MOOC 101 – What is a Self-Paced MOOC? by David S. Krause

Dr. David Krause (Director of the Applied Investment Management program at Marquette University) is the instructor for the course: Introduction to Applied Investing. This a free, self-paced MOOC (massive open online course) that is offered on the Canvas Network.

Self-pacing means that there are no group assignments or peer review – and that you are able to move at your own speed. The course has been designed for a student to complete one Module per week; however, you are free to maintain your own pace so long as you complete the course by July 2014.

The course does not require you to post or contribute to any of the discussions – your participation is purely voluntary. Active participation with the discussion groups, however, is encouraged and will help to expand your opportunity for further learning. Feel free to participate with your questions and comments via the course discussion board, through this blog, or with social media (i.e. Twitter). At a minimum, it is suggested that you follow the discussions within the course to enhance your online learning experience.

We understand that most students enrolled in a MOOC have a busy life that probably includes classes, a day job and other commitments – so working at your own speed is valuable. Therefore, this course has been structured to operate in a linear, self-paced manner. While the short video lectures are pre-recorded, this course blog is real-time. I’ll be offering ‘side bar’ postings related to the content and I will provide a running commentary on timely, investment-related topics of the day.

Here are some of my thoughts about why this is self-paced, rather a traditional controlled course:

  • You should be able to control your own progress. This means that you can view the lectures, blogs and discussions on your own time – before work, lunchtime, during a boring meeting, on the weekends, while working out, etc.
  • There are no group assignments or required postings. While I am a strong believer in the value of peer learning, with a self-paced course you can focus on how and when you learn best. In other words, you control the timing and volume level of the course.
  • Depending upon each student’s interest, prior knowledge and experience with the topic, it is possible to spend a lot or a little time with the material. In most cases, I have added external video links allowing you to explore each topic in greater depth if you wish – again at your own pace. And don’t just skip over these because they are not required – many have rich content.
  • The assessments or quizzes also appear in a linear manner. In other words, you must get a passing grade (at least a 70% score on a quiz) to move to the next lesson; however, you can take the quizzes as many times as you wish, only your last score is considered.

Discussion boards play an important role in massive open online courses like this Introduction to Applied Investing. If you have trouble understanding a topic, you can turn to the forum for help. And after you’ve mastered the material, you can contribute to the discussions and help out your fellow students. While I won’t have time to carefully monitor each comment on the discussion forums, I will check in and answer questions periodically.

Hopefully you will enjoy the independence afforded by this self-paced MOOC.

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