How will online learning change the future of STEM courses?
The concept of “courses ” has not changed much over centuries. However, online learning technology is quickly starting to challenge our understanding of what it means by a “course”. The abundance of online learning resources challenges the role of courses being the disseminators of knowledge, while the high registration numbers and low finishing numbers of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) challenges not only the necessity to “pass” a course, but also the optimum length and scope of a course. Given the fact that more than 70% of today’s undergraduate students are non-traditional in one way or another, it might be a good time to think about how online learning technology might help to evolve the structure of courses to accommodate an increasingly diverse student population. In this workshop, I will initiate the discussion of “what might a future STEM course look like”, by introducing three relatively old ideas: mastery-based learning, flipped or blended classroom , and modularized instructional design. I will talk about how those ideas, when combined with the latest online learning technologies, might re-shape how students take a course, how teachers teach a course, and how instructors create a course , especially for STEM disciplines. We will also brainstorm about what STEM instructors can do to embrace the possible changes ahead.