MSU enters the world of MOOCs through Coursera partnership

What started as a first-time endeavor between the MSU College of Communication Arts and Sciences and an online education provider has grown into a partnership that is reaching thousands of students worldwide through multiple courses and specializations.
In September 2015, the Department of Media and Information became the first unit on MSU’s campus to offer curriculum through Coursera. It also was the first time Coursera, an education platform that partners with top universities and organizations around the world, offered massive open online courses (MOOCs) in game design and development.
"We now have students all over the world taking our courses," said Brian Winn, associate professor of media and information. "This partnership gets MSU's name out there to people who wouldn't otherwise see it. It's a way we can get the mindshare of a lot of people that we wouldn't otherwise be able to reach."
Winn created the specialization in game design and development offered through Coursera along with Associate Professor of Media and Information Casey O'Donnell. The non-credit curriculum parallels the quality of MSU's on-campus courses and consists of four courses and a capstone project. Although the coursework isn't applicable toward a degree, students receive a co-branded certificate from MSU and Coursera after completing specialization requirements.
"It's a form of professional development," Winn said. "It's also a way for students to get a sampling and a starter of what we do on campus at MSU through our top-rated program."
In the first six months, close to 37,000 people from all over the world checked out the MSU-Coursera courses. Of those, 20,000 signed up as enrolled learners, and about 2,400 completed the first course in the sequence.
Courses are offered on-demand, which means students can sign-up anytime and become part of a cohort that flows together through the course, sharing in discussions and peer reviewing each other’s work. As interest grows, a dedicated studio has been set up in ComArtSci to shoot and edit video for courses.
"Essentially, this first specialization opened up the floodgates," Winn said. "A lot of departments are looking at this as a model for reaching a much broader audience."
Other offerings recently launched through the MSU-Coursera partnership include courses in journalism, entrepreneurship, designing and making infographics, and scriptwriting for TV and Web.
Source: Brian Winn, Associate Professor, MSU Media and Information
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
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