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This summer, take an online course on web design and usability. It’s one of a pair of Massive, Open, Online Courses (MOOCs) UNCG is offering as it pilot tests the concept.

“It’s a guided experience. It’s self-paced,” says Dr. Anthony Chow, who along with UNCG’s Division of Continual Learning created the course. “There are hands-on projects and opportunities for discussion.” You will even learn a little about HTML coding and also the popular WordPress platform – and use them both. The course is not-for-credit.

The course takes on the question: How do I design, develop and evaluate usable digital environments? The emphasis is on usability and being user-friendly.

A UNCG Leadership Institute team last fall found that of UNCG’s 18 nationwide peer universities, six offer MOOCs. UNCG is testing the waters with two offerings. The first UNCG MOOC – “The Soul and the Search for Meaning” – launched in the spring.

The “Web Design and Usability” course opened June 30 – and learners may register at any time.

In general, MOOCs hold potential for online learning for a lot of people who may not have access to university courses. They can serve as a way for people who left college years ago to take an online course to see if completing a degree might be feasible for them.

You could finish in a few weeks. But most will take it at a slower pace. People may take advantage of particular units, or take the entire course in sequence.

A great benefit for those taking this MOOC is the opportunity to build relationships with other people across the world with similar interests, Chow explains. It will be a nexus of people, throughout the world, who can connect with each other. And UNCG will be a part of that connection.

Through the MOOC he can share his expertise and help make a positive impact. The experience will be helpful with his ongoing research. A professor of Library and Information Studies and director of online learning in UNCG’s School of Education, he notes it provides a learning experience for his Education students who take part in the online discussions. And it helps promote UNCG – the Spartan mascot and UNCG’s beautiful Taylor Garden are featured in the first video clip.

Even online, people like that sense of place, he explains. People prefer to be a part of universities’ MOOCs, he says, because “they like the brick and mortar of the university.”

Students can take the self-paced course online when they choose, from anywhere they want to learn. A certificate is available to those who complete the course in its entirety.
More information on the course may be found at moocs.uncg.edu. To register, visit moocs.uncg.edu/sign-up.

By Mike Harris

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