MOOCs talk, led by our edX partners. At this session, attendees had the opportunity to hear directly from edX regarding various innovations and trends in the MOOC space. edX highlighted how learners seek out specific courses to develop skillsets to further their educations and careers, and how edX provides certificate programs that enable this specific skill-based learning, such as the first three MichiganX XSeries.This informative session was followed by talks and small group discussions related to MOOC design, the MOOC student experience and then a reception for attendees and presenters alike to exchange ideas in an open format.

Woman presenting

On the second day of the workshop, attendees gained even deeper insight into MOOCs with a session led by Nina Huntemann, Director of Academics and Research at edX and Christopher Brooks, Director of Learning Analytics and Research at DEI, that delved into research focused on knowledge acquisition, the changing faces of MOOC learners and MOOC programming. Additionally, Lldi Morris, Manager for Training and Partner Enabling at edX and Stacey Moyer, Partner Manager at edX, led a hands-on training for those interested in a thorough examination of the edX platform. For both of these available tracks, edX provided expertise that enabled the workshop attendees to discover the world of MOOCs and gain an understanding of the edX presentation through this hands-on experience.

Thank you to all who participated in the U-M edX Workshop. We are excited to continue exploring and experimenting in the MOOC space as we strengthen our commitment to making the resources of the University available to the broadest range of learners, advancing the vision of equitable and advanced education for all. By coming together to discover and learn more about the MOOC space, we are fostering an environment for further collaborative, academic innovations.  We invite you to continue moving forward with us by reviewing our Resources portal, our Learning with U-M Portal and/or connecting with our team. We look forward to further engagement with workshop participants through future opportunities for events and initiative collaborations.

To view the highlighted talks from the workshop:

Xtroardinary MOOCs: A Discussion with edX

Xpanding Our Knowledge Through MOOC Research


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