Lansing – Following the conclusion of a massive open online course (MOOC) in the Fall of 2013 by Michigan Virtual and researchers from Kent State University, evidence presented in a final report suggests that MOOCs can lead to positive outcomes, particularly as they relate to getting teachers to think more deeply about teaching and learning in the 21st century.

Supported by 13 partners and 10 co-facilitators, 848 participants engaged in this five-week MOOC (“K-12 Teaching in the 21st Century”), including grade 9-12 students who are interested in becoming teachers, preservice teachers and inservice teachers in the K-12 system.

“We need to learn more about the potential value and possible pitfalls of MOOCs so we can create effective learning models for the future,” said Jamey Fitzpatrick, President and CEO of Michigan Virtual. “Every person has different learning styles and preferences, but I am optimistic that MOOCs will play a role in tomorrow’s formal and informal education settings for certain types of learners.”

The final report, Findings and Reflections from the K-12 Teaching in the 21st Century MOOC, details the outcomes for participants; categorizations of K-12 students, teachers and others enrolled in such MOOCs; and considerations for future implementations of K-12 MOOCs. View the report »

“The results suggest MOOCs can be an effective way to engage K-12 students in topics they might not have the opportunity to explore in traditional education,” said Rick Ferdig, Summit Professor of Learning Technologies and Professor of Instructional Technology at Kent State University. “Additionally, the MOOC facilitated a conversation that led students and teachers to think about reinventing teaching and learning with technology.”

One of the goals for the MOOC was to start a conversation about teaching practices and the role of technology in education. The hope was that by creating a space for this conversation, a community of educators would form to encourage, support and spark each other’s knowledge and passion for teaching. Learning takes place in communities; depending on the implementation, technology has the capability to create and sustain the communities’ learning and practice.

One of the participants, a high school student said “It’s all about community. People help each other out, share ideas, debate on things, and, through that, really connect with what they’re learning. It is built around community, helping each other, and growing through a mix of knowledge, ideas and opinions.”

About Michigan Virtual
Michigan Virtual® is a private, nonprofit Michigan corporation established by the State of Michigan in 1998 to serve as a champion for online learning. It is the parent organization of the Michigan Virtual for Students® and the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute™.

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