MOOCs Move Into the Creative World

Posted By Eliana Osborn on July 3, 2015 at 12:44 pm
MOOCs Move Into the Creative World

Massive open online courses (MOOCs) seem designed for math and science classes—after all, there are clear right and wrong answers.  Business classes for working executives, technology courses, and engineering-focused courses fill out the other top spots for online learning.  However, that’s all about to change, thanks to a new company providing MOOC content for colleges and universities.

MOOC provider Kadenze just announced partnerships with eighteen traditional institutions, including big names like Stanford and Princeton.  Unlike other MOOC operators like edX or Coursera, though, Kadenze has a specific emphasis: the arts.

Kadenze’s 22 courses include things like art history, as well as programming for web designers or entrepreneurship for musicians.  Like most MOOCs, students can view course material for no charge, and pay a small fee to submit assignments and get instructor feedback.  Users can get course credit for steeper fees, around $300/credit hour.

For working artists or those who simply want to explore their creative side, Kadenze classes provide a great opportunity that few could experience before.  Unless you live in an urban area and have significant resources, learning the basics of professional artistry can be difficult.  Students in art programs will benefit, of course, but an even greater impact could be for regular citizens who will be able to grow their creative skills on their own time.

Ajay Kapur, Kadenze’s CEO and co-founder, told Inside Higher Ed, “We want to bring creativity into the mix.” The same technology that makes it easy for students around the world to train for STEM careers can work for the arts, as well.

Some Kadenze courses are already up and running.  The platform will also support those who want to build more classes with design support and tech know-how, so that offerings can expand.

Some schools, like CalArts, will allow students to get credit for Kadenze classes, even if they aren’t enrolled as students on campus.  The potential for both schools and communities to supplement their arts offerings through  classes with Kadenze means a huge expansion in what online education can look like.

Students interested in taking classes through Kadenze will need to verify transfer credit issues with anywhere they hope to earn a degree.  For those enrolled at one of the academic institutions already partnered with Kadenze, campus advisors will be more prepared to help with questions.

Eliana Osborn
Eliana Osborn is an associate English professor at Arizona Western College, with degrees from Brigham Young University and Northern Arizona University. She’s published widely in forums such as The New York Times, the Washington Post, the Christian Science Monitor, and the Chronicle of Higher Education.

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