Virtual School Meanderings

March 17, 2013

PRESS RELEASE: Massive Open Online Course Offered by UMass Boston to Feature the First Adaptive MOOC Technology

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Massive Open Online Course Offered by UMass Boston to Feature the First Adaptive MOOC Technology

Enables Students To Be Taught According to Individual Learning Strategies


(Boston, MA) – February 27, 2013 – If you’ve ever been in a course and struggled because you just aren’t “getting it,” the reason might be less your ability than the way in which the material is being presented.

New technology is now allowing online course environments to analyze how individual students learn, customizing instruction to individualized learning strategies. The College of Advancing and Professional Studies (CAPS) at the University of Massachusetts Boston has teamed up with USDLA 21st Century Sponsor, Synaptic Global Learning (SGL), to use the new learning management system, Adaptive Mobile Online Learning (AMOL), to deliver the first adaptive Massive Online Open Course (a-MOOC) ever offered. The course launches March 25.

“Molecular Dynamics for Computational Discoveries In Science,” will be taught by Nishikant Sonwalkar, a scientist, academician and adjunct professor of physics at UMass Boston. Sonwalkar, who teaches on both the graduate and undergraduate level, has a long history of success as an educational innovator. His company, Synaptic Global Learning, sought UMass Boston as a partner to leverage UMB’s reputation for excellence in eLearning design and to extend UMB’s mission as a public university. Sonwalkar and SGL are providing use of the AMOL learning platform cost-free to UMass Boston, and the course is open to anyone with an Internet connection, anywhere in the world, at no charge.

“It is about eliminating the fear and frustration so many experience as they learn,” says Sonwalkar. “The course name alone might scare off some, but the MOOC assumes no prior knowledge and virtually will hold the students’ hands as they go through the materials, analyzing learning strategies then adapting a teaching approach to raise each student’s level of success. This accessible MOOC is the first of its kind.”

“MOOCs are popping up all over the country, from the most prestigious colleges and universities to smaller schools,” says Alan Girelli, the Director of the Center for Innovation and eLearning at CAPS. “What’s unique is that this MOOC employs brain-based adaptive learning technology to teach each learner as he or she learns best.” Sonwalkar adds that “one size does not fit all” but he maintains that “changing the pedagogy as we’ve done within our Adaptive Mobile Online platform will result in higher completion rates and faster learning.”

For more details and to register:

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