Joint Basser - Human Centred Technology Cluster seminar

Rich Despite Scale, or Rich Because of Scale? MOOCs, SPOCs, and Residential Education

Speaker: Professor Armando Fox
Computer Science Division, UC Berkeley MOOCLab

When: Tuesday 25 November 2014, 3.30-4.30pm - Note: different day and time to usual.

Where: The University of Sydney, School of IT Building, SIT Lecture Theatre (Room 123), Level 1

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When MOOCs "exploded" in 2012, they were all about scale: courses, instructors, and MOOC providers try to outdo each other on how many learners they were reaching. An unsurprising backlash came from the criticism that surely at such scales the learning experience would suffer. One unsurprising reaction to that backlash was the position that MOOC technology could also help better package curricular materials for local customization and reuse, that is, the SPOC model.

Both MOOCs and SPOCs have value, but lost in this discussion is a closer examination of which elements of both MOOCs and campus courses are rich because of scale, and which ones we should strive to make rich despite scale. I will give examples of both, based on both our work with doing research on MOOC data and our attempts to handle exploding demands for CS courses at Berkeley (our introductory CS course now enrolls over 1,000 students, and our upper division advanced courses routinely enroll several hundred).

Speaker's biography

Armando Fox is a Professor of Computer Science at UC Berkeley as well as the Faculty Advisor to the UC Berkeley MOOCLab. His current research includes online education and high productivity parallel computing. His current teaching activities focus on undergraduate Software Engineering, for which he and Prof. David Patterson have writtenand is the basis of Berkeley’s first free MOOC (Massive Open Online Course). Before returning to Berkeley, he was an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Stanford, where he was recognized for both his research (NSF CAREER award, the Robert Noyce Family Faculty Fellowship, the IBM Young Faculty Fellowship) and his teaching (the Associated Students of Stanford University Teaching Award, the Society of Women Engineers Professor of the Year Award, and the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society Teaching and Mentoring Award). His collaborations with renowned computer architect and instructor Prof. David Patterson have included Recovery-Oriented Computing, Reliable Adaptive Distributed Systems, the Berkeley Parallel Computing Laboratory, the ASPIRE project for high-performance and energy-efficient parallel computing, and most recently, co-authorship of the new textbook Engineering Software as a Service that reflects the state of the art in modern software engineering. He has been recognized as a Scientific American "Top 50" researcher (2003), a Distinguished Scientist of the Association for Computing Machinery, a Gilbreth Lecturer for the National Academy of Engineering, and a keynote speaker for the 2013 Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing. In previous lives he helped design the Intel Pentium Pro microprocessor and founded a startup (subsequently acquired) to commercialize his UC Berkeley dissertation research on mobile computing. He received his other degrees in electrical engineering and computer science from MIT and the University of Illinois. He is also a classically-trained musician and performer, an avid musical theater fan and freelance Music Director, and bilingual/bicultural (Cuban-American) New Yorker living in San Francisco.