The Final Countdown

October 1st, 2015

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By Jeroen van Merrienboer – Only 5 more days to go until the start of our PBL MOOC! It is hard to believe that its birth dates back to the end of 2013, when the University Board asked us to start its development. Why did it take us so long to develop this course?

First, it took the project team quite some time to figure out what a MOOC should look like, when it remains faithful to the principles of problem-based learning: taking real-life problems as a starting point for learning, working in small groups, and providing opportunities for self-directed learning.

Second, it was a university-broad effort, which required time-consuming but highly valuable discussions on different forms of problem-based learning used in various faculties. Eventually, all faculties brought in very useful ideas and example materials. Third, using the principles of problem-based learning in a MOOC poses several technical challenges. In order to cope with these, a small pilot study was run in order to get rid of the MOOC’s teething problems.

Now, this is all behind us. Innovative MOOC design may not be rocket science but sometimes feels like that – the countdown has finally started: 10-9-8-7-6-5…

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