Monday, May 11, 2015

“Functional Programming in Erlang” MOOC pilot

It’s all very peculiar.

We’ve been working flat out to get the pilot MOOC on Functional Programming in Erlang up and running at Kent, we have signed up over 500 participants, and it just went live 20 minutes ago. Rather like sending a book manuscript off to the publishers, it has all gone quiet, and we're waiting to see what's going to happen. I should tell you who the “we” are: apart from me, there’s Mark O'Connor, who is Distance Learning Technologist for the university, and Stephen Adams, who is TA for the course and who is a PhD student in computer science here.

This pilot is part of a bigger plan, which includes supporting our face-to-face teaching of Erlang at Kent, as well as putting out a set of Master Classes in Erlang by Joe Armstrong, one of the inventors of Erlang, Francesco Cesarini, founder of Erlang Solutions Ltd, and me. These will be coming shortly. This K-MOOCs project is being supported by the University of Kent as part of its Beacon Projects initiative, which is in celebration of the University’s fiftieth anniversary.

We recorded the master classes in a studio with green screen etc, to try that out, and these are in the final stages of production, but the majority of the MOOC lectures are more “home made” and were recorded on my MacBook Pro, using the built in audio and video facilities, and Kent’s lecture recording facilities that are powered by Panopto . Given that “available tech” approach, we’ve been pleased with the results (but our participants may choose to differ!).

In getting the MOOC planned and executed, Mark has been tireless in providing infrastructure, in getting me to plan, in editing and in feeding back on all the activities. We’ve also really benefitted from advice and help from Mike McCracken of Georgia Tech, who has pioneered their online CS courses and MOOCs. Without Mike’s advice about how to script the course in advance, implementation would have been so much more difficult.

As it is, we’ve got the course in place. I’ll be adding a few finishing touches – more quizzes! – today, but really we’re waiting to see how people get on with what’s there. I’ll aim to blog some more as the pilot runs, and we see how it all works out.

1 comment:

  1. And if you're interested in following this MOOC when we run it again, send a mail to mooc HYPHEN erlang AT kent DOT ac DOT uk