- Instructure on Tuesday announced the addition of 15 new MOOCs for K-12 learning to its Canvas Network.
- Among the new additions are two Minecraft MOOCs and an accompanying app that teach educators best practices for gamification. The app will allow students to submit assignments to teachers via in-game actions by tagging the locations of their creations or automatically uploading books written in the game to Canvas SpeedGrader.
- Other new courses include the NASA-taught "Mars: The Next Frontier" mission simulator for students and "Tinker, Make and Learn," a Maker Movement MOOC for teachers.
Instructure is no stranger to taking creative approaches to its MOOCs: Last year, the company scored big with a MOOC based on AMC's "The Walking Dead" in partnership with the TV network and the University of California, Irvine, ultimately attracting upwards of 65,000 users. It's no surprise that the company would tackle topics like gamification, space exploration, and the Maker Movement in its latest round of courses, which its latest release cites as a "major new experiment in K-12 learning."
For those asking why Minecraft (or what the game is to begin with), it's a sandbox/open-world game that enables players to create structures using textured 3D cubes. Some modes require players to acquire resources or compete to survive. Its popularity and potential for educational use makes it perfect for teaching, as even young children are familiar with it, according to instructor Jason Schmidt. Though he notes that also makes it intimidating for teachers, hence his MOOC.
The full list of new MOOCs is as follows:
- Digital Literacies 1
- Digital Literacies 2
- Five Habits of Highly Effective Teachers
- Getting Started with MinecraftEDU
- Minecraft for Educators
- Teachers without Borders: Educating Girls
- Tinker, Make and Learn
- College Foundations: Reading, Writing, and Math
- First Peoples to the Early Republic: Born in Colonialism
- Google Ninja
- NASA Space Center Houston’s “Mars: The Next Frontier”
- The Civil War Era
- The Gilded Age to the Roaring Twenties
- The Great Depression to the War on Terror
Additionally, a course on "Parenting in the Digital Age" is now available for parents.