Terrorism, Dante, and Global Business: GeorgetownX (re)Launches Three MOOCs

It’s been a busy season for online course development at CNDLS.

Over the past month, GeorgetownX (GUx) has launched three MOOCs, each one unique in what it brings to online learning at Georgetown. The first of these is Terrorism and Counterterrorism, led by Daniel Byman (SFS), which is in its third iteration and has netted 15,000 registrations since its last run. First launched in October 2014 as an 8-week, instructor-led course, Terrorism and Counterterrorism is now offered as two separate courses on edX: the original full-length version running seven weeks and an abbreviated three-week introduction to the topic. A third, campus-only version of the course was offered this past summer through the edX Edge platform, which allows institutions to develop SPOCs—small private online courses—rather than MOOCs.

The biggest shift in this iteration is the move to a self-paced structure in which students have five months to complete seven sections of coursework. Allowing students to set the pace of their learning isn’t new for GUx—in fact, half of its courses are self-paced—but recent research informed a few changes to course activities aimed at supporting student capacity to plan, monitor, and assess their own understanding and performance. In order to help students judge whether they’re learning in a sustainable way, the MOOC team introduced two modifications: a list of learning goals for each unit alongside a prompt encouraging students to reflect on their progress, as well as refresher questions at the end of each section. In both cases, the goal is to reinforce and assess what students have retained, helping them determine their progress.

Filming for the original launch of Terrorism and Counterterrorism in 2013.

Filming for the original launch of Terrorism and Counterterrorism in 2013.

In its second iteration is The Divine Comedy: Dante’s Journey to Freedom, Part 2, the second in a series of three MOOCs led by Frank Ambrosio (Philosophy) that follow the Dante Alighieri epic. Unlike most GUx MOOCs, the Divine Comedy courses use their own unique platform—MyDante—created specifically for the series. We wrote about the contemplative reading theory behind MyDante and the MOOCs on the edX blog in March, but a few learning design changes are particular to this course, including the addition of new assessment questions and an updated peer assessment rubric that more closely examines students’ use of three specific types of reading. In addition, students now have access to the week-by-week schedules for Inferno and Paradiso—the first and third courses—allowing them to go through the entire series.

Our newest course, Global Business in Practice (GBiP), won’t launch until October 25, but there’s already quite a bit to share—so much so, in fact, that we dedicated our last blog post to it. Created to preserve and digitize the signature lecture series for Global Business Experience (GBE), a foundational course in the Georgetown MBA program, GBiP is the first GUx MOOC tied directly to graduate curriculum at the university. Georgetown students enrolled in GBE will participate in an exclusive version of GBiP that constitutes one credit of the 4.5 credit course. Students enrolled through edX will participate in a modified version of the lecture series, alongside assessment and discussion exercises. Another first for Georgetown is a series of radio spots with instructor Ricardo Ernst (MSB) that will run in tandem with the MOOC, exploring in more depth some of the real-world implications of business practices covered in the course.

Interest piqued? For more information about these and upcoming MOOCs—or to register for free—visit the Georgetown course page on edX. Faculty interested in learning more about online course development can visit GeorgetownX on the CNDLS site and send any additional questions to cndls@georgetown.edu.