Northwestern to offer MOOC this summer

    The University is offering a special massive open online course on Content Strategy for Professionals: Engaging Audiences for Your Organization. The MOOC is exclusively for alumni, friends and colleagues and starts on June 9, according to a press release from Director of Media Relations Bob Rowley.

    The original content strategy MOOC at Northwestern was given this winter, and it drew interest from 21,728 professionals in 141 countries. This new iteration is offered for free to anyone alumni invite to take it.

    “This MOOC will give you actionable ways to create content that others will value,” said John Lavine, the lead professor on the MOOC and the director of Northwestern’s Media Management Center.

    Ten professors will teach the course. Eight professors are from Medill, and two are from both Medill and Kellogg. The course will teach participants how they can “use credible, trustworthy and transparent content to far better engage their internal and external audiences.” More information is available on the Coursera website, and alumni can register by following this link.

    “Being part of Northwestern as a student is a lifelong experience,” Provost Dan Linzer said. He also said this MOOC gives alumni the chance to interact with each other and with the University.

    Lavine said this MOOC is better than the original one, which generated 5,750 discussion board conversations and 17,686 participant comments.

    “We took all that we learned in the first one and all that was possible to do in addition and refined the initial course,” he said. “Even more important, we have tailored this MOOC for all Northwestern alumni, no matter what school they were a part of and when they left the University.”

    Coursera, the largest MOOC platform in the world, developed the free course. Students can take the course at their own pace, and there are no tests or grades. It includes more than 60 videos in six modules over six weeks, along with learning questions and assignments. Participants will receive feedback from the rigorous program.

    The first MOOC launched at Northwestern in September was Understanding Media by Understanding Google. The course, which was taught by Medill professor Owen Youngman, will also be offered again starting May 26.

    “The world is getting ever more complicated,” Lavine said. “The most important thing – beyond your health and love – is the number 1,440, which is the number of minutes in a 24-hour day. There is very little time, so you have to give people something they value, that makes them smarter, if your content is to be worth their time.”


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