- Coursera's first humanities course offerings are an early proving ground for its peer-grading system, which was developed to meet the challenge of running a program where courses have tens of thousands of students per professor--with an estimated 62% of said students living outside the U.S.
- Students must read and evaluate four essays written by classmates for every essay they submit, and instructors like Charles Severance have so far been impressed by their students' willingness to overlook classmates' language barriers and focus on the ideas presented.
- One idea presented to ease the process of peer reviewing involves allowing foreign students to write essays in their native language by identifying peers fluent in that language via an initial survey and routing those essays directly to them.
From the article:
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- "A little bit loopy and elliptical, but interesting." That is how J.R. Reddig, a 61-year-old program director for a Virginia-based defense software contractor, described his classmates' essays in Internet History, Technology and Security, a massive open online course (MOOC) the University of Michigan is offering through Coursera. The course, which largely focuses on the history of cyber-infrastructure, is one of the first humanities courses run by Coursera, the largest MOOC provider. That means it is an early proving ground for Coursera's peer-grading system -- the company’s answer to the challenge of running a course with tens of thousands of students and only one professor. ...