Virtual Presence

Considering the success of our Lunch Colloquium webcasts in helping members of the Emeritus College to enjoy intellectual camaraderie, even at a distance from one another, we realize the virtual presence offered by participation in Massive Open Online Courses could be a valuable tool for facilitating engagement with one another and with still more topics of interest. Some of our members have already discovered the joys of MOOCs. (For more on MOOCs, click here to read a summary document, and read the following newsletter issues with articles on MOOCs: Volume 1 Issue No. 3, Volume 1 Issue No. 8 and Volume 1 Issue No. 12.) Excellent offerings abound in hundreds of fields, often free and housed in top tier universities. There are many different formats and platforms, but a typical lesson plan might feature a video presentation followed by a reading assignment with online links to the texts in question. Participants are invited to respond to the readings and lecture in discussion forums, which are usually monitored by course staff. Often there will be a writing assignment to be submitted for feedback. Of course, no one is required to do any of this, so all are free to pick and choose whichever elements interest them.

With this, the newest of the programs sponsored by the Mind Matters Committee, we aim to encourage members to enroll simultaneously in the same online courses so as to promote discussions both real (face-to-face) and virtual among EUEC “classmates.”