MOOCs (Massive Open On-line Courses) at Sapienza

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C. Cosmelli
Sapienza Universit di Roma, Italy
Forum 2014 Helsinki
WG3 : Global challenges in physics education

MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) are open, distance learning courses, designed for a large number of students. MOOCs are realized on different platforms COURS- ERA started by Stanford University, EdX by Yale university - all sharing an ad hoc platform such as to receive up to 100 000 connections, to provide free and easy ac- cess to video, test, exams, and other sources of interactions among the students and the teachers. La Sapienza has been taking part in the MOOC challenge since 2013, offer- ing the Course “The world view of Relativity and Quantum Mechanic” the first MOOC course offered in Italian - with Italian subititles; next year the course will be offered with subtitles also in English, Spanish and Chinese.

The course, at the level of high-school students, was attended by nearly 6 000 students, 53% not from Italy The course has been followed by different typology of students:

�from one 10 years old young person with severe learning difficulties to whom the course had been recommended as therapy, to full classes of high school students.

�high School teachers

�University students from non-scientific Faculties (Philosophy)

�Former university students

�Professionals of others disciplines scientific or not (Engineering, Informatics, Medicine, Psychology, Music).

Among the 6 000 students beginning the course we had 40% students ending the course. It is a very high value compared with the average of 10% for such a type of teaching. We had strong interactions with the students, with more than 850 e-mails exchanged between the teacher and the students, a blog created by the students, a list of alternative tests to deepen the knowledge or just to clarify some points. This turned the course from simple knowledge containers and providers into real collaborative learning envi- ronments. The experiment will continue offering courses to help the “bridge” from high school to university, for the technical faculty, offering “Precalculus” free courses.