Wake Tech Is First Community College in U.S. to offer MOOC

Wake Tech Community College

October 22nd, 2012


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College Will Offer Free Online Course in Developmental Math

RALEIGH, N.C. (October 17, 2012) - It’s another first for Wake Tech Community College: Wake Tech is the first community college in the nation to experiment with a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). A MOOC is aimed at large-scale participation and open access via the web, and Wake Tech will begin offering one in developmental math in Spring 2013. The course will provide pre-algebra and beginning algebra in a modular format. There is no instructor; students navigate the material at their own pace and monitor their own progress through directed self-assessments. The MOOC will be free, and anyone can register.

“We believe this large-scale online format will be a game changer in community colleges and in higher education in general,” says Wake Tech President Dr. Stephen Scott, “and we think mathematics is the perfect place to start. The MOOC will allow us to deliver high-demand, high-impact courses to more people than ever before.”

Math has historically presented challenges for community college students. “Students can get lost – and discouraged – in a long sequence of developmental education courses,” says Bryan Ryan, Senior Vice President of Curriculum Education at Wake Tech, “and they can lose momentum on the road to their degree. The MOOC allows them to get ready for college courses and prepare to excel.”

Wake Tech’s MOOC will prepare students for better placement test outcomes; ultimately it may reduce the number of students who need remedial math classes. Content for the course will be created by a team of math instructors, videographers, computer simulators, and others. Wake Tech also intends to develop its own platform for offering entry-level courses as MOOCs and will invite other community colleges to use the platform for an affordable fee.  Wake Tech’s MOOC is an extension of the college’s Future Forward College initiative. “We see MOOCs as the future for reducing some early impediments to student progress and completion,” says Carol Cutler-White, Executive Director, Wake Tech Future Forward College. 

“MOOCs are currently being used by elite universities such as Stanford and Harvard to offer advanced courses to highly prepared students.  In delivering Massive Open Online Courses, Wake Tech—an open-door college with more than fifteen years of experience in online education—will truly bring high-demand, high-impact courses to the masses,” says Dr. Kai Wang, Senior Dean for Strategic Innovations.

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