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An Update on MOOCs

Since May, more than 115,000 people worldwide have learned from two of Case Western Reserve’s top professors through the university’s first MOOCs, or massive open online courses.

Distinguished University ProfessorRichard Boyatzis, the H.R. Horvitz Professor of Family Business and professor of organizational behavior, taught more than 90,000 people from 188 countries in his course, “Inspiring Leadership Through Emotional Intelligence,” while Michael Scharf, associate dean of global legal studies, led more than 25,000 students in his course, “Introduction to International Law.” Enrollment for both was much higherthan expected.

Participants ranged from high school students to business professionals. The courses, run through the online learning platform Coursera, include lectures, interactive discussion groups and exams.

After the first round of courses, Fortune 500 companies have expressed interestin executive education programs at the Weatherhead School of Management andin inviting Boyatzis to bring his course to their businesses. Meanwhile, the Association of Journalists at the International Criminal Court recommended Scharf’s class as background coursework for its members.

The classes also provided a glimpse into how on-campus education at Case Western Reserve might evolve. Scharf, for one, plans to use the course’s online simulations as in-class role-play exercises, while Boyatzis believes the MOOC approach could replace up to half the time spent in class learning basic principles—leaving more time for in-depth discussion or expanded learning opportunities.New sessions of Boyatzis’ and Scharf’s courses will begin in October, and the university hopes to roll out at least three new courses in coming months.