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This could be the first real revolution in higher education business models since Socrates … the concept of professors becoming independent content publishers via social media, bypassing traditional structures and institutions.

A Louisville professor is offering a free “massive open online course,” or MOOC, starting January 9, a course teaching other education professionals to use digital technology.

Judah Thornewill, co-founder of CEO of Network E, will teach faculty how to create “courses in the cloud.”

Thornewill’s digital method utilizes no-cost Web-based broadcast technology including Google+ Hangouts, YouTube, Google Sites and Google Groups, according to a news release.

Thornewill is offering the free 15-session MOOC, “Teaching in the Cloud,” through Network E. He will also provide universities and other education stakeholders the ability to sponsor innovation awards to encourage faculty to create and distribute new and better courses through the cloud, according to the release.

From the release:

Thornewill’s approach is novel because it allows faculty members to teach online courses with free technologies, so they do not give up ownership of their courses and are not locked into business arrangements with online course organizations, such as Udacity, Coursera, EdX or Blackboard. He said professors should be able to create courses – either open or tuition based – and maintain rights to them, as if they were textbooks.

This all started when Thornewill delivered an online course for U of L students in spring and fall, 2012 semesters using the free online tools.

After that, other professors wanted him to help them develop their own online courses, according to the release.

“The technology is available free, whether the courses are delivered to one student or to a million students,” Thornewill stated in the release.

He lists benefits of the online method as

  • increased faculty autonomy,
  • improved ability to collaborate,
  • more value for students,
  • new revenue opportunities for faculty and institutions.

Thornewill states Network E will provide professors and institutions with course tools and templates, provide information on new teaching technologies as they emerge, offer technical support, administer innovation contests, and provide course distribution services.

Registration for the free MOOC is available here.

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