MOOCs for Faculty Professional Development with Learning Technologies in Higher Education

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Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) can engage large communities of learners in topics across fields of study. Despite speculation that MOOC numbers were in decline, the number of courses actually rose to 1,200+ last year (Nielson, 2014). Researchers from Harvard University, Tsinghua University, and MIT demonstrated that MOOCs can be as effective for learning outcomes as face-to-face courses (Schaffhauser, 2014). It is becoming clear that, “massive open online courses will not fundamentally reshape higher education, nor will they disappear altogether” (Kolowich, 2014, pp. 1). However, it has been predicted that MOOCs will improve the use of technology in higher education (Kolowich, 2014). Academic work is complex and ever changing in both research and teaching. Professors are experienced in their field of study, but are not usually as experienced as teachers who know the newest pedagogy and teaching methods using technology (Mundy, Kupczynski, Ellis & Salgado, 2011). New and experienced professors benefit from ongoing, continuous professional development for technology-enabled blended and online teaching and for graduate supervision. With many demands on their time, gathering professors together for professional learning is a challenge. MOOCs can provide an ideal learning environment for faculty to develop as online teachers and online graduate supervisors. This poster examines the benefits of MOOCs and the reasons why universities should adopt MOOCs for faculty professional development.