First held in summer 2013 as Michigan State University's first humanities massive open online course, “Thinking Like a Writer” has been redesigned for this summer to provide a better user experience.
“This year, we designed our MOOC to attract an even wider range of participants,” said Jeff Grabill, chairperson of the Department of Writing, Rhetoric and American Cultures, who teaches the course with Julie Lindquist, director of first-year writing. “Of course, everyone is welcome, but we especially invite incoming college students (to MSU and elsewhere); business people; community college students; English as a Second Language students; and anyone for whom writing is a hindrance to advancement in school or their jobs, or for whom a college-level writing course may be a real impediment.”
A certificate option and two for-credit options were added for 2014, so there are now four pathways to the MOOC:
- the free option, in which MSU facilitates some peer interactions
- the “Certificate of Completion” option for a fee of about $50
- a non-MSU-student credit option; and
- an MSU student credit option that meets MSU’s first-year writing requirement of all MSU students.
“We also learned that it is possible to create high-quality peer feedback at scale (with large enrollments) and to create quality peer learning experiences,” Grabill said. “That is at the top of our agenda. And, with Eli Review, we have the technology to craft peer learning in a very real way.”
In addition to Grabill and Lindquist, Kate Fedewa, assistant professor for WRAC; Kristen Heine, instructor for WRAC; and Jennifer Royston, a Ph.D. student, teach the class.