Inside Rensselaer
Volume 7, No. 6, March 29, 2013

13th Annual Colloquium on Teaching and Learning
April 10

In the last few years, interest in massive open online course offerings (MOOCs) has grown significantly at colleges and universities around the nation, and, indeed, around the world. To explore and discuss the emerging impact of this approach in higher education, Rensselaer will host the 13th Annual Colloquium on Teaching and Learning on Wednesday, April 10. This year’s theme will focus on “Innovations in eLearning—MOOCs and Beyond.” The event will be held in the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies auditorium.

The program will focus on recent developments in online learning and the role of online learning in enhancing residentially based education, as well as increasing access to education using the MOOCs model, which typically does not offer academic credit or charge tuition fees.

The Colloquium program will begin at 8:45 a.m., and will include a series of four keynote lectures and a panel session—all featuring Rensselaer campus and invited guest speakers. Jack Wilson, distinguished professor of higher education, emerging technologies, and innovation, and president emeritus at the University of Massachusetts, will deliver a keynote address, titled “Innovation in eLearning: Evolution or Revolution.”

James Hendler, head of the Department of Computer Science and senior constellation professor in the Tetherless World Constellation, will deliver a keynote address, titled “The Internet Is the New Library.”

“The Online Revolution: Education for Everyone” is the subject that Andrew Ng, professor at Stanford University and a co-founder of Coursera, will address. Howard Lurie, vice president of EdX for University Relations, will deliver the final keynote lecture, titled “Reinventing Education.”

A panel discussion will feature Lester Gerhardt, Rensselaer professor of electrical, computer, and systems engineering, along with Wilson, Lurie, and Hendler.

“Rensselaer has long enhanced classroom instruction with innovations such as studio classrooms and hands-on interactivity to reinforce learned concepts, and LMS-driven activities that ‘flip the classroom,’” said Prabhat Hajela, provost. “These new efforts may prove even more significant when combined with emerging, online pedagogical tools. The network and its technologies have matured. True asynchronous interactivity is here to stay. This colloquium is to promote awareness of next-generation online tools and to encourage their broad adaptation into Institute courses.”

Today, MOOC advocates foresee the end of residentially based university education as it currently exists. “Taking time to explore the role that MOOCs will play in higher education is important,” Hajela said. “We believe that these technologies will in fact improve the classroom experience of our residentially based students. It will not only allow enhance interactions among students on our campus, but will connect them to peers at geographically dispersed locations.”

The annual Colloquium on Teaching and Learning is free and open to all faculty, staff, and graduate students affiliated with area colleges and universities. In addition, any interested area school district teachers and administrators are invited to attend.

For more information regarding the program, speakers, and to register, visit

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Inside Rensselaer
Volume 7, Number 6, March 29, 2013
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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