Frequently Asked Questions About Open Online Courses

What Do Faculty Want to Know About Online Teaching?

Our responses to the 5 most frequently asked questions about massive open online courses (MOOCs):

1. Who does all the grading in ​a MOOC? 

Assignments are either machine-graded with online software or through peer evaluations, using rubrics designed by instructors. Faculty or AIs are not responsible for evaluating and grading the work of thousands of online learners.

2. How often do I meet with online students? 

There are a variety of ways to interact with online learners, from brief informal recordings of “office hours” to short messages and discussion forums. While your presence does encourage learners to complete coursework, it is not necessary for you to appear regularly.

3. Who organizes and responds to the discussion forums? 

In designing their courses, faculty may create forums for specific topics or assignments. Once courses are live, online learners typically initiate their own topics and answer each others’ questions about the material or assignments. Faculty also may obtain funds from the University for a graduate student to monitor their online courses, in addition to assisting with course development.

4. Can I adapt my existing campus course to an open online course? 

Yes, most faculty who teach online do! They adapt their campus courses so that they and their Princeton students can learn from engaging with learners from around the world. Further, these cross-cultural exchanges build intercultural awareness and diversify the campus curriculum.

5. What if I prefer to limit my online course to my Princeton students? 

Many faculty have developed closed online courses. Some seek to blend their classroom activities with work in an interactive online environment throughout the semester. Others have selected their most challenging material to “flip” by assigning some recorded lectures and related work in the online setting to help students prepare for structured activities in their class meetings.