Coursera MOOC on EFL/ESL

Elizabeth Hanson Smith, Jeff Magato and Deborah Healey are hosting a five-week MOOC on teaching EFL or ESL at Coursera starting April 7. It is free and a great way for teachers to learn about MOOCs as well as polish their skills for the classroom. I will post more as the course starts. But do, join in.

Click on image to go to course.
Click on image to go to course.

I just finished one of the top 3 MOOCs I have ever taken (been doing this 6 years now) at Coursera, History and Future of (Mostly) Higher Ed, lead by Cathy Davidson, about tech and education. This was put together well, as well as the one on Gamification, by Kevin Werbach.

The other of the top 3? ETMOOC, in 2013 and the original Connectivism and Connective Knowledge (CCK 2008). These last two are what are called cMOOCs, that rely more on participation and self organization.

Someone said that the difference between xMOOCs (like Edx and Coursera) and cMOOCs (connectivist MOOCs) is that in xMOOCs you watch a video. In cMOOCs you make a video.


How Cloud Computing should be Changing our Pedagogy


One of the most amazing technological advances in recent years, in my opinion, is cloud computing. However, as teachers we have only just begun to see its implications.

For those of us in homogeneous EFL environments, like Japan, getting students to communicate with each other spontaneously using the target language is one of the biggest challenges we face. And yet, we have opportunity to circumvent this obstacle using technology.

Imagine an ELF (English as a Lingua Franca) environment where students from different countries are being matched within a project group. Target language communication would be a must in this situation. Impossible?

Continue reading “How Cloud Computing should be Changing our Pedagogy”


U.C. Berkeley MOOC: College Writing for Learners of English

edx3MOOC’s have become nearly an overnight phenomenon, from educational rock-stars like Salman Khan, to infinitely less impressive fee based courses brandishing suspiciously self-capitulating titles such as Learn How to Make Money Teaching Online as a Professor. However, in the midst of the money changers and philanthropists lies the mecca of all MOOCs–the MIT and Harvard co-founded

With offerings from the worlds academic A-list, an exciting array of disciplines to choose from and certificates of achievement bearing the name of your alma mater, the edX community of MOOCs puts all others to shame–all for the low, low price of absolutely nothing. And now, through, learners of English can take a college level introductory writing course from U.C. Berkeley ESL instructor Dr. Maggie Sokolik.

I am currently auditing the course to get an insight into the process of such a MOOC, and to see what I can learn from Dr. Sokolik’s teaching methods.  One thing I have noticed so far, just looking at the learning community surrounding Dr. Sokolik’s course, is the use of the on-line discussion forum by English language learners from all over the globe. It is wonderful to see students from Kyrgyzstan to Amsterdam banding together as a community of on-line language learners. Could this be the future of education?

Dr. Sokolik’s course is 5 weeks long. Interested students can register with edX and try for a certificate bearing the Berkeley X insignia. If the certificate does not interest your students the course can simply be audited. EdX courses recycle and improve, so if you missed your window you can try again the next time the course recirculates. berkelyX