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Genetics and Evolution, Day One
Yesterday (Wednesday October 10) we were pleased to see the launch of Dukeâs second Coursera MOOC (Massive Open Online Course), âIntroduction to Genetics and Evolution.â Led by Dr. Mohamed Noor, the course bills itself as âa whirlwind introduction to evolution and genetics.â
As we observed in Duke’s first Coursera MOOC on Bioelectricity, the course discussion boards lit up almost immediately with students eager to begin. The site recorded over 1000 posts and 10,000 comments in the past 24 hours. As expected, virtual and in-person study groups began to form right away (both within the course site and outside of it).
Who are these students and where are they? Based on a pre-course questionnaire sent out by the instructor, over 120 countries are represented and 2/3 of the students reside outside of the United States. Professor Noor is “delighted at the level of activity and enthusiasm from theÂ students enrolled in the course from the first day, andÂ happy to see the breadth of students participating– 8th graders toÂ retirees, those in evolution graduate programs to those who haven’tÂ finished high school, the breadth of countries represented – for example,there were enough people from the Philippines enrolled to organize aÂ Filipino study group!”
To give a blurred snapshot of a rapidly moving target, here are few quick numbers about the course since its launch yesterday:
- Active students: 11,815 (39% of over 30,000 who enrolled since the course was announced in July)
- Whoâve watched or downloaded video: 8125 (68% of active students)
- Who responded to an in-video poll, âAre there âholesâ in the evidence for evolution?”: 4310
- Who have posted or commented in the forums: 708
- Published video in the first week of the course: 87 minutes
- Most ‘upvoted’ threads on the discussion forums so far: A tie between âDone for the week â [a thread for students finished with the posted lectures already who are eager for more] and âClass Map: Add a pin for your townâ
- New students who began working in the course site in the past 10 minutes: 50!
Professor Noor commented today, “It’s going to be hard for me to restrainÂ myself from spending many hours a day watching the discussion forumÂ posts that appear literally almost every minute!”