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16.101X: AN AERODYNAMIC MOOC

AeroAstro launches Intro to Aerodynamics on the web by David L. Darmofal

MIT’s move into online courses through the creation of MITx and edX has led to a wave of excitement in education on campus.

Not only are we asking questions about how to effectively educate students around the world in Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs), but also we wonder how MOOCs might improve our on-campus education. In AeroAstro, we introduced our department’s first MOOC 16. 101x Introduction to Aerodynamics, in the fall of 2013. In fact, we believe that this was the first time that aerodynamics was taught in a MOOC setting.

OUTCOMES-BASED DESIGN The main motivation for creating 16.101x was to eventually use the content to improve our on-campus undergraduate subjects; in particular, Unified Engineering and 16.100 Aerodynamics (a junior/senior level technical elective). As a result, the learning objectives for 16.101x were derived from the on-campus subjects. A best practice in educational design is to state the objectives of a subject as desired measurable outcomes in terms of student abilities, and then use the outcomes in the design of all aspects (lectures, sample problems, homework, projects, exams, etc.) of the subject. For example, Measurable Outcome 5.2 of 16.101x is, “A student successfully completing 16.101x will be able to derive the Bernoulli equation from the incompressible momentum equations, describe the assumptions required to apply the Bernoulli equation, and apply the Bernoulli equation to solve fluid dynamic problems.” The 16.101x structure was organized into a set of 11 modules; eight were required parts of the course, while the other three were provided for background, prerequisite knowledge. The different modules overlapped with our on-campus subjects. The required portions of 16.101x

AeroAstro launches Intro to Aerodynamics on the web

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