Swinburne chooses tech subjects for MOOCs push

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Swinburne chooses tech subjects for MOOCs push

Learn to innovate in four weeks.

Swinburne University of Technology has revealed the first five topics for its push into Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) - with innovation, gaming and robotics included.

The free four-week courses are being offered via Open Universities Australia’s Open2Study platform. The ‘Concepts in Game Development, 'Basic Physics',’ and ‘Innovation for Powerful Outcomes’ courses are available now.

The university will use short video lectures, quizzes, student discussion forums and gamification tools as part of the offering, hoping to encourage a high completion rate.

The innovation subject is pitched at those with innovation experience in the workplace, but was designed in such a way that anyone could access it, said Dr Noordin Shehabuddeen, director of business engagement at Swinburne's Faculty of Business and Enterprise.

“That’s one of the things that makes creating a MOOC particularly challenging. It has to be a program that can withstand criticism…from someone with an interest in innovation to someone with high level of in-depth knowledge of innovation.”

Shehabuddeen said the course included multiple case studies and covered topics including creativity, benchmarking, business models, how to sell an idea to the board, and how to reward innovation.

Swinburne joins several universities, including James Cook and Flinders universities, as well as the University of WA, University of NSW and University of Queensland, to enter the MOOCs market.

Some have opted to house their courses with US-based MOOCs platform provider Coursera, while others have partnered with edX, which is owned jointly by Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

In most cases, MOOCs providers enable discussion forums and peer learning to make it possible for the thousands of students studying a course to have their questions answered.

Shehabuddeen said participants could discuss challenges in their organisation and get others to help them address those, using some of the tools and approaches covered in the course.

“Innovation is cross-disciplinary, it’s cross-industry," he said.

"Having thousands of people together provides this immense opportunity to allow that cross-fertilisation of ideas and sharing of practices across various industries and centres, and the course is certainly designed to do that.”

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