Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Meetups + MOOCs: Promoting Active Learning and Communities of Practice

Ramón Talavera Franco
edX Boston Community meetups promote active learning and communities of practice since 2014. edX is a Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) provider founded as a non-profit organization by MIT and Harvard. MOOCs are online university-level courses distributed free of charge through edX platform. Due to MOOCs asynchronous attribute students’ participation is limited to online discussion forums. However, the need to connect students face-to-face encouraged edX to use meetup.com to create local discussion groups where students share experiences and learn from each other.

Since MOOC users interests vary, edX administrators are experimenting with different meetup formats that cover those interests. The first format consists in MOOC study groups. Attendants are invited to participate in study groups integrated according to a MOOC subject-matter (computer science, nutrition, biology, entrepreneurship, etc.). Participants join their corresponding MOOC study group and start a conversation by introducing themselves or by exchanging concerns about the MOOC taken. One benefit of these study groups is the possibility to engage in active learning by discussing the topic and learning from the experience of others.