“Wonderful things can happen when the instructor doesn’t jump in,” she said. She often would let the conversation go and several hours later weigh in and have everybody move on.
“I think it was fantastic,” she said. “Our students who come back to mentor and tutor in on campus intro courses learn more than the students in the course. It’s not just that this is the second time around for them. They get the information again, but now they have to use it flexibly, they have to be able to respond to all the questions the students are asking. In any technical area we often make students take an intro course and then they have no interest in going on. This was a great opportunity to think how peer tutoring can be that second course — getting students exited, getting their confidence up.”
It was also a great exercise for her, she added.
“When you have to think about 10,000 students you will never talk to or explain things to, it took my materials to a new level. This had to work without my being able to talk to them.” She took a project approach to the MOOC, she added, with videos, lectures and demonstrations so students could go back to any areas they had difficulty with and collaborate with other students online.
[Great stuff. More! Much More!]