Click here to close now.

SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Yeshim Deniz, Liz McMillan, Roger Strukhoff

News Feed Item

Instructure, UC Irvine Reveal Results of 'The Walking Dead' MOOC

- First-of-its-kind massive open online course attracts more than 65,000 global participants

SALT LAKE CITY, Jan. 9, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Instructure today announced key findings from its massive open online course based on the hit TV show "The Walking Dead," a joint production with AMC and the University of California, Irvine that attracted more than 65,000 users around the world over its eight-week run.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20121101/SF04201LOGO)

Titled "Society, Science, Survival: Lessons from AMC's 'The Walking Dead,'" the MOOC was offered for free on Instructure's MOOC platform, Canvas Network, and explored a wide range of scholarly topics through the lens of a hypothetical zombie apocalypse. A survey of the online course's participants received more than 12,000 responses and delivered several new insights for the MOOC community.

Among the survey's most illuminating insights was that the course tapped into a new market for pop culture-infused online learning by reaching thousands of people outside of the core MOOC-taking audience. Instructure's survey found that nearly nine in 10 of the survey respondents had never taken a MOOC before and 59 percent of respondents had never enrolled in an online course.

"This initiative was an experiment to determine whether a pop-culture MOOC in a multidisciplinary format would create a compelling academic experience. The answer — an unequivocal 'yes,'" said Instructure co-founder Brian Whitmer. "This different audience provided us with new insights that will shape the way we approach designing and developing MOOCs going forward. By acting as a springboard for exploring academic ideas in contemporary media, this course illustrates the potential for pop culture to serve as a modern-day literature review."

Additional key findings from the survey revealed that the online course provided both a highly entertaining and rich academic experience for participants.

Learning for learning's sake
The survey found that 90 percent of respondents learned something they would have not otherwise considered studying. The high-profile nature of the MOOC not only drew in first-timers, but also encouraged a spirit of independent, self-driven learning.

Experiment in online pedagogy
The MOOC took a novel approach to online learning, releasing a new course topic each week in subjects ranging from public health and social sciences to mathematics and physics. This multi-disciplinary approach appealed to the survey respondents, as 55 percent reported interest in possibly taking other multidisciplinary courses on Canvas Network in the future as opposed to standard, single topic courses. Because participants resonated with different themes and professors, "The Walking Dead" MOOC highlights the success of teaching a multitude of academic concepts under an overarching theme.

High level of engagement
Four in five respondents reported spending more than one hour each week on the course, diving deep into academic content connected with pop culture. This statistic reveals that participants actually spent more time in the course than they did watching the show.

Increased fan engagement
The survey's findings also suggest clear incentives for content producers like AMC to increase their involvement in MOOCs. After taking the course, 60 percent of survey respondents said they became a bigger fan of "The Walking Dead," and 73 percent said they had more fun watching the show, indicating a strong endorsement for blending education and entertainment.

"As an accomplished academic and an adult learner, it was exciting to see how popular culture provided a unique context for teaching and learning. It was clear to me that physics can be fun when engaging with zombies," said Janice Koch, Ph.D., professor emerita at Hofstra University and a course participant. "The best part of this format is that it made watching television an active experience, one that was both intellectual and worthwhile."

The MOOC was taught by a multidisciplinary team of UC Irvine faculty: Zuzana Bic, public health; Joanne Christopherson, social sciences; Michael Dennin, physics; and Sarah Eichhorn, mathematics. UC Irvine plans to conduct academic research around the course.

"As a faculty member, this course presented a fun challenge to recast traditional academic content in the framework of a pop culture show," said Sarah Eichhorn, assistant chair for undergraduate studies in mathematics at UC Irvine and one of the MOOC's instructors. "UC Irvine has a rich tradition of involvement in open education, and this course represented a unique opportunity for us to bring academic content to a new population, who without 'The Walking Dead' as a teaching resource might not have sought out such a learning experience."

The key findings from the report can be downloaded at http://www.instructure.com/downloads/twd-mooc-feedback.pdf

About Instructure:
Instructure is a technology company committed to improving education. Instructure provides instructors and students modern tools and resources that empower and simplify the learning experience. Instructure offers Canvas, the open, easy-to-use, cloud-native learning management system, as well as Canvas Network, an index of open, online courses by educators everywhere, from Ivy League institutions to community colleges. To keep learning visit www.instructure.com.

About the University of California, Irvine:
The University of California, Irvine was the first University of California campus–and West Coast University–to join the OCW Consortium. UC Irvine's membership in the OCW Consortium is consistent with its public- and land-grant missions and its desire to play a significant role in contributing to the social welfare of the state, the nation and the world. Open educational resources (OER) showcase the University's high quality education and makes courses and course materials free for everyone in the world. UC Irvine's OCW is a large-scale, Web-based resource that houses educational assets that are discoverable, searchable, modifiable, and, best of all, free and easily available. Through the OCW movement, UC Irvine provides University-quality courses and learning assets to populations of self-learners that are underserved and in many cases, unable to participate in formal education at a university. This site also offers access to UC Irvine's online continuing education offerings. For more information about UC Irvine's OCW initiative, visit http://ocw.uci.edu/, e-mail [email protected] or follow us at Twitter.com/UCI_OCW and Facebook (UC Irvine OpenCourseWare).

