Bioelectricity MOOC Report and Relaunch

It seems like only yesterday that Duke launched its first Coursera MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) in September 2012, “Bioelectricity: A Quantitative Approach.” We invite you to read our newly released report about the initial offering of this course and to share your questions and comments below.

In fact, it was just yesterday (February 4) that “Bioelectricity: A Quantitative Approach” Spring 2013 was made available to its second cohort of students. Just over 4,000 users so far have registered for Duke’s second offering of this course, and since then, nearly 1,400 have logged in, and about half of those students have begun watching course videos.

As we saw in the fall offering, these students represent diverse array of backgrounds.

  • Students represent over 80 countries; only 1/3 currently reside in the United States
  • A majority are students (25% undergrads, 25% grad students and 5% pre-college)
  • About 60% are over 25 years of age
  • Over 1/3 are currently working full time or part time, and about 1/4 are scientists or other professionals

Interested? It’s not too late to enroll. We invite you to join these students on what Dr. Barr promises will be an intriguing, productive adventure.

For more information on Duke’s online courses, click here:

2 thoughts on “Bioelectricity MOOC Report and Relaunch

  1. anon

    Very disappointing to see the overwhelmingly negative comments offered by the students in Dr. Barr’s on-campus class condensed down to one sentence in the report. While the Coursera course was perceived as excellent by those whose alternative was no class at all (the online students), the Coursera course received abysmally poor reviews from nearly every students who was enrolled in the on-campus class that attempted to use the Coursera material as part of a “flipped classroom”

    • Yvonne Belanger Post author

      Thank you for your comment. As the term “flipped classroom” is commonly understood, our Bioelectricity MOOC was not an example of this pedagogy. The Duke campus students who participated were enrolled in a different Bioelectricity course – a graduate level course at a more advanced level than the Coursera MOOC, which was aimed at an upper undergraduate level. As the report explains, the videos and quizzes in the MOOC were assigned to these students as review material, but these were not the core content of their course, as would be the case in a “flipped classroom”. So the experiences and feedback from the campus course students was not central to the assessment of the MOOC, since the MOOC was only one portion of their semester studies and comprised a minor share of their course grade. It is correct to say that the experiences in using the MOOC content in this way was not positive overall. Their feedback indicated not a lack of quality in the online materials, but rather issues with the way the MOOC content was added to and integrated with the different course they were taking. We do have some anecdotal evidence that their use of the MOOC content resulted in better learning outcomes for them overall. So although it is clear that they did not enjoy the combination of the MOOC with the campus-based course in this way, we think the jury is still out on whether MOOCs can be used in flipped classroom pedagogies and are studying that in other cases currently. We weren’t trying to minimize their lack of satisfaction; rather, we just didn’t think it was central to the assessment of the MOOC.

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