MOOCs can be expensive to produce, especially if there is a lot of custom content and well-produced video. Although great videos are not essential to a good MOOC, they can certainly help, especially when it comes to humanities. Many universities are putting in significant effort to produce high quality videos with dedicated media studios and staff. Thus, it is significant news that a MOOC has been nominated for an Emmy Award in the Best Instructional Programming category. The Kennedy Half Century, offered by the University of Virginia via the Coursera platform was announced this week.
The course is taught by Prof. Larry Sabato, Director for the UCA Center for Politics, who published a book by the same name.
Kennedy Half Century trailer
Some have described MOOCs as a new type of digital textbook. This course has recently been made available on-demand, so that people can take it at any time. This, along with the high production quality make it a good example of one type of ‘digital textbook’, that happens to be free. MOOCs are still fairly new, especially to the mainstream media, and it is a nice milestone to have one recognized for quality with an Emmy nomination. May there be many more.
Excellent course! Through four weeks Professor Larry J. Sabato and the University of Virginia offer an outstanding course on the President of the United States John Fitzgerald Kennedy. The life and legacy of one of the most charismatic political leaders, who helped to shape the world we live in. Review By Helga Maria Saboia Bezerra
Let us leave you with this thought: If you told John F. Kennedy, when he was President, that in about 50 years a University of Virginia politics professor would write a 624-page book about him and his influence, joining a shelf of similar books, would he be surprised? Probably not (being from the Northeast, he was aware of his own importance). But if you told him that at that time there would be a virtual class offered for free about him, accessible by not just millions, but theoretically by billions, would that surprise him? Probably yes (but he’d still play it cool…).