Take These Award Winning MOOCs from MITx

By Denton Zhou | Updated July 16, 2017 (Originally Published July 16, 2017)

MIT's Office of Digital Learning awarded three winners this year in its first ever MITx Prize for Teaching and Learning in MOOCs. These awards recognize educators who helped develop and shape new innovations in online classrooms.

The review panel who decided the winners made considerations based on many factors, including:

  • Technology-, communication-, and assessment-based innovations
  • Contributions toward general best practices
  • Overall impact on the MOOC experience

We'll introduce each of these three winners briefly so you too can enroll in and enjoy the cutting edge of online courses.

8.01x Mechanics Series

This is the calculus-based physics course that all MIT undergrads are required to take. Newton's laws of motion, concepts of momentum, energy, and conservation laws, are covered in depth.

Why 8.01x won its award. Deepto Chakrabarty, Peter Dourmashkin, Saif Rayyan, and Michelle Tomasik, the instructors for this fantastic series, received praise for how they used lightboard technology to replicate classroom lectures and the new problem types they created for learning vector and force diagram problems online.

In addition to redesigning and rebuilding the course for an online audience, the team developed new tools for grading vector problems and free body diagrams.

Enrolling. The next session of 8.01x begins in September 2017, but you can save these courses to your list at OpenCourser or enroll now:

18.01x Calculus Series

This series, based on 18.01's curriculum, teaches single variable calculus. It's designed for undergraduates and high school students who want to get a head start on a core introductory level course and/or are preparing for the AP exams.

Why 18.01x won its award. For their new and innovative sketch tool, live-action videos, and exceptional course quality, David Jerison, Gigliola Staffiliani, Jennifer French, and Karene Chu won their award for 18.01x.

"The sketch tool allowed the team to automatically grade student-drawn functions, and accomplished one of the course’s stated goals: getting students to move fluidly between graphical and mathematical representations of functions. The live-action videos humanized the content by adding humor and tying discourse to real-world problems, which motivated students to engage with concepts in ways educators don’t often see."

18.01x will undoubtedly help millions of students in the sessions to come.

Enrolling. The next session of 18.01x just started for 1A with 1B beginning in November. 1C begins in March 2018. You can still enroll in 1A to catch up without losing any access to materials:

14.310x Data Analysis for Social Scientists

An entirely new creation, 14.310x teaches modern data analysis (estimation, regression, A/B testing, machine learning, etc.) and illustrates these concepts through real world examples.

Why 14.310x won its award. As anyone who's ever learned how to work with big data can tell you, its a difficult skill to develop. Professors Esther Duflo and Sara Ellison received recognition for balancing rigor and accessibility in helping students develop these skills through an online course.

Their aim with this course is to "give learners a quick start in developing tools to understand and carry out empirical research in social sciences." Students in this course learn to develop hands-on skills to put theory into practice over a "rigorous mathematical foundation."

Enrolling. 14.301x runs three times each year. The next session of this course begins on September 26, 2017 and you can enroll now:

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