Published: Jan. 16, 2014

MSU to offer free online course relating to 2014 Winter Olympics

By: Alex Barhorst Residential and Hospitality Services barhors1@rhs.msu.eduContact(s): Layne Cameron Media Communications office: (517) 353-8819 cell: (765) 748-4827, Patrick Hayes MSUglobal office: (517) 884-4598

Three MSU faculty members will jointly offer a free online course about the cultural, societal and economic impact of the 2014 Winter Olympics held in Sochi, Russia. The five-week massive open online course, or MOOC, is called "Mega Events: Inside the Winter Olympics."

“This course will give participants a functional understanding of the Olympics, how they’re organized and how host cities and countries manage them,” said Mark Wilson, professor of urban and regional planning in the MSU School of Planning, Design and Construction and director of SPDC Global. “The MOOC format and timing of the course will let us incorporate Olympic events into class discussions as they happen.”

Wilson will manage the course with Eva Kassens-Noor, assistant professor of urban and regional planning and global studies, and Lisa Robinson, head of metadata management for MSU Libraries. The faculty members will draw from experience with mega events – short, large-scale events with millions of spectators – when designing the course.

“Mega events are increasingly popular across the world,” Wilson said. “There are currently more than 150 cities bidding to host different events. The events are prestigious and draw the attention of spectators, viewers and media to one place on the planet at the same time, engaging a worldwide audience.”

The course, MSU’s fifth pilot MOOC, will focus on the background and organization of the games, the symbolism involved in the opening ceremonies, issues associated with the Olympics and more.

“Our goal is to show how the impact of the Winter Olympics can be seen and interpreted in many different ways,” Wilson said. “This course will be a trademark of MSU. The next MOOC tentatively titled ‘Mega Events: Inside the FIFA World Cup’ is already in the making.”

The instructors plan to use Twitter and Facebook to make the class as interactive as possible. The course was developed in partnership with MSUglobal.

Registration for the class can be completed here.

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