Educators have turned television shows into massive open online courses (MOOCs), so it should come as no surprise that comic books would find their place in the MOOC world. In fact, a Ball State University instructor has already taught the MOOC Gender Through Comic Books, with another, Social Issues Through Comic Books, set to begin March 10 on the Canvas Network.
The new course will use comic books, lectures, and live interviews with academics and comic-book authors to cover topics such as addiction, immigration, privacy, and sex. Students will “learn about social issues and how they are presented in comic books and the impact that those books have had on the issues whether large or small scale,” according to the course description.
Christina Blanch uses comic books in MOOCs to show how teachers can incorporate them into their own classes. She started using comic books in courses she taught at Ball State and found they engaged all students.
“It got them actually reading the academic books because they wanted to do well on the assignment and understand it,” Blanch told Campus Technology. “It also created this kind of equality in the classroom, where everybody was reading the same thing and they started talking about it inside the class and outside the class and in other classes.”
Blanch had 7,200 students enrolled in her first MOOC, with nearly 3,000 responding to a postcourse survey. She used that survey to make changes for the second class, such as scheduling the MOOC from March through August to allow students time to keep up, instead of the six-week timeline of the first course.
“Every week we had a new unit and they just didn’t have enough time,” she said. “A week just wasn’t enough for the amount of material because it’s not just reading one or two things; there are articles, quizzes, live interviews, discussions. There are a lot of components to it, so people got behind and felt like they couldn’t catch up.”