A Powerful Tool: New Ways to Utilize MOOCs and Empower Learning

Concurrent Session 6

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

Join MIT staff and learn how to effectively use MOOC content in classrooms, seminars, and beyond. MITx content is already being used by learners inside and outside of traditional classrooms around the world to enhance their educational experience. Come discuss how you could utilize MOOCs in your own educational sphere and help contribute to creating new pathways to learning!


David Chotin is a Manager, Digital Learning at MITx, where he works with faculty, course teams, and MITx staff to develop and run online courses and digital projects. His role includes project planning, tracking and communicating project status to stakeholders, and coordination of the course development process.
I am currently a Manager of Digital Learning at MITx at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In my current capacity, I lead different project teams that work directly with the faculty at MIT and their course teams, advising and collaborating to create massive open online courses (MOOCs) that are delivered on the edX platform. As a Manager of Digital Learning, I am responsible for these MOOCs from the beginning of the development process through the end delivery.

Additional Authors

Sarah is a Manager, Digital Learning at MITx within the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Office of Open Learning. Previous to MIT, she earned her masters in education from Suffolk University and spent over six years in English education in Kyushu, Japan. In her current role she assists faculty, course teams, and MITx teams to develop, run, and assess the institute's MOOC offerings.

Extended Abstract

MOOCs have attracted attention for their ability to bring low-cost educational opportunities to the world, but learners are using them in so many more ways than most people are already aware. From a high school class in rural Georgia learning how to be entrepreneurs, to students across the country prepping for an AP exam in Microeconomics, to teachers customizing content for use in their own classrooms; MOOCs offer an adaptability that gives them incredible potential to create new pathways of learning.

At MITx, we are on the front lines of this new educational frontier. With over 100 unique MOOCs created, and more than 350 individual course runs since our inception in 2012, MITx is one of the largest and most pre-eminent providers of MOOCs to the global community. Driven by our mission “to transform teaching and learning at MIT and around the globe through the innovative use of digital technologies,” our courses are already influencing education in numerous ways: improving methods of blended learning, providing a foundation of learning in seminars, and as an impetus for the expansion of research in educational fields and theories. We want to share these stories, talk about how MOOCs can be integrated into an existing educational environment, and encourage the audience to discover new applications for MOOCs in their own professional worlds.

In the presentation part of the session, we will share:

  • A brief overview of how an MITx course is designed, built, and accessed by learners;

  • Some of the numerous ways that MITx MOOCs are already being used: by school districts and teachers to augment their own offerings, and by individual learners around the world who are ready for more than they have access to locally;

  • Strategies for how the audience can use MOOC content in their classrooms, or encourage an advanced student to take charge of their own education;

  • How the audience can license an MITx course and build custom online experiences for a classroom of learners.

Following this, we will invite the audience to suggest new opportunities for MOOCs, and new ways they could be used in the future. We want to know what gaps currently exist and how MOOCs could be used to fill them. As staff at MITx, we have a unique opportunity to learn from the audience and bring their feedback to our colleagues.

We hope that attendees will leave this presentation with new ideas on how to utilize MOOCs for their own learners, both in the classroom and beyond. MOOCs have already begun changing the field of education; let’s work together to determine where we can go from here.