Here’s a useful and detailed introduction to Coursera moocs from a homeschooling mom incorporating courses in her “home curricula.” No higher ed business models, politics of disruptive change and academic labor, credit discussions, battling theories of pedagogy or other territorial pissing matches. Just a well described analysis and how to example. US college students are not the only users, not by a long shot. I’ve also come across references to K-12 teachers using them for Professional Development and hope to learn (and share) more about that.

Quarks and Quirks

We’ve wading into new territory this semester. We’re hardly alone. With over 75,000 learners from around the globe and spanning many decades, my younger son is exploring connections in world history. My older is finishing a science fiction and fantasy literature course while starting a class in beginning Python programming. We’ve sampled just a touch of what this mode of learning offers. At this writing, Coursera lists 198 MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), ranging from neuroscience to economics to physics. The preponderance of courses are in mathematics, computers, and science, with a smattering of business and liberal arts offerings making up the rest. All are free and, as the name suggests, all have massive attendance.

Unlike many previous free offerings from universities, these aren’t self-paced, self- evaluated classes. These run at the pace of a college course, albeit generally shorter. Coursera’s offerings run from three to twelve weeks in length…

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