With MOOC platforms, students in the (virtual) global classroom are not just learners, but doers. The time between learning a new concept in the course and trying it out in practice has shrunk from weeks, months, or years to days. Last week, we told you about a Design Course which prompted students to apply their design skills to create something to improve their lives; today, we want to tell you about another Coursera Course which has taken this concept to practice: “An Introduction to Operations Management”, offered by Christian Terwiesch of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.
The course will go live for the second time on Monday (4/29/2013). In the first offering, the course attracted some 87,000 students, the strong contingent of them being active as business professionals and university students. They applied the knowledge from the course to operations related tasks at work, school and home.
To capture that “From Knowledge to Action” component of the course further, Christian and his team created the first ever Operations Challenge. They invited students to submit implementation reports of what they had changed in their work in response to the new knowledge they gained. The presentations were peer reviewed using the Coursera platform, resulting in over 2,000 awesome presentations of “how to improve your operations” and enormous amounts of feedback from the community to the submitting students. To build on this success, the new launch of “An Introduction to Operations Project” now features an official learning project called the Coursera Operations Project. Students will be working on 5 assignments that together create a process improvement project. Each milestone has a specific assignment. Students submit and get feedback from other students on how they apply the content.
Below are examples of previous students’ projects from the first Operations Challenge.
We hope this will illustrate ways you can apply the operations knowledge from this course to your work, school, home or life. Not only does this force students to try out what they learn, it also creates an enormous reservoir of implementation reports across industries and across the world. This way, the community curates a library of case studies, free and open to everyone. Look forward to seeing you in class!