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MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses)

Whether you are a high school student thinking about a career in aviation, an Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University student considering a different program of study, or a curious learner interested in getting a “free sample” of what the world’s largest aviation university has to offer, signing up for a MOOC could be right for you.

Beginning in April, Embry-Riddle Worldwide will offer its second MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) to anyone with an Internet connection and desire to learn about aviation. And it is free!

This MOOC, The Human Factor in Aviation, is expected to be followed by more free online courses from Embry-Riddle professors specializing in other aviation and aerospace fields. So if learning about the mental and physical elements that contribute to aviation accidents as part of The Human Factor in Aviation does not interest you, there is bound to be a MOOC that piques your aerospace interest in coming months.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a MOOC?

A MOOC, or Massive Open Online Course, is a free online course offered by a university free of charge to anyone interested. MOOCs have grown in popularity in recent years, as universities have discovered that MOOCS can help to draw interest in their quality courses and faculty.

Enrollment in MOOCs can be unlimited, but for Embry-Riddle Worldwide's MOOC, The Human Factor in Aviation, scheduled to start on April 7, 2014, the enrollment will be capped at 5,000 participants. Enrollment will open soon.

With no costs for participating in the course besides one’s time, students are able to get an extended glimpse of the kind of education available at the world’s premier aeronautical university without worrying about tuition or if the subject is 100 percent right for them. MOOCs are risk-free learning!

How does a MOOC work?

Whereas on-campus and online university courses are primarily driven by lectures and interaction with professors, much of the learning in MOOCs is obtained from collaboration with classmates.

Most of the MOOC coursework will be asynchronous, providing students with the flexibility to watch lectures and work on assignments on their own timetable. There will be live sessions scheduled to allow students to watch the professor lecture and ask questions in real time, but the heart of MOOC learning lies in peer-to-peer interaction outside of the online classroom.

Students will view recorded lectures and read course material, but they will also share ideas with fellow MOOC classmates on discussion boards and social media platforms, such as Twitter.

For more on the educational tools used in MOOCs and other online courses offered by Embry-Riddle Worldwide, read about Technology for the Modern Student.

Who can enroll in a MOOC?

Anyone with Internet access can register. Because MOOCs are open to everyone, classes are often made up of a large, diverse group that spans many ages, ethnicities, and locations. The different backgrounds help to foster the exchange of ideas by bringing divergent viewpoints to the collaborative process.

What is the topic of this MOOC?

The Human Factor in Aviation is a five-week course focusing on a critical aspect in aviation disasters: the human factor. Whereas some accidents are caused by aircraft failures, others can be traced to psychological or physiological elements, such as pilot fatigue or a mechanic’s complacency.

The MOOC’s instructor, Dr. Dennis Vincenzi, is an Assistant Professor in the College of Aeronautics at ERAU Worldwide, with more than 16 years of Human Factors experience.The class – a condensed version of the Human Factors in Aviation Safety (SFTY 320) offered in Embry-Riddle’s College of Aeronautics – will begin April 7 and end May 11. For more about The Human Factor in Aviation, watch the “trailer.”

What are the benefits of a MOOC for a student?

The MOOC’s value comes from the content of the virtual classwork and from learning in a massive online environment, a medium that might be new to the student.

Since students are not working toward a grade or college credit, they can enroll in the MOOC without having to worry about how it will affect their GPA.

Students can do all or some of the activities  ̶  read the many valuable resources; provide insights and experiences in the discussions; join the conversation on Twitter; or choose whatever they want to do to learn about human factors. It's up to the individual student.    

Some examples of people who could benefit from enrolling in a MOOC:

  • High school student interested in aviation and/or considering applying for admission to Embry-Riddle
  • Nontraditional students  who are unsure if they are ready to head back to campus or able to achieve success in an online course
  • Students at Embry-Riddle considering changing degree programs
  • Students at other universities looking to get a firsthand glimpse of the quality courses at Embry-Riddle before deciding to transfer
  • Aviation professionals considering changing fields within the industry
  • Lifelong learners with a general interest in aviation or particular interest in the MOOC topic
What if I want to leave the course?

It’s OK!

While we hope everyone who enrolls in a MOOC enjoys and completes the course, there is no obligation to do so. If at any time you’d like to leave the course — for whatever reason — you may do so.

What do I get if I complete the course?

Students who complete the MOOC will receive a certificate to mark their accomplishment. A social media badge noting successful completion of the course will also be made available for students who pass the course.

Students will not receive college credit for completing the MOOC.

How do I register?

Enrollment for open courses can be done by selecting your course on under My Courses.



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