Category Archives: MOOCs

Massive Online Open Courses

Could your next TA be an A.I.?

At the Coursera Partner’s conference that I recently attended in Boulder, CO; one of the speakers was Ashok Goel from Georgia Tech.  He got up on stage and spoke of his experiences using an A.I. agent as a teaching assistant, side by side with human teaching assistants, unbeknownst to the students in the course.  There were wonderful stories and you can read some of these here at this link.

But I’m at a conference about massively scaled courses.  So, the obvious tie in is the concept of scaling the instructors (I mean TAs – cough.)  I think the truly interesting part will be when content experts and A.I.s start to have in depth discussions with one another about the subjects.  Hopefully there will be recordings!



Lightboards & You

Lightboards can also display figures to be marked up.
Lightboards can also display figures to be marked up.

If there is anything that makes me happy, it is when a new tech item actually fits into how education properly functions.  Last week, we finally pulled the trigger and ordered the manufacture of a Lightboard from the SoMAS Ocean Instrument Laboratory.

This is why a Lightboard is so awesome… it lets an instructor do what they already are great at… write on a surface (traditionally a chalk board or a white board) while explaining concepts, but facing towards the students. The reason that this works, is because we are going to record this to video – not teach in front of a live audience.  That way, you can point the camera into a mirror, or flip the video in post-production so that it is readable to the audience.


Presenting at the 2015 Coursera Partner’s Conference

I just thought I would leave a note here that I will be doing a poster presentation at the beginning of March in Irvine at the 2015 Coursera Partner’s Conference.  I have never done a poster presentation before, but I am looking forward to the informal method of talking to other Coursera users.  My title will be “Is MOOCwork Ephemeral?” and will focus on how we used Digication portfolios to create a more permanent repository for the assignments within our Introduction to Computational Arts course (led by Dr. Margaret Schedel).

Here is a complete list of the presenters:


Using TED-Ed to re-envision massively online or flipped courses

Dr. Margaret Schedel had wanted to flip her classroom before the whole MOOC concept starting sweeping SBU, so it seemed like a plan to try not only flipping her class, not only by recording the standard lectures and using class time to work on the hands-on parts of computational arts, but also by making those lectures open to a wider audience using Coursera. This allowed for a massive group of students to synchronously go through the class with her own face to face students.  Grading is accomplished through simple computer grading assessments and through peer assessments of larger projects. A large amount of student interaction is accomplished via forums.

Changing things up a bit, we thought we would now try to take those same videos and put them through the “create a lesson” process of TED-Ed. These lessons go up into the wild as asynchronous content – though a class can still assign them to be completed according to whatever schedule is chosen. The world still has access.  They have computer graded assessments built in – that can bring you back to the video for a video hint if you get the answer wrong. It also has discussion forums, to interact with the instructor or other students. Here is the first lesson that we put together based on the week 10 set of videos:

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An instructor can create lessons like these, using any youtube video. This is really powerful.


Coursera Partner’s Conference

Dr. Meg Schedel is over in London presenting for Stony Brook University at the Coursera Partner’s Conference.

Meg's selfie at our poster.
Meg’s selfie at our poster.

31 March – 1 April, 2014   |   London, England
Co-hosted by the University of Edinburgh and the University of London

The second annual Coursera Partners’ Conference brings together university officials, faculty members, instructional designers, program managers, technology specialists, and teaching support staff from across our partner organizations for two days of lively discussion about MOOCs, online and blended pedagogy, and emerging trends in higher education. It is intended to provide an opportunity for members of the Coursera community to learn from each other and share their experiences in designing, creating, and delivering MOOCs, and to discuss the rapidly transforming landscape in higher education.



or MOOCOWs as I like to call them (Massive Online Open Courses or Whatever)…  part of what I have been doing is getting last semester’s Intro to Computational Arts ready for a Spring redeploy.  Meg Schedel decided to break it into three separate sessions for the benefit of the broader audience, which I think will make it even more popular and have better retention rates. Not that 10% was shabby to begin with!  I’ve also started on a MOOC course shell for a Human Evolution class.

But – for something completely different, I’ve decided to enroll in a MOOC myself.  “Gamification” taught by Kevin Werbach from University of Pennsylvania.  I also enrolled in the Signature Verification Track.  Mostly to see how it works.  It is hosted in the same platform that we in SUNY use for MOOCs, Coursera.

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