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How To MOOC a Mini Med School

Page history last edited by Molly Hepworth 6 years, 11 months ago

How To MOOC a Mini Med School


Primary Presenter: John Cohen

Co-Presenter: Helen Macfarlane

Organization: University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

Role: Professor

Track: General Presentation

Topic: MOOCs

Level: For Mere Mortals


Abstract: Making a MOOC isn’t just putting your course online; it should be reimagined from the ground up. We are converting the live Mini Med School into an 8-week MOOC. We chose Canvas Network as the platform after much research. Each week’s module is composed of about 8 single-topic units, presented using video, animation, and screen capture. The process will take 9 months. We’ll describe difficulties and solutions and what we learned.


Bio:JJ Cohen, MD, PhD, is professor of Immunology and Medicine in the CU School of Medicine. Helen Macfarlane, MA, is Director of Educational Technology for the School of Medicine. JJ is the founder, and Helen the director of research and development for the CU Mini Medical School, now 24 years old. In 2013 they are turning Mini Med into a MOOC, using the Canvas Network platform. This is a massive challenge, so we’ve thought very carefully about the process, what it will cost us, how to leverage limited assets, and how we can make it succeed.


Description: In this collaboration, Helen Macfarlane is the course designer, and JJ Cohen is the content wrangler. We’ll walk the audience through the needed steps, which included working with lawyers to negotiate a Memorandum of Understanding between us, CU, and Instructure, the company behind Canvas Network. Next was to learn the Canvas platform and its special adaptations for MOOC hosting. We’ll talk about our budget and fundraising efforts. Then we’ll discuss the philosophy of the course and how that guided our approach (including “globalizing” the content and aiming for cultural sensitivity.) Goals led to Aims and to Domains (weekly Modules) and Subdomains, each of which became a 5-8 minute “Unit.” These were then each storyboarded, and presentation modalities (video interview, talking head, narrated PowerPoint, screen—capture animation, etc.) chosen. Finally, production. We’ll discuss our interactions with the very active design and Quality Assurance team at Instructure. While the course will not yet be live in August, we’ll premiere our first complete module! And we’re excited about a conversation with the audience, to hear their ideas and share ours.

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