Dartmouth to Host Symposium on MOOCs and the Humanities


On Oct. 16 the College will host “Catalyzing Community: A Humanities Symposium on Digital Learning and Engagement” from 1-5 p.m. in Dartmouth Hall Room 105.

The symposium will address what it means to teach arts and humanities disciplines for global audiences such as those made possible by massive open online (MOOC) platforms—exploring ways both to scale learning opportunities in these disciplines to larger audiences and adapt digital learning strategies in traditional residential classroom settings.

Open to the public, the event will bring together Dartmouth faculty as well as faculty from Harvard, Colgate, and the University of Pennsylvania who have taught MOOCS in arts and humanities.

Steve Swayne, the Jacob H. Strauss 1922 Professor of Music, will speak on “Making bee-yOO-tiful musiC” with MOOCS. Swayne’s DartmouthX course “Introduction to Italian Opera”—also known as “OperaX”—launches on Oct. 13.

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While OperaX is the third MOOC produced through Dartmouth’s partnership with nonprofit online learning consortium edX, it will be the first in the arts and humanities. (Registration for OperaX is still open.)

Donald Pease, the Ted and Helen Geisel Third Century Professor in the Humanities, and James Dobson, a lecturer in the Institute of Writing and Rhetoric and the English department, will both present. The two are co-teaching the DartmouthX course “Literature of the American Renaissance,” scheduled to launch in spring 2016.

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Pease will discuss how designing the MOOC has influenced his approach to teaching the subject matter, and Dobson will address how MOOCS are affecting teaching and learning in the classroom.

Following the symposium, there will be a reception in the Arts and Humanities Resource Center.

The symposium is sponsored by DartmouthX, Educational Technologies, the Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning (DCAL), the Friends of the Dartmouth College Library, the Leslie Center for the Humanities, the Department of English, and the MALS Program.

Two DartmouthX courses—“Introduction to Environmental Science,” taught by Andrew Friedland, the Richard and Jane Pearl Professor in Environmental Studies, and “The Engineering of Structures Around Us,” with Vicki May, an associate professor at Thayer School of Engineering—launched last year.

Hannah Silverstein, MALS '09