The TIEs (and TIPs) that bind: Fostering massive open online communities

Posted on June 23rd, 2016

The University of Wisconsin-Madison supplemented the online experience of two of their MOOCs by including in-person activities. The first MOOC, “The Land Ethic Reclaimed: Perceptive Hunting, Aldo Leopold, and Conservation,” integrated targeted interactive events (TIE). Learners were given a crash course in handling and shooting rifles for hunting, a hands-on butchering and cooking demonstration, workshops, tours, public lectures, and more. The second MOOC, “Changing Weather and Climate in the Great Lakes Region,” included a targeted interactive partnership (TIP) with the Wisconsin Library Service and libraries around the state. Partners set up and promoted discussion groups at their libraries and instructors attended at least one library discussion in person. Participants in both types of events were found to have more appreciation for the learning experience and felt more connected to the university. The events and partnerships “provided a unique opportunity to bring new audiences to the MOOCS, including those who did not naturally gravitate toward virtual learning…and engage new audiences in their own community spaces.”