edX E-Learning Course
    Development

    Design, develop, and deploy an interactive and
    informative MOOC course for the edX platform

    Matthew A. Gilbert

    BIRMINGHAM - MUMBAI

    edX E-Learning Course Development
    Copyright © 2015 Packt Publishing

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    First published: May 2015

    Production reference: 1270515

    Published by Packt Publishing Ltd.
    Livery Place
    35 Livery Street
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    ISBN 978-1-78398-180-9
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    Credits
    Author
    Matthew A. Gilbert
    Reviewers

    Project Coordinator
    Danuta Jones
    Proofreaders

    Rogério Theodoro de Brito

    Stephen Copestake

    Danea Johnson

    Safis Editing

    Dr. Carla Lane
    Santhosh Kumar T
    Commissioning Editor
    Andrew Duckworth
    Acquisition Editor
    Subho Gupta
    Content Development Editor
    Sumeet Sawant
    Technical Editor
    Manan Patel
    Copy Editors
    Hiral Bhatt
    Vikrant Phadke

    Indexer
    Rekha Nair
    Graphics
    Abhinash Sahu
    Production Coordinator
    Melwyn Dsa
    Cover Work
    Melwyn Dsa

    About the Author
    Matthew A. Gilbert, MBA, is a business professor and corporate trainer with

    extensive experience as a writer, marketer, and speaker. He's guided by the motto
    "learn continuously, live generatively."
    Skilled in learning management systems such as Blackboard, Canvas, eCollege, edX,
    and Moodle, he develops and teaches communication, management, and marketing
    courses for adult learners online, on campus, and in blended learning environments. In
    corporate settings, he conducts business communication, decision-making, and social
    media marketing workshops. Having embraced an opportunity overseas, Matthew
    now teaches undergraduates at a university in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates.
    A tech-savvy writer, his first book, edX E-Learning Course Development, was published
    for educators with the aim of designing, developing, and deploying MOOC courses
    on the edX platform. He has also authored scholarly papers, feature articles, and
    Doctorious—a blog about his adventures in academia. He is an unrepentant fan of
    the Oxford comma; the semicolon is another one of his guilty pleasures.
    As a marketer and consultant, Matthew has managed people, products, and projects
    in the education, entertainment, medical device, nonprofit, publishing, travel, and
    technology sectors. Recognized for his knowledge of social media marketing, he
    has been called upon to provide expert witness testimony for lawsuits and related
    research matters.
    A charismatic speaker, Matthew uses sincerity, humor, and storytelling to connect
    with audiences; education, leadership, management, social media, and technology
    are his main topics. Be sure to ask him about his signature speech called Superman:
    Manager of Steel.
    When asked why teaching is his tenure, he explains, "I embrace education as my
    profession because it empowers me to help shape the lives of others, while giving
    my own life greater meaning."
    For more information about Matthew, you can visit his website at
    matthewagilbert.com, connect with him on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/
    matthewagilbert, or follow him on Twitter at @MatthewAGilbert.

    This book was written over many months and a multitude of
    miles: from California to Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Oman, and even
    38,000 feet above the Arctic Circle on an Emirates Airbus A380!
    However, without the insight, input, and inspiration from the
    following individuals, this book wouldn't have happened.
    To each of you and to those whom I might have inadvertently
    not included, I extend my heartfelt gratitude. Thank you!
    Anant Agarwal

    Meggie Windari

    Anastassia Konovalova

    Michael Ball

    Andy Armstrong

    Ned Batchelder

    Ashish Bhanushali

    Nikhil Chinnari

    Binny K. Babu

    Petar Apostolov

    Carla Lane

    Philip Guo

    Danea Johnson

    Piotr Mitros

    Dani Babb

    Rae Lynn Estrada

    Dani Perkins

    Rogério Brito

    Daniel Hayek

    Rosalind Englander-Calo

    Dominique Samario

    Santhosh Kumar T.

