10 Secrets of Online Course Design from Award-Winning MOOCs

If you want to see engaging, transformative online course design in action, add a little poetry to your life. An online Coursera course, Modern American Poetry, aka ModPo, is one of the 50 most popular MOOCs of all time. It’s taught by Professor Al Filreis of the University of Pennsylvania who received Coursera’s 2016 Transformation Award for helping 140,000 students transform their lives.

Typically, a MOOC features a course syllabus, in this case, a ten-week lesson plan with assigned reading (poems), instructor-created video content, discussion forum, peer-reviewed writing assignments, and quizzes. But Filreis and his merry band of teaching assistants (TAs) turbo-charged the usual MOOC formula.

One of the TAs, David Poplar, wrote about the pedagogical concepts behind their approach in Educause Review. Here are some of the ways ModPo took a dry poetry lecture and turned it into an experience students raved about all over the Internet.

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