"Academia and the MOOC" is itself a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) although we will be capping enrollment at a maximum of 2000 participants. (So, it is more of a Big Open Online Course.)
MOOCs are a huge topic in academia right now, but many schools are still wondering if they should be offering them or how they will deal with this alternative to their own offerings.
Can a course where the participants and the course materials are distributed across the web and the courses are "open" and offered at no cost to a very large number of participants who do not receive institutional credit be a worthwhile venture for a college?
The purpose of this particular MOOC is to gather a large group of people from academia who have an interest in this movement and give them information about MOOCs to get them thinking and discussing their impact on education.
This course will begin with some background in the history and development of MOOCs. Then, we will examine MOOCs from the perspectives of five academic roles (teacher, designer, support, administration and student) and we will critique some case studies of successful (and "failed") courses that have been offered. Throughout the course, we will consider how MOOCs might impact those roles and an institution in the near future.
I am referring to this offering as a "course" because it's a term we all understand, but I really believe this is not a course. If you associate courses with textbooks, assignments, grades, assessment, credits and all that comes with those things, then it is not a course because none of those elements exist in this experience. It might be better to think of the "C" in this MOOC as a Conversation, Community or Colloquium. Discussion, as with most online courses, will be at the heart of the experience.
The course is set to launch April 15, 2013 and will run for 4 weeks. It is open and free to anyone interested in this topic.