Online course creates massive interest

Sounds like something on a dairy farm but MOOC (or massive open online course) is revolutionising online education. More than 17,000 students globally registered for Monash University’s first free MOOC on creative coding.

The Faculty of Information Technology’s Associate Professor Jon McCormack (BSc(Hons) 1987, PhD 2004) and Dr Mark Guglielmetti (PhD 2012) developed the six-week course with librarians, learning skills advisers and the Office of the Vice- Provost (Learning and Teaching).

They produced in-depth videos and other materials on the role of computer programming in generating creative sounds, images and animation. Their biggest challenge was engagement because free MOOCs have high drop-out rates.

“We've been really amazed by people's enthusiastic response,” Associate Professor McCormack said.

“What really surprised us was the power of social learning that is possible when you have many thousands of students. People contributed thousands of posts that encouraged other learners. They shared their creative programs online, building a real community around the course that helped to maintain enthusiasm.”

The Monash MOOC launched on 2 June 2014 through FutureLearn, a free UK-based global online course site.

Two more Monash MOOCs, The Science of Medicines and Water for Liveable Cities, are due to begin later in 2014. The courses allow anyone online to enrol.