One team’s effort to take higher education online.

From the start, the KIE’s Introduction to Bioethics MOOC was conceived as a thoughtful experiment at the frontiers of higher education. The MOOC was one of Georgetown’s first, awarded this privilege in large part because of the team’s willingness to design a brand-new curriculum for the online platform, its enterprising and creative spirit, and its commitment to rigorous documentation and assessment. We wanted our mistakes as well as our successes to pave the way for future generations of MOOCs, at Georgetown and beyond.

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One of our most public efforts in this direction was our blog, Making the MOOC, a simple stream of postcards from the MOOC team as we forged ahead through the full year of planning that preceded our April 15, 2014 launch.

MOOC milestones 2.0

Learning from our learners.

In addition to pre- and post-course surveys of our entire global classroom, the KIE made use of relationships with three learning groups a bit closer to home to conduct more extensive qualitative surveys: a group of older learners in Florida, most of whom were taking a MOOC for the first time; a large cohort of high-school students from Kent Place School in New Jersey, who took the course to supplement their school curriculum and prepare for college; and a smaller group of parents, teachers, and community members in New Jersey who participated alongside the high-schoolers. Our relationships with these groups taught us a tremendous amount about how to tweak and enhance the student learning experience for the next iteration of the MOOC.

travis KPS 3travis KPS 1

The relationships themselves were enhanced for the high-school students and adults who were visited by course fellow Travis Rieder for in-person discussion facilitation at their school. You can learn more about the KIE’s partnership with KPS here, and more about the students’ experience — including a capstone visit to the KIE’s EthicsLab for a design-driven feedback session in which students created their own miniature MOOC segments.

The next iteration of the live course began April 15, 2015.

Updated and expanded — with ten weeks of content and a brand new, custom-built platform designed to house lectures, readings, quizzes, and a sophisticated discussion board — the second iteration of the course is oriented around five key themes in bioethics: respecting autonomy, ethics and the human body, ethics at the beginning of life, ethics at the end of life, and global bioethics.

Introduction to Bioethics MOOC at Georgetown, 2015 version

You can register for the course here, and explore existing course content on our custom-built platform. Follow @BioethicsMOOC on Twitter and the KIE Facebook page for updates during the live course run, and access course content as an auditor any time in the year to come.

We are proud to continue this experiment in global learning with a new cohort of students.