Every book has a MOOC inside

By MOOC, I mean a Massively Open Online Course, the sort of class offered by organizations like Coursera and edx.

how does a book become a MOOC?

To start, you’ll need the metadata: the name of the book, the author, edition, and year, and (important for what follows), the chapter outline. Since we’re talking about a single book, you could enter this by hand if necessary.

For each chapter, allow students to do four things:

  • Participate in a discussion forum.
  • Submit quiz questions and assignments.
  • Answer quiz questions and do assignments(while also evaluating the relevance and effectiveness of those questions/assignments)
  • Evaluate assignments

Mastery of a chapter is determined by those last two things: Answering some questions, and having your own questions rated as relevant and effective. The course provider could use a system like OpenBadges to certify student achievement.

so, what’s the point?

  • For someone trying to learn the material in a book, being able to discuss it with other readers will aid in understanding, and being able to certify that you’ve mastered a book should make the whole experience more satisfying.
  • For authors and publishers, this is an easy way to make your product more valuable.
  • For course providers (who may work for the publishers), you have an online product that gets better as more people use it.

what might suck?

The first batch of students may have to wait around while a library of questions and assignments is developed, which could lead to abandonment. The way to deal with this is to pre-seed the system with enough questions to allow students to proceed through the course.

Leave a Reply