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Overview: Creating a MOOC or SPOC (Small Private Online Course)
Before you start, you should “enroll” in an EdX MOOC to understand the student experience of taking such courses, since you'll be preparing your materials to match that experience. Go to EdX.org and enroll for one or more courses, watch a few video segments, and try out some assessments.
You should then be in a good position to request access to EdX Studio and take the self-service "EdX 101" course that walks you through how to create and deploy a course using EdX Studio.
Adapting a polished, mature on-campus course for EdX delivery involves the following.
Determine course scope and length. Shorter courses (3-7 weeks) seem to work better, so consider splitting up your on-campus course into self-contained sub-courses. An online course is organized into units; typically 1 unit can be completed in 1 week, and includes some combination of lectures, readings, homework assignment deadlines, and quizzes/exams.
Structure your lectures as self-contained segments of about 5-12 minutes of lecture delivery time. It's helpful for each segment to be accompanied by one or more interactive activities, such as graded or ungraded (self-check) questions, discussion, etc. EdX 101 (see two short-answer self-assessment questions (see Short-Answer Autograders below).
Tip: If you plan to deliver your lectures live rather than separately pre-recording, you can use these questions for peer instruction by giving out inexpensive colored flash cards.
If you use copyrighted imagery or content in your lectures, you will need to ensure that you have the permission of the copyright owner or that your use of the materials is otherwise covered by Fair Use. (A pointer to more detailed information and how-to is coming soon.)
Lecture capture. Arrange for screencast and/or video capture and postproduction of your live lectures, or if you are planning on pre-recording lectures before the course begins, identify the resources and arrangements you'll make.
Autograding. Determine what kinds of machine-gradable assessments the course will include.
* Short-answer autograding (see below) is built in to the platform, as are tools for creating short-answer-autogradable assessments.
* (Pro) You can also create arbitrarily sophisticated custom autograders for specific assignment types (circuit diagrams, essays, etc.) and plug them into the EdX platform. This requires programming knowledge. See Custom Autograders below.
MOOC TA. Identify a teaching assistant to monitor the forums and otherwise keep an eye on the course. The first time you offer the course, expect to require 20-30 hours per week of TA time just for the MOOC (i.e., in addition to any TA resources for your concurrent on-campus course).
Tip: We have found that strong undergraduates who have mastered the course content do fine in this role. On subsequent MOOC offerings, you can recruit volunteers from the current cohort to help do this job for future cohorts - see below.
Prerequisites and materials. Prepare a description of the course, including length of course, prerequisites, required books or other materials, and (important) approximate hours per week students should expect to spend.
Tip:** For open-access courses, it's useful if the required material(s) are free or low cost, or if free or low-cost alternatives are available.
Other Tutorials, Best Practices, etc.
by 10gen, a technology company with whom EdX partners, gives their best practices for creating internal MOOCs for their employees.