    Garrett Gatch

    Satinder K. Dhiman

    Gregory Calo

    Saunya Berger McDaniel

    Helen Vitaris

    Shamikh Siddiqui

    Jacob Gilbert

    Shandee Rae

    John K. Rounds

    Sharon Dunigan Jumper

    Kiran Patil

    Steve DiCasa

    Laurie Andutan

    Subho Gupta

    Manan Patel

    Sumeet Sawant

    Marietta Poshi

    Szilvia Beylik

    Mario A. González

    Tania Nathan

    Max Gilbert

    Tihomir Davchev

    About the Reviewers
    Rogério Theodoro de Brito has a BSc in computer science and an MSc in

    computational biology, both from the University of São Paulo, Brazil. Academically,
    he likes graph theory, combinatorial optimization, and discrete mathematics. He
    teaches various subjects in computer science and IT at Mackenzie Presbyterian
    University, São Paulo, and is an enthusiast of both education (MOOCs in particular)
    and free software.
    Rogério has been contributing to the Debian project (debian.org) since 2005
    and has been an official Debian maintainer since 2008, maintaining about
    20 software packages (also available for the popular Ubuntu Linux and Linux Mint).
    At the intersection of MOOCs, education, and free software, he is the coauthor
    of coursera-dl (https://github.com/coursera-dl/coursera) and edx-dl
    (https://github.com/shk3/edx-downloader), which are designed to facilitate
    learners to access the course material from Coursera and edX respectively.
    You can see his blog at http://cynic.cc/blog/.

    Danea Johnson is a communications and sales specialist in the technology

    field with 5 years of higher education, leadership, and experience in curriculum
    development. She developed her love for teaching during her first part-time job as a
    gymnastics instructor at the age of 14. Later, she spent years assisting in instructional
    technology for diverse groups at several educational institutions, ranging from
    arts students from universities to impoverished high-school students with learning
    difficulties. Danea enjoys being creative, getting to know people and how they learn,
    and finding new ways to communicate and teach things that impact lives.
    I would like to sincerely thank Mr. Gilbert for being incredibly warm
    and welcoming, providing me with his advice as I sought after my
    own career goals, and for granting me the opportunity to take part in
    this wonderful project.

    Dr. Carla Lane has an extensive background in distance learning and the evaluation

    of mediated educational programs. She is the executive director of The Education
    Coalition, a nonprofit group that provides educational evaluation services for districts,
    universities, and other entities requiring local, state, and national evaluations. She has
    been extensively involved in the field of education through her research in distance
    learning. Her work has been published in many research reports and journals. Carla
    has authored three textbooks on educational technology and distance learning. Now,
    she conducts research in online instructional strategies for men and women in active
    military and veterans and their spouses for the Federal Government Distance Learning
    Association (FGDLA), where she is the vicepresident of the higher education sector.
    Carla was recently named a Research Fellow by the University of Phoenix, and
    conducts research in online mentoring at the doctoral level. This research is part
    of a grant from the university. She has taught online for the university since 1991
    and has received the Quality Award for her work.
    For 15 years, Carla was with WestEd—a regional educational laboratory—as a
    senior researcher. She was also the project director of the Star Schools dissemination
    project—the Distance Learning Resource Network (DLRN).
    She is a master trainer in distance learning for UCLA and teaches in several doctoral
    programs that involve specialization in educational technology and instructional
    design for online learning. She has written for, and has been funded for grants
    through, Star Schools, PBS Mathline and PBS TeacherLine, Challenge, NTIA,
    TIIAP, the California Department of Education, the California Community College
    Chancellor's Office, the United States Department of Justice, the Los Angeles County
    Office of Education, and NASA.
    Carla earned a doctorate in education (educational leadership research design/
    statistics, adult education, and educational technology) from the University of
    Missouri-St. Louis, an MA in mass communication from Webster University,
    and a Bachelor of Science in English from Washington University, St. Louis,
    Missouri. She also holds a degree in broadcast engineering.

    Santhosh Kumar T. has spent more than a decade exploring the nuances of the

    online learning environment. Currently a learning consultant at Dexler Information
    Solutions, he uses his rich experience to help train managers so that they can
    understand which solution works best for them.
    A commerce graduate from Bangalore University, Santhosh followed his passion for
    multimedia, beginning as a novice learner and progressing to an expert, with a wide
    range of technical qualifications that span the spectrum of content development. His
    strength lies in being a self-starter who needs no external motivation to learn new
    technologies. He uses his knowledge of various content authoring tools and couples
    it with interactive multimedia design to create engaging content for his organization.
    Santhosh has worked with companies such as Purpleframe Technologies, Epiance,
    and Mentorware India. He is an avid reader who loves to spend his free time reading
    and listening to music—both oldies and the latest tracks. Nonetheless, it is just as
    much a holiday for him to spend his time learning what the world is doing in the
    field of online education and coming back with ideas in this field.
    Dexler Information Solutions is a learning solutions provider that leverages technology
    to enable companies and institutions to manage and enhance their knowledge pool.
    Dexler's endeavor has been to provide strategic educational services and products,
    developed on robust delivery platforms using innovative learning enablers. Dexler
    is recognized for offering customized learning content in a flexible framework for
    individual learning, corporate education, and community training. It has evolved
    from an instructor-led training (ILT) organization to a complete integrated learning
    solutions provider. Dexler believes in being gamechangers for their customers and
    providing customized solutions that enhance their businesses.

