The Big Class: A New Way to Use MOOCs?

Bishop Curry photoAs of this morning more than 1,400 people from 20 countries had signed up for The Big Class with Michael Curry. This 45-minute, pre-recorded class can be taken for free anytime between Jan 27 and Feb 3. There are live moderators to answer questions on weekday evenings and the gifts that Bishop Curry brings can pretty much guarantee that people will be touched. I know I have been.

The larger questions floating around academia and the Church have to do with how helpful courses like this really are. While ours is not a MOOC as the term is generally defined (please forgive me for using that term in the headline – it stands for Massive, Open, Online, Course) We know that the vast majority of people who sign up for online classes never finish them – in some cases MOOCs have seen that incompletion rate at 98%. We also know that those who do finish MOOCs tend to be highly motivated, well-resourced people who would probably have gone to campus for the material.

But can a MOOC-ish class (what we’re doing with Bishop Curry) be useful to the Church?  What percentage of registrants will finish? Will their lives be impacted in ways that draw them closer to Christ and push them out into the world to do God’s work?

We certainly hope so and have intentionally made The Big Class different than traditional MOOCs. Our goals are simple: to help people grow in their walk with Christ, to build community among Christians around an important topic, to make people aware of the gifts of the various entities that are sponsoring this class, and to introduce people to the potential of online Christian learning.

We are hopeful that this platform can help accomplish these goals and help us in our shared goal to bring people into a deeper relationship with Christ.

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