Large-scale courses known as MOOCs were invented to get free or low-cost education to people who could not afford or get access to traditional options. But in recent years they had faded from the public spotlight, and more of the content was put behind paywalls.
However, as COVID-19 has forced an unprecedented shift to online teaching at colleges around the world, students and colleges are looking with renewed interest at the format.
Duke University was one of the first institutions to draw on MOOCs in response to the novel coronavirus. The university runs a campus in China, where its leaders shifted all teaching online on February 24 in response to the spread of infections there.
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Duke has long built MOOCs through its partnership with Coursera, a major platform for large-scale courses, and it also had previously negotiated an arrangement with Coursera to make all of the certificate programs and courses in Coursera’s library available to all of Duke’s students (in the U.S. or in China), said Noah Pickus, Duke’s associate provost, during a live discussion Tuesday co-hosted by EdSurge.
“So if we had a faculty member who has to do chemistry lectures and has never worked in this environment, rather than have him or her record an hour-and-a-half