MOOCs for High School

KimJonesimageBy Kim Jones, CEO, Curriki

MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) are one major result of the Open Educational Resource (OER) movement. They have been around a few years, but really took off with major visibility and growth last year. The best known MOOC organizations are edX, Coursera, and Udacity.

These are all organizations founded by universities or growing out of universities, and they are focused on undergraduate-level courses.

What about extending MOOCs to the high school level? A CalTech MOOC on machine learning, targeted at the undergraduate level,  attracted roughly 10,000 high school level students out of the 100,000 who signed up. Clearly there is interest coming from high school students!

Brown University may be the first to have created a MOOC for the high school level, with the preparation of an overview course on engineering under development. The course is designed to expose students to the possibilities available to them in engineering majors and careers. A blog from the New York Times discusses this new MOOC for high school students.
http://thechoice.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/17/brown-university-creates-a-mooc-for-high-school-students/

There are at least a dozen courses delivered by M.I.T.’s Open Courseware program (the original basis of edX) that have been addressed to high school students and not only in math, science and engineering disciplines (including astrophysics, calculus and audio electronics). There are also courses in the humanities as well. Online resources including videos of lectures and other course materials for these are available at:
http://ocw.mit.edu/high-school/courses/

Image from an MIT high school course: Crab Nebula X-ray pulsar, image courtesy of NASA/CXC/SAO/F. Seward et al.

Image from an MIT high school course: Crab Nebula X-ray pulsar. Credit:  NASA/CXC/SAO/F. Seward et al.

There’s even a Spanish language MOOC resource currently linked from Curriki which could be useful for advanced Spanish language learners in high school.

What do you think, do you see this as a possibility in your own community or district? Do you know of other high school level MOOCs currently available or under development?

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One response to “MOOCs for High School

  1. A large number of the students in MOOCs right now are high school students, so there is a terrific opportunity to expand the concept. The very first person I “met” in a MOOC class discussion was a 12-year-old girl in Pakistan! (She finished the course, and I flamed out.)

    Brown’s is not quite the first. I’m aware of at least one earlier MOOC for high school students, which, coincidentally, we’re profiling today. Please have a look at what the University of La Crosse math department is doing to offer college readiness opportunities for high school seniors before placement exams.

    Robert McGuire
    Editor, MOOC News and Reviews

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