Think Again, Day One

Monday November 26 marked the launch of Duke’s third MOOC (Massive Open Online Course), “Think Again: How to Reason and Argue.” Students in this course will learn how to understand and assess arguments by other people and how to construct good arguments of their own. In creating this course, Dr. Walter Sinnott-Armstrong from Duke’s Philosophy department and his UNC Chapel Hill colleague Dr. Ram Neta are eager to offer “scalable, high-quality, exercise-intensive instruction in critical thinking and reasoning,” says Neta.

With over 164,000 students, “Think Again” is the largest of Duke’s Coursera offerings as well as the largest Coursera course to date from any institution!

As expected, the course discussion boards lit up almost immediately with students eager to begin. In the past 24 hours, over 3300 students have made over 5600 posts and 2900 comments. Virtual and in-person study groups formed right away (both within the course site and outside of it). Groups range from Russia to Singapore, Twitter to Facebook, and there is even a “wee Scottish group.”

With the most diverse geographic representation in a Duke course to date, over 160 countries are represented. About 2/3 of the students are outside the United States. More students from India are enrolled in the course (5%) than from Canada (4%) or the UK (4%).

Beginning next week, this course will also pilot Google Hangouts via Coursera to enable students to interact via video chat.

During the first 24 hours of “Think Again”:

  • Over 50,000 students logged in (just under 1/3 of registered users)
  • Nearly 37,000 students watched a course video
  • Over 3,000 posted in the forums
  • “We need a class map” (one was created within an hour) and various student musings on the thread “Why did this become most popular course on Coursera” were the ‘upvoted’ discussion threads

These numbers are of course just a blurred snapshot – while I was writing this post on Tuesday, the number of students active in the course increased by over 800.  And as of today (Wednesday), the total number of registered users has increased by 2000 to 166,542 of whom over 61,000 have logged into the course site since it launched.