Catholic Distance Learning Network


Welcome to the Certification Course in Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) Design!

From 2013-2015, the Catholic Distance Learning Network offered a four-week Massive Open Online Course in MOOC Design.

What is a MOOC?

A MOOC, or Massive Open Online Course, is a course made freely available online to anyone with an interest in studying the topic on which it is focused. According to Alexander McAuley, Bonnie Stewart, George Siemens and Dave Cormier in "The MOOC Model for Digital Practice" (2010), a "MOOC integrates the connectivity of social networking, the facilitation of an acknowledged expert in a field of study, and a collection of freely accessible online resources."

The personality of a MOOC, therefore, comes not only from the superstructure put together by the acknowledged expert but also, and especially, by the participants within the MOOC who are the primary responders to one another's posts. For theological education, a MOOC has a particular advantage in its being small and lending itself to the actual engagement of the acknowledged expert around whose materials the MOOC has been developed. Click here to see a list of persons who have completed their certifications.

Why should theological education consider using MOOCs?

MOOCs are becoming fairly ubiquitous in the news and in the educational blogosphere, but they have not yet penetrated - with any great media coverage - the world of theological education. The reasons likely vary.

Some schools may consider themselves too small to benefit from developing the kinds of MOOCs that MIT is able to field, attracting 160,000 participants in a single term. Other schools might think the maintaining of a MOOC to be too expensive or complicated. Still others may feel that engaging in MOOCs would be a departure from their institutional missions.

The reality, though, is that MOOCs provide opportunities that our world is missing out on, namely the extension of the institutional mission, the attraction and retention of students, and the earned media coverage that an institution’s merely offering a MOOC can bring.

Module 1:  MOOC Design

Activities: Fundamentals of topic selection and storyboarding.

Module 2: MOOC Development

Activities: Fundamentals of content modulation, discussion prompt creation, and quiz design on

Module 3: MOOC Implementation

Activity: Fundamentals of actually running a MOOC from the day it opens to the day it closes, including methods of engagement, of ensuring retention, of tracking student progress, of identifying and addressing trouble areas, etc.

Module 4: MOOC Marketing

Activity: Fundamentals of marketing the MOOC through various social media to identify and attract your primary constituents.

Last Updated September 30, 2015.  © Catholic Distance Learning Network.