>Split Screens and 3D Printing: MOOCs’ Fancy Featur

I am not a tech-savvy person, but I am excited by iversity’s creative, advanced imaging tools. These MOOCs use visual technology in ways that traditional courses cannot. For example, medical students in anatomy labs cannot discuss dissections while watching demonstrations without disrupting class. Most crystallography students can’t print the structures they create online to make their own tactile models. iversity revolutionises traditional classes with MOOCs that use visual programming.

By filming dissections and surgeries for his Anatomie Interaktiv (Interactive Anatomy) MOOC, Dr. Hirt uses visuals only available online. Students in his MOOC not only watch dissections, but also ask questions to one another and to experts at the same time. Such active dialogue would be impossible in a classroom, particularly during demonstrations, but online, many students can post questions and answers as soon as their thoughts occur. As they watch broadcasts they engage in live question-answer sessions through social media, getting immediate answers without disturbing those performing dissections.

Mineralogy students may not have access to expensive 3D Printing. Dr. Hoffman plans to enhance crystallography study with this visual tool in Faszination Kristalle und Symmetrie (Fascination with Crystals and Symmetry). Hoffman is working on 3D printing for his course, so students can not only see and navigate but also touch their digital models. Transforming online visuals to tactile diagrams is an opportunity not available to all, but, should 3D Printing be secured for the MOOC, these students will be able to further explore crystals with material structures.

These two MOOCs offer visual experiences that students typically aren’t offered. Hirt and Hoffman are working to best use the online platform and its unique capabilities, enabling students to ask questions while watching videos and perhaps turn their computerized crystal models into real objects. These imaging tools could deeply enhance MOOC students’ experiences, from technical experts to aesthetic enthusiasts.

by Anna Meixler

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