We received this note from Yale University:
NEW HAVEN — Yale University is launching its next generation of free online courses, with four new courses debuting in the next six weeks. Registration is open now for all courses at Yale’s online course site.
Four of Yale’s most distinguished scholars are inaugurating the program. The date of the first online class, the title of the course, and the faculty members are:
• Jan. 16 — “Roman Architecture,” with Diana E.E. Kleiner, the Dunham Professor of History of Art and Classics;
• Jan. 20 — “Moralities of Everyday Life,” with Paul Bloom, the Brooks and Suzanne Ragen Professor of Psychology and Cognitive Science;
• Jan. 27 — “Constitutional Law,” with Akhil Amar, Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science;
• Feb. 17 — “Financial Markets,” with Robert Shiller, Sterling Professor of Economics.
“These new courses provide opportunities for those around the world to get to know some of Yale’s great teachers,” said Professor Craig Wright, academic director of online education and chair of the University-wide Committee on Online Education. “I look forward to working with many more faculty across the university as they offer online courses in the semesters ahead.”
The courses will be published on Coursera’s platform. Created in 2012 by two Stanford professors, Coursera has partnerships with 98 universities, including Princeton, Penn, Brown, Columbia, and Stanford in the United States, and Peking University, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, and the University of Tokyo abroad.
This new generation of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) builds on the pioneering online effort of the university’s Open Yale Courses program, which launched in 2007 and offers 42 courses by faculty in the arts and sciences. The courses are available at http://oyc.yale.edu.
“It is particularly fitting that the first new course will be taught by Kleiner, who was the founder and faculty director of the Open Yale Courses initiative,” said Wright.
The contemporary MOOC platforms include interactive features and tools for assessment. Video lectures are presented in a different manner as well. There are no single 50-minute lectures; the instruction is organized into shorter units of approximately 10 minutes — and the platforms allow the instructor to insert quiz questions or participatory activities at any point in the video segment.
One other feature is that all students start the course at the same time and have weekly homework and assignments that must be posted by certain deadlines.
As with Open Yale Courses, learners do not earn Yale credit for MOOCs. Participants can take any of the courses for free. In addition, the sponsoring faculty members have elected to offer their courses through the Verified Certificate track (for a $49 fee). Student choosing that option can — if they successfully complete the course and meet the performance standards established by the faculty member — have their participation and completion verified for prospective employers and others.
While each course will demonstrate the high production values and other qualities distinct to Yale offerings, notes Wright, each faculty member will also experiment with a different pedagogical approach.
For “Roman Architecture,” Kleiner has identified approximately 20 individuals — including Yale alumni — from around the globe who will serve as informal teaching assistants and help moderate the online discussion forums. Each moderator brings an academic, professional, or geographic expertise to the conversation. Kleiner will also teach her class on campus and as a MOOC simultaneously during this semester, and experiment with methods for integrating the two distinct cohorts.
In “Moralities of Everyday Life,” Bloom will combine newly created lectures with other learning materials to help students understand why they hold the moral positions they do. Bloom will also conduct several live video sessions during the course that will give students the opportunity to engage in “real-time” conversations with him and his teaching staff.
In “Constitutional Law,” the first Yale Law School course offered online, Amar will recreate the Socratic method by including teaching sessions that feature him in dialogue with one or two students.
In Shiller’s “Financial Markets,” the 2013 Nobel Prize-winning economist will provide an overview of the ideas, methods, and institutions that permit human society to manage risks and foster enterprise. Shiller will feature new combinations of his video lectures from Open Yale Courses and record new introductions to set the material in a contemporary context.