Contacts
Devin Knighton, Director of Public Relations at Instructure 
(801) 722-8187 | [email protected] 
Twitter: @devinknighton | www.instructure.com 

Brad Plothow, Method Communications 
(801) 461-9777 | [email protected]

SOURCE Instructure

More Stories By PR Newswire

Copyright © 2007 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PRNewswire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of PRNewswire. PRNewswire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

Latest Stories
of cloud, colocation, managed services and disaster recovery solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. TierPoint, LLC, is a leading national provider of information technology and data center services, including cloud, colocation, disaster recovery and managed IT services, with corporate headquarters in St. Louis, MO. TierPoint was formed through the strategic combination of some of t...
Cryptography has become one of the most underappreciated, misunderstood components of technology. It’s too easy for salespeople to dismiss concerns with three letters that nobody wants to question. ‘Yes, of course, we use AES.’ But what exactly are you trusting to be the ultimate guardian of your data? Let’s face it – you probably don’t know. An organic, grass-fed Kobe steak is a far cry from a Big Mac, but they’re both beef, right? Not exactly. Crypto is the same way. The US government require...
For years, we’ve relied too heavily on individual network functions or simplistic cloud controllers. However, they are no longer enough for today’s modern cloud data center. Businesses need a comprehensive platform architecture in order to deliver a complete networking suite for IoT environment based on OpenStack. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Dhiraj Sehgal from PLUMgrid will discuss what a holistic networking solution should really entail, and how to build a complete platform that is scalable...
The industrial software market has treated data with the mentality of “collect everything now, worry about how to use it later.” We now find ourselves buried in data, with the pervasive connectivity of the (Industrial) Internet of Things only piling on more numbers. There’s too much data and not enough information. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Bob Gates, Global Marketing Director, GE’s Intelligent Platforms business, to discuss how realizing the power of IoT, software developers are now focu...
SYS-CON Events announced today Sematext Group, Inc., a Brooklyn-based Performance Monitoring and Log Management solution provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's DevOps Summit 2015 New York, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Sematext is a globally distributed organization that builds innovative Cloud and On Premises solutions for performance monitoring, alerting and anomaly detection (SPM), log management and analytics (Logsene), search analytics (S...
DevOps is a seismic change for organizations that offers great potential but comes with technical and cultural implications that can be difficult to navigate. In his session at DevOps Summit, Jeremy Steinert, DevOps Services Practice Lead at WSM International, will discuss best practices for successful DevOps deployments that create accountability, ensure secure access controls and create buy-in at all levels. He will include specific examples of successful DevOps deployments and the results a...
Hadoop as a Service (as offered by handful of niche vendors now) is a cloud computing solution that makes medium and large-scale data processing accessible, easy, fast and inexpensive. In his session at Big Data Expo, Kumar Ramamurthy, Vice President and Chief Technologist, EIM & Big Data, at Virtusa, will discuss how this is achieved by eliminating the operational challenges of running Hadoop, so one can focus on business growth. The fragmented Hadoop distribution world and various PaaS soluti...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Stratoscale, the new data center operating system, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Based in Herzeliya, Israel, Stratoscale is redefining the data center, developing a hardware-agnostic, software platform hyper-converging compute, storage and networking across the rack or data center. The self-optimizing platform automatically distributes all physical...
When an enterprise builds a hybrid IaaS cloud connecting its data center to one or more public clouds, security is often a major topic along with the other challenges involved. Security is closely intertwined with the networking choices made for the hybrid cloud. Traditional networking approaches for building a hybrid cloud try to kludge together the enterprise infrastructure with the public cloud. Consequently this approach requires risky, deep "surgery" including changes to firewalls, subnets...
SYS-CON Media announced today that Blue Box as launched a popular blog feed on Cloud Computing Journal. Cloud Computing Journal aims to help open the eyes of Enterprise IT professionals to the economics and strategies that utility/cloud computing provides. Blue Box Cloud gives you unequaled agility, without the burden of designing, deploying and managing your own infrastructure. It’s the right choice when public cloud just won’t do. Blue Box Cloud is a managed Private Cloud as a Service (...
In the consumer IoT, everything is new, and the IT world of bits and bytes holds sway. But industrial and commercial realms encompass operational technology (OT) that has been around for 25 or 50 years. This grittier, pre-IP, more hands-on world has much to gain from Industrial IoT (IIoT) applications and principles. But adding sensors and wireless connectivity won’t work in environments that demand unwavering reliability and performance. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ron Sege, CEO of Echelon...
MeriTalk, a public-private partnership focused on improving the outcomes of government IT, today announced the results of its new report, "The Agile Advantage: Can DevOps Move Cloud to the Fast Lane?" The study, underwritten by Accenture Federal Services, reveals that approximately two-thirds of Feds say DevOps will help agencies shift into the cloud fast lane - improving IT collaboration and migration speed. But help is needed, with 66 percent saying that their agency needs to move IT services ...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo in Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading in...
The true value of the Internet of Things (IoT) lies not just in the data, but through the services that protect the data, perform the analysis and present findings in a usable way. With many IoT elements rooted in traditional IT components, Big Data and IoT isn’t just a play for enterprise. In fact, the IoT presents SMBs with the prospect of launching entirely new activities and exploring innovative areas. CompTIA research identifies several areas where IoT is expected to have the greatest impac...
Wearable devices have come of age. The primary applications of wearables so far have been "the Quantified Self" or the tracking of one's fitness and health status. We propose the evolution of wearables into social and emotional communication devices. Our BE(tm) sensor uses light to visualize the skin conductance response. Our sensors are very inexpensive and can be massively distributed to audiences or groups of any size, in order to gauge reactions to performances, video, or any kind of present...