Welcome to The CITE -- a blog on Course materials, Innovation, and Technology in Education, created by Mark Nelson and now part of the Publications Department of the National Association of College Stores. CITE is a pun with multiple meanings - referring to cite as in citation, something people reference; site as in location, website, or place people go to; and sight as in foresight or looking ahead to what is coming. Comments, discussion, feedback and ideas are welcome.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

TV Show Helps MOOC Hook New Students

The FX television series The Strain is about a city under attack from a mysterious epidemic and a devastating cyber-virus attack. It’s also a great way to teach virus and parasite biology, cybersecurity, and epidemiological modeling.

The software firm Instructure is betting on it by partnering with the video learning company Zaption to create a massive open online course (MOOC) based on the real-world science presented in the show.

“We expect many participants in The Strain MOOC will have never taken an online course before,” Melissa Loble, vice president of partners and programs at Instructure, told eCampus News. “But because of this partnership with Zaption, they will be able to interact with highly engaging video-based content that will enrich the learning experience.”

The MOOC designers are working with the University of California, Irvine (UCI), on content for each unit. That content will be updated weekly with new lecture videos, quizzes, a discussion forum, additional readings, and extra videos based on UCI research.

Students will earn digital badges for each strain completed and have the option of doing a final multimedia project to showcase their learning. Instructors will also be able to monitor discussions to answer questions.

“The entertainment piece is the hook, but we hope people will walk away with a much deeper understanding,” said Chris Walsh, CEO of Zaption. 

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