Making a Mighty MOOC: Part 2 – Five Implementation Tips

Mooc 2 Brain

A continuation of our short series on Massive Open Online Courses.

<< PREVIOUS Video 1: Introduction to MOOC

If you are are reading this, you may already know that online courses can be bad, boring or both—just like real live classrooms.

Dark, creepy videos of stiff, backlit instructors and PowerPoints thrown up online do not automatically equal engaged students and mastery.

And—just as in any full-bodied, live classroom—presentation matters. Structure matters. Storytelling matters.

Being an authentic and qualified instructor matters—whether those "qualifications" are the results of a hard-earned PhD or year of learning on the streets.

Point being: Bad student experience, whether in the classroom or online, is no good--it is a waste of time, treasure and talent.

More important, for us educators and presenters, ignorance about how the brain learns is no excuse for creating useless online learning, even if it is massive, open or free.

Solution Sets

TED has collected a set of speaker videos around this topic of "re-imagining the classroom".

The presentations include the insanely highly popular 2005 thought piece by Sir Ken Robinson and that master of the digital chalkboard lesson, Salman Khan of Khan Academy.

Daphne Koeller and Peter Norvig of Standford and Coursera share data and insight from their truly massive experiment in free online courses across major universities.

So here are 5 best practices distilled from several of these top leaders in this new field of MOOCs.

5 Implementation Tips

So here is a very, very short list of what you can do….

1. Keep it Real. Talk to one person and make that a person who you like and want to help.

2. Assume Passion. that that person is here because they want what you have, which really comes down to knowledge and passion for your field.

3. The Brain Can Only Absorb as Long as the Butt Can Endure. Make it short, make it bite-sized and make it visual.

4. Use the Beginner's Mind. (Unlike an "expert", a beginner remembers what it is like to not understand.)

5. A Classroom is an Intersection. Communication needs to flow along two axis: peer-to-peer and learner to instructor. Allow engagement with the materials & provide some sort of feedback

So what have you tried?

- Have you taken any open courses or online training that you felt was stellar? - Have you produced and delivered online courses and experimented with these tools? - What has worked for you?

Add your nuggets of golden wisdom in the comments below.


1. TED Collection: Re-imagining School Total run time 2:48:11 2. MOOCs: Massive Open Online Courses or Massive and Often Obtuse Courses by Lisa Chamberlin & Tracy Parish 3. Alphachimp's collection of MOOC articles on delicious

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Making a Mighty MOOC: Part 1 – An Introduction to Massive Open Online Courses

MOOC Title

Introduction to MOOCs

NEXT Video 2: 5 Tips for Making a Mighty MOOC >>

There is a giant leviathan creature lurking out there in the interweb ocean.

Fortunately, unlike all the other predatory phishes & West African princes looking for investment opportunities, this digital giant holds tremendous promise for both the rising tide of global talent and students drowning in debt. [Cue the theme music from JAWS.]


Inspired by a recent panel at the World Economy Forum on the future of education, this series of short videos is intended to spark a little conversation around Massive Open Online Courses. In the world of eLearning, the MOOC is the new 8 billion ton gorilla, promising to deliver education to the world.

Hence, "M" for Massive.

If my time in the purgatory of management consulting taught me anything, it is that any systemic problem has three basic elements: People, Processes and Technology.

Or, in more human language: "People doing stuff with things."

Technology, in the end, is anything that we (humans) designed to do a (specific) job.

Just because we have lots of technology, doesn't mean that the entire collage of technology is getting the big job done (think "public education" or "healthcare" or "Department of Motor Vehicles").

Same in this world of online learning.

All aspects of an online service are dependent upon many things working well: the user experience, communication skills, navigation, pacing of content, classic storytelling devices, ease of use, access, time, money, bandwidth, attention span, cognition, language proficiency…

Failure or "friction" in any of these areas can lead to a failure in transferring knowledge or skills online.

NEXT UP: 5 Tips for Making a Mighty MOOC


Davos Forum Considers Learning’s Next Wave by Alison Smale on

"A MOOC By Another Name" by Christina Hendricks

Three Kinds of MOOCs by Lisa M. Lane

Thinking about MOOCs: A Link Round-Up by Derek Bruff

MOOCs: Massive Open Online Courses or Massive and Often Obtuse Courses? by Lisa Chamberlin & Tracy Parish

Follow the #MOOC discussion on Twitter

What is Your Experience? Comment below.

NEXT: Part 2 - 5 Tips to a Mighty MOOC

Bloom's Taxonomy & Knowledge Management Tools (Part 2): Tools for Teams

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I am obsessed with getting organized. But I can't seem to do it. Teams are focused on parsing up work, remembering who has to do what by when, but work still seems so fuzzy or chaotic. In this second video of a series, I continue breaking apart one of the most fundamental models of the education world, Bloom's Taxonomy, in an attempt to understand the personal and team-based tools for remembering the Who, What, Where, and When.


What are the top 3 digital and analog tools that you use with teams?

Add your wisdom to the comments below...

NEXT: Part 3 - Applying Knowledge in Teams

Bloom's Taxonomy & Knowledge Management Tools (Part 1)

Bloom's Taxonomy & Knowledge Management

I don't know about you, but I have a hard time remembering stuff. Thank goodness there are a billion-and-a-half books, apps, tools and methods for "helping" me. Here are my top 3 digital tools and top 3 physical tools for remembering stuff. In this first video of a series, I break apart one of the most fundamental models of the education world: Bloom's Taxonomy.

NEXT: Part 2 - Tools for Teams