EDUCATION

More high school students in Florida are taking advantage of massive open online courses, or MOOCs

 

Herald/Times Tallahassee bureau

It’s the latest trend in education and it’s coming soon to a school near you.

But what exactly is a MOOC?

On Thursday, Florida lawmakers got schooled on massive open online courses, or MOOCs.

The concept is being tested in Miami-Dade, Broward and Pinellas counties, and will likely be expanding across the state.

MOOCs are virtual classes that allow unlimited enrollment.

Students watch recorded lectures and move through the material at their own pace. They typically have little or no interaction with the instructor.

"It’s about open-source learning and innovative techniques," said state Rep. Manny Diaz, a Hialeah Republican, noting that MOOCs are best suited for independent and motivated students.

MOOCs are popular in colleges, and are slowly spreading to Florida’s K-12 system.

Earlier this year, Gov. Rick Scott signed a law allowing MOOCs in subject areas with end-of-course exams, including algebra, geometry and biology. The new law requires MOOC providers to use Florida-certified teachers and win approval from the state Department of Education.

Some schools are giving it a shot.

In Miami-Dade, G. Holmes Braddock Senior High School is piloting a MOOC in computer science. The University of Miami’s Global Academy, an online middle and high school, is offering MOOCs to help students prepare for the Advanced Placement calculus exam and the SAT subject test in biology.

High-school students in Pinellas County are enrolled in a remedial math MOOC offered by St. Petersburg College.

Similarly, Broward College is offering a new MOOC focusing on college-level reading, writing, and math. Half of enrollees are high school students from Broward County, state education officials said.

Broward College is working on additional game-based MOOCs that will be available next year.

House Education Committee Chairwoman Marlene O’Toole, R-Lady Lake, stressed that massive open online courses were not requirements, but options for Florida students looking to enhance their education.

"I’m excited by all of the opportunity," O’Toole said.

Kathleen McGrory can be reached at kmcgrory@MiamiHerald.com.

Read more Florida stories from the Miami Herald

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category