George Washington University is launching a groundbreaking example of inter-institutional collaboration in open education through a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) entitled “Practical Numerical Methods with Python.” Four instructors from four continents will collaborate in the design and development of course content and learning objectives, and all materials will be released under an open, Creative Commons licensing model.
The associated MOOC will be independent of any of the well-known providers: we will deploy our own instance of the Open edX software on cloud hosting services to offer a MOOC without surrendering our IP to for-profits nor subjecting students to creepy data mining. We believe that higher education is the core mission of universities and we want to contribute to open education with for-profit companies having only a supporting role. On campus, the partner instructors will manage their course as they see fit, but we share in the ideal of increasing engagement and active learning. We will join in scholarly conversations aiming to develop the best course materials that we can muster, and course activities that will keep students engaged and encourage participation.
The course aims for students to achieve the following:
- Connect the physics represented by a mathematical model to the characteristics of numerical methods to be able to select a good solution method;
- Implement a numerical solution method in a well-designed, correct computer program;
- Interpret the numerical solutions that were obtained in regards to their accuracy and suitability for applications.