Engaging Communities using a MOOC combined with Public Library Discussions

Tuesday, 15 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Steven A Ackerman1, Margaret E Mooney2, Joshua Morrill1, Zachary Handlos1 and Stef Morrill3, (1)University of Wisconsin Madison, Madison, WI, United States, (2)Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies, Madison, WI, United States, (3)Wisconsin Library Services, Madison, United States
A massive open online course, or MOOC, is an noncredit education activity that delivers learning content to anyone with access to the Internet. Individual courses are generally free of charge, while a certificate can have small costs. The University of Wisconsin-Madison has exploring the use of MOOC as part of its Wisconsin Idea. In the 2015, a series of MOOCs focusing on the environment were offered via Coursera. One of those MOOCS was “Changing Weather and Climate of the Great Lakes Region.”

This 4-week course features a new season each week through short lectures and activities covering Great Lakes weather, observed changes in the climate, and societal impacts of climate change. (https://www.coursera.org/course/greatlakesclimate) The MOOC conveyed information from NOAA’s National Weather Service (NWS) Weather-Ready Nation initiative as well as findings from the recent National Climate Assessment and the Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts (WICCI). The course was organized by members of the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences and the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies; material included discussion, videos for lectures as well as guest lecturers. There were also weekly visits by the course team to 21 public libraries throughout the state of WI. The library collaboration as facilitated by WiLS (Wisconsin Library Services – wils.org), who organized the application and selection process. The public libraries hosted local residents and course instructors in discussions of course content in the context of their communities as well as strategies to mitigate the climate change impacts.

This presentation will discuss the public library discussions experience and the our evaluation of the impact of including a face-to-face component in the MOOC activity on engagement and learning.