The College of Education Department of Learning Design and Technology (LTEC) conducted its first ever Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). Introduction to E-Learning is a newer online model that combines the ability to deliver courses on a large scale with a focus on sustaining community. The course, which ran from July 7–31, 2014, is featured in Delta Sky’s October 2014 issue in an article titled The Social Club.

Taken as a regular LTEC course for university credit or for free without, the MOOC is research-based and filled with practical suggestions. There were 64 students, including beginners to online learning and teaching; university faculty and staff interested in enhancing their own instruction; and IT personnel looking for professional development, who registered for the inaugural course.

Developed in conjunction with the COE’s Distance Course Design and Consulting (DCDC) group, Introduction to E-Learning uses open content with a copyright license from Creative Commons, which enables the sharing and use of creativity and knowledge through free legal tools. During the course, students work in a transparent community, via social media, in real time and on their own. Instructors, Michael Menchaca and Jonathan Kevan, also built in an evaluation system through which students rate assignments and provide feedback about the instructors who then make immediate changes.

Each module serves as a step toward the culminating project, an original online design. These final projects automatically become part of a growing resource of publicly available material. The designs produced by the first group of students included everything from an introduction to computer programs to grooming tips as well as a multitude of instructional guides for writing, disability studies, robotics, language acquisition, and game-based learning among others.

Student evaluations of the course included the following statements:  “The site design was PHENOMENAL, and I really appreciated the interactive nature, the layout, and the ease of navigation… This class was one of the best designed classes that I have taken in the program. I was able to easily see how each component fit with the rest and the relevancy was obvious.”

An interview with Menchaca about the MOOC leads The Social Club article, which looks at Web 2.0 technologies and their effectiveness in distance learning. The article includes an impressive roster of educational technology colleagues and experts from universities and institutes around the world and suggests that social media may be the bridge between in-person classrooms and traditional distance learning.

For more information and to pre-register for the spring course, please visit the Introduction to E-Learning page (

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