The sage on the stage—a professor lecturing to an auditorium full of students—is what massive open online courses (MOOCs) were trying to get away from. Unfortunately, it’s also proven to be an effective way for MOOCs to deliver information on a large scale.
NovoEd, a new MOOC provider launched last April, is trying to change that with courses focused on student participation and collaboration, according to a report in Campus Technology.
“The problem right now with most MOOCs out there is that they are focusing on the most boring part of education: the talking head and multiple-choice questions,” said Amin Saberi, an associate professor of engineering at Stanford and founder of NovoEd. “Education is not the content; it’s what you take with you when you forget the content.”
The company has developed a platform that uses social media to encourage student interaction and foster collaboration. It also created algorithms to organize students into groups.
NovoEd offers almost 30 courses ranging from everyday mathematics to anatomy, but is mainly focused on entrepreneurship through a partnership with Babson Global. Saberi told Bloomberg BusinessWeek in August that nearly 350,000 students had studied entrepreneurship using the platform, with completion rates as high as 47%. Additionally, those student teams launched more than 7,000 new businesses.
“MOOCs will destroy geographical boundaries,” said Anne Trumbore, senior course designer for NovoEd. “People who are passionately interested in a topic but spread out across the world will finally be able to collaborate in a real way and form communities around their interests.”