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New online course format

“Self-paced” MOOCs

München, 06/27/2014

A year ago, LMU made its first set of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) available on the Internet. The venture has proven to be highly successful. So far, approximately 320,000 in more than 200 countries have taken part in one of the five online courses offered by LMU. All the courses can be accessed on Coursera, currently the largest platform for MOOCs internationally, and the one with most thematically diverse program. As one of three universities worldwide, LMU is now participating in the development of a new online course format with Coursera.

Coursera - Foto: lisegagne /

LMU’s prompt engagement with MOOCs was motivated by three main considerations: It provided the opportunity to explore the potential of new formats for interactive learning, to actively participate in a promising and innovative technological and social development, and to make a significant contribute to its further extension and refinement. MOOCs are essentially videotaped lecture courses, supplemented by interactive exercises and online tests for regular evaluation of each student’s progress. The participants can also use various online discussion forums to form mutual support groups and deepen their grasp of the course material. The present courses begin on a set starting date, and one teaching module is uploaded onto the platform each week over the course of (usually) six weeks. Each unit is monitored by teaching assistants, who are responsible for answering inquiries and moderating the discussions on the corresponding forum. At the end of the course, the content is withdrawn from the platform.

The new MOOC format now under development, the Self-paced Online Course, is designed to cater for students who would prefer to acquaint themselves with their chosen topic in their own time and at their own speed. Only three universities worldwide are now providing courses in this new format: Stanford University, Ohio State University – and LMU. Thus, LMU’s introductory course on “Competitive Strategy”, designed and presented by Professor Tobias Kretschmer, is now accessible to registered users in the new form. The course content has been appropriately adapted and reconfigured into six modules, each lasting for about an hour.

The new format and the outlines of future cooperation between LMU and were the central topics of discussions with one of the founders of the Coursera platform, Daphne Koller, who visited LMU yesterday. In addition to her talks with LMU President Professor Bernd Huber, Ms. Koller met LMU faculty members who prepared and produced LMU’s MOOCs.