Quantum Mechanics for Everyone MOOC
The intent of this project is to create an asynchronous MOOC, which requires delivering all content via technology. Technology forms the backbone for all course delivery, one cannot do it without the technological part. On the other hand, we do not want to create another MOOC that involves filmed lectures. We feel this is not using the internet capabilities in the best way to delivery course content especially technical content, and that was the motivation for creating the computer-based tutorials.
The eleven alpha testers who took the follow-up survey expressed both concerns and satisfaction with the compute engine. They identified problems that were already known to us about the bugginess of the original code and of the tediousness of parts of the exercise. They also, nearly unanimously, indicated that the computer animations helped them understand the material better than just reading it from a book, or as we can reasonably infer, hearing it told to them by a lecturer.
We have learned what some of the problems of the initial version of the code was. We were pleased to see that it looks like we are striking the right balance between movies, computer tutorials and questions in delivering the materials to the audience. We will further develop the project and incorporate it into the last week of Dedra's MOOC, and then we will take data that we generate from that to both improve the material we have already developed and to guide the further development of material so we can create a standalone MOOC on quantum mechanics. We have pending grant proposals both at the American Physical Society and at the National Science Foundation to fund further development of the project. If those are not successful, or if additional funding is needed, we might also seek out foundations for funding. We have no plans to communicate anything about the ITEL project per se because it is too preliminary in the results yet. But we do have plans for writing one or more papers on the quantum MOOC if we are able to successfully develop it.