MOOCs and Museums: Not Such Strange Bedfellows


Lisa Mazzola, The Museum of Modern Art, USA , Robert Steiner, American Museum of Natural History, USA, Jean Cheng, Exploratorium, USA

The topic of MOOC’s (Massive Open Online Courses) continues to be a hotbed of debate and dialogue. Until recently, the discussion about MOOCS has been exclusively within the context of higher education. This past spring that changed when The Museums of Modern Art , The American Museum of Natural History and the Exploratorium teamed up with the MOOC provider Coursera to offer professional development for K–12 teachers all over the world. During this professional discussion forum, staff from the Museum of Modern Art , the American Museum of Natural History, and the Exploratorium will share their experiences developing the first Museum MOOCs. Each institution will discuss their design process, pedagogical approach and evaluation strategies and outcomes, as well as the opportunities and challenges found in developing content for this unique context. We will also discuss the ways in which what we learned from the MOOC impacts and influences current practice and digital strategy. The presentation will be followed by a question and answer period and a discussion framed by the following questions:

Is your institution considering the MOOC model? What are the factors at work in support of (or against) this model?

How can MOOCs allow us to reach (and serve) new audiences in ways that we are not currently?

In what ways can the development of MOOCs influence the development of digital strategy and institutional policy around content sharing and online resources?

What potential impact does the proliferation of museum MOOCs have on our field?

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