How to make a MOOC

“What we’ve learned is that there’s no canned formula for a MOOC,” said David Hik, an ecologist who is one of the professors for Mountains 101. (The other is Zac Robinson, a historian and professor in the university’s faculty of physical education and recreation.)

The professors, who had already taught a more traditional version of the course, collaborated with many partners to produce a MOOC version. These partners included Parks Canada, the Alpine Club of Canada, Mountain Equipment Co-op and Onlea, a not-for-profit digital learning production company in Edmonton.

Making the MOOC was a challenging process. Instead of moving around a classroom in an animated way, the professors had to stand in front of a green screen and train themselves to stay still and speak in a more conversational tone.

In addition to filming, they spent two years interviewing experts (inside and outside the university) and working with the production company to mix video, animation, interviews, and interactive elements together.