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InfoSci Participates in Cornell's First MOOC

Cornell will join other universities around the world offering MOOCs, massive open online courses, with its first offering Six Pretty Good Books. Cornell has offered online courses in the past and even some that have been dubbed "mini-MOOCs" however, this course marks the first to actually fit the description for a MOOC and to be strategically designed as such.

Information Science Professors Jeff Hancock and Michael Macy will collaborate with ILR Professor Jeff Cowie and Human Ecology Professor Stephen Ceci to teach the course. Students will read books by authors such as Steven Pinker, Nicholas Christakis, Robert Frank, Duncan Watts and Dan Ariely, with the opportunity to discuss and debate issues related to the books with the instructors and authors via videoconferencing and other online tools. 

Often touted as a means of democratizing education and leveraging new technology to extend educational outreach, MOOCs are gaining popularity among universities around the world. Cornell plans on joining one of the Consortia that distributes MOOCs such as EdX or Coursera. In an article about the course in the Cornell Chronicle, Éva Tardos, Professor of Computer Science and Information Science and the Senior Associate Dean of Computing and Information Science, says, "We want faculty to experiment with this new medium of teaching. In addition to offering content to a lot of people, they also will learn how this online medium works."

The course will be supported by a $50,000 grant from Google, which offers online teaching tools through its Course Builder website

For more on Cornell's participation in MOOCs, see the the Cornell blog post here. Click here for a talk by Professors David Easley and Éva Tardos, on MOOCs given at a faculty forum on September 27, 2012.

Another Cornell Chronicle article on the course is here