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    This book is dedicated to my sons, Jacob and Max. You are my greatest teachers,
    my favorite students, and my most edXceptional inspirations!

    Table of Contents
    Preface v
    Chapter 1: Getting Started
    1
    edX's potential and purpose
    3
    Growth of the MOOC market
    4
    The emergence of Open edX
    5
    Emerging educational opportunities
    5
    The impact of edX
    6
    The foundation and future of edX
    9
    Your role and responsibilities
    10
    Creating your edX account
    11
    Exploring edX courses
    16
    Finding courses by navigating
    16
    Finding courses by searching
    23
    Finding courses by viewing all courses
    24
    Finding courses by home page
    25
    Finding courses by refining your search
    25
    Signing up for Studio
    27
    edX 28
    edX Edge
    29
    Open edX
    30
    Creating your course 31
    Characteristics of your course
    34
    Public Studio Sandbox
    36
    Summary 37

    [i]

    Table of Contents

    Chapter 2: Planning the Curriculum
    edX Course Matrix
    edX Course Matrix data
    edX Course Matrix details
    The About page
    About pages across edX versions
    Long course descriptions
    Short course descriptions
    Staff biographies

    39
    40
    41
    43
    46
    47
    48
    49

    50

    Prerequisites 52
    Frequently Asked Questions
    53
    Course image
    54
    About videos
    57
    Other course information
    60
    Preliminary documents
    62
    Learning sequences
    64
    Exercises and assessments
    66
    Textbooks and course materials
    69
    Discussion forums
    70
    The course Wiki
    71
    The course certificate
    72
    Summary 73

    Chapter 3: Producing Videos

    75

    Chapter 4: Designing Exercises

    95

    Instructional videos
    76
    Video production pointers
    79
    Seven video production strategies
    79
    Video post-production processes
    85
    Reducing the video file size
    86
    edX video specifications
    88
    Transcripts for your videos
    89
    YouTube best practices
    92
    Summary 94
    The student view of problem components
    The studio view of problem components
    Editing problem components
    Creating problems with edX's editors
    Exercises and tools
    General exercises and tools
    Image-based exercises and tools
    [ ii ]

    96
    101
    103
    106
    116
    116
    118

    Table of Contents

    Multiple-choice exercises and tools
    118
    STEM exercises and tools
    119
    Content experiments
    120
    Summary 123

    Chapter 5: Integrating the Curriculum
    Your course outline
    Course sections
    Course subsections
    Course Units
    Course components
    Advanced components
    Discussion components
    HTML components
    Problem components
    Video components

    Advanced video options
    Moving a video component
    Deleting a video component

    125

    126
    127
    130
    133
    139
    140
    144
    147
    151
    152

    155
    162
    163

    Course pages
    164
    Course files
    168
    Updates and Handouts
    172
    Course Updates
    172
    Course Handouts
    174
    PDF textbooks
    175
    Accessibility issues
    178
    Summary 179

    Chapter 6: Administering Your Course
    Grading policy
    Content visibility
    Student cohorts
    Assigning cohorts automatically
    Assigning cohorts manually
    Assigning cohorts with a CSV file
    Disabling cohorts
    Beta testing
    More about Beta Testers
    Adding an individual Beta Tester
    Adding multiple Beta Testers
    Removing Beta Testers

    [ iii ]

    181
    182
    187
    188
    190
    191
    194
    196
    197
    198
    198
    199
    200

    Table of Contents

    Exporting and importing a course
    201
    Exporting a course
    202
    Importing a course
    203
    edX resources
    205
    Building and running an edX course
    205
    Google groups
    205
    GitHub 206
    Launching your course
    206
    Summary 207

    Chapter 7: Facilitating Your Course

    209

    Chapter 8: Promoting Your Course

    259

    Staff roles
    210
    Course staff
    210
    Instructor 210
    Student enrolment
    215
    Auto Enroll
    215
    Notify students by e-mail
    216
    Course discussions
    219
    Course Wiki
    225
    Messages to students
    237
    Course data
    240
    Student data
    242
    Answer data
    245
    Gradebook management
    248
    Completion certificates
    258
    Summary 258
    Traditional marketing tools
    260
    Marketing resources
    262
    edX's marketing options
    263
    Social media marketing
    264
    Social medi