Title of Session

Addressing Community Engagement through a Grand Challenge Service-Learning MOOC

Presentation Format

Individual Presentation

Intended Audience

All Audiences

Program Abstract

This presentation will share the development of a community engagement and service-learning focused massive open online course (MOOC) and implementation at Clemson University Fall 2015 and Spring 2016. The authors are piloting a rubric to assess key competencies related to community-engaged scholarship to evaluate student projects produced in this MOOC. Audience members will be engaged with an active discussion on approaches to adopting a similar course structure, group project, and evaluation approaches at their institution.

Presentation Description

To prepare the next generation of students to tackle 21st century challenges, education must commit to deepening student’s social consciousness and community engagement through exposure to societal problems in addition to teaching technical competencies. The National Academy of Engineering Grand Challenges (GCs) for Engineering and United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) offer context for exposing students to complex global challenges that require multidisciplinary solutions. In response to these challenges, many instructors have adopted the GCs and MDGs to educate a new generation of students equipped to tackle society’s most imminent problems.

Online platforms, such as massive open online courses (MOOCs), provide the unique opportunity to engage a wide array of students using minimal resources. MOOCs are often categorized as cMOOCs or xMOOCs; cMOOCs focus on creation, autonomy, and social networked learning, whereas xMOOCs take a more traditional approach to learning. xMOOCs have the benefit of mass exposure, but they are commonly criticized for limiting interaction and being rigid. Conversely, cMOOCs are fluid and encourage creativity, but they are criticized as lacking direction and vision.

The course discussed in this presentation combines cMOOCs and xMOOCs, attempting to eliminate common shortcomings, while amplifying the positive aspects using an active learning pedagogical medium. This provides the structured foundation and common ground for students to acquire technical skills, but allows the flexibility for the students to build collaboratively in a direction that is most engaging to them while obtaining a deep understanding of the topic and interacting with community that will benefit from their collaborations.

To provide opportunities for diverse interactions, students from all backgrounds are welcome to enroll in “Creatively Applying Science for Sustainability” course. The course teaches students the basics of sustainable design, the design process, and introductory business principles through a series of 6 structured themes. In tandem with learning these concepts, students work collaboratively in teams to address a societal challenge of their choosing. Students are encouraged to practice the technical skills and business principles they learned in a social atmosphere. By the end of the 6 themes, students have demonstrated course competencies through identifying their challenge, engaging stakeholders, evaluating potential solutions, performing conceptual and detailed design, prototyping, defining a business model, and plotting a path for delivery.

This presentation will share MOOC development and implementation at Clemson University during the Fall 2015 and Spring 2016 semesters. The authors are piloting a rubric to assess key competencies related to community-engaged scholarship. The rubric builds on best practices in assessment and evaluation of the five key GC scholar components, including research experience, interdisciplinary knowledge, entrepreneurial spirit, global perspective, and learning through service. Rubric assessment of student projects indicates that few teams excel in all five key competencies; illustrating areas where instructor involvement can help connect diverse skill sets, spur innovation, and provide increased opportunities for community engagement at local, national, and global scales.

Location

Room - 1220A

Start Date

4-14-2016 3:15 PM

End Date

4-14-2016 4:30 PM

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Apr 14th, 3:15 PM Apr 14th, 4:30 PM

Addressing Community Engagement through a Grand Challenge Service-Learning MOOC

Room - 1220A

To prepare the next generation of students to tackle 21st century challenges, education must commit to deepening student’s social consciousness and community engagement through exposure to societal problems in addition to teaching technical competencies. The National Academy of Engineering Grand Challenges (GCs) for Engineering and United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) offer context for exposing students to complex global challenges that require multidisciplinary solutions. In response to these challenges, many instructors have adopted the GCs and MDGs to educate a new generation of students equipped to tackle society’s most imminent problems.

Online platforms, such as massive open online courses (MOOCs), provide the unique opportunity to engage a wide array of students using minimal resources. MOOCs are often categorized as cMOOCs or xMOOCs; cMOOCs focus on creation, autonomy, and social networked learning, whereas xMOOCs take a more traditional approach to learning. xMOOCs have the benefit of mass exposure, but they are commonly criticized for limiting interaction and being rigid. Conversely, cMOOCs are fluid and encourage creativity, but they are criticized as lacking direction and vision.

The course discussed in this presentation combines cMOOCs and xMOOCs, attempting to eliminate common shortcomings, while amplifying the positive aspects using an active learning pedagogical medium. This provides the structured foundation and common ground for students to acquire technical skills, but allows the flexibility for the students to build collaboratively in a direction that is most engaging to them while obtaining a deep understanding of the topic and interacting with community that will benefit from their collaborations.

To provide opportunities for diverse interactions, students from all backgrounds are welcome to enroll in “Creatively Applying Science for Sustainability” course. The course teaches students the basics of sustainable design, the design process, and introductory business principles through a series of 6 structured themes. In tandem with learning these concepts, students work collaboratively in teams to address a societal challenge of their choosing. Students are encouraged to practice the technical skills and business principles they learned in a social atmosphere. By the end of the 6 themes, students have demonstrated course competencies through identifying their challenge, engaging stakeholders, evaluating potential solutions, performing conceptual and detailed design, prototyping, defining a business model, and plotting a path for delivery.

This presentation will share MOOC development and implementation at Clemson University during the Fall 2015 and Spring 2016 semesters. The authors are piloting a rubric to assess key competencies related to community-engaged scholarship. The rubric builds on best practices in assessment and evaluation of the five key GC scholar components, including research experience, interdisciplinary knowledge, entrepreneurial spirit, global perspective, and learning through service. Rubric assessment of student projects indicates that few teams excel in all five key competencies; illustrating areas where instructor involvement can help connect diverse skill sets, spur innovation, and provide increased opportunities for community engagement at local, national, and global scales.