In mid-February the first MOOC at LUISS will begin: a series of twelve weekly online lectures entitled From International Relations to Global Politics, with Professor Raffaele Marchetti, professor of International Relations at the Department of Political Science.
MOOCs, or Massive Open Online Courses, are a format for free distance learning that is widely used by major universities in order to reach a large number of users around the world. “It is an innovation of recent years,” says Marchetti, “a revolution that is slowly but decisively taking hold, reshaping the concept of teaching at university."
LUISS is one of the first Italian universities to move in this direction and the course in International Relations is one of the first online courses on that topic offered in the world. In their passage from university classrooms to e-learning platforms, the course’s content and methods had to be radically rethought. "The production phase required us to rewrite the course in the form of a script in order to be as concise and understandable as possible, by breaking down the lectures into a number of small units between five and ten minutes long."
The recording of lectures was done at the Rai studios in Milan so as to recreate all of the video environments and settings using computer graphics. "It was essential to use not only words but images, videos and a whole range of media to encourage interaction with my virtual students and make the class more dialogue-based."
Aside from attending virtual classes, students will study additional materials and carry out a series of peer-to-peer tutorials and reviews ("assessments that are less 'official' than those of the professor, but which have the value of including many points of view"), to prepare for a final exam which, if passed, will lead to a certificate and 3 ECTS university credits.
The online course From International Relations to Global Politics already counts several thousand enrolled students from around the world: "From Germany to India, from Spain to the United States, with a fairly high percentage of students even in cities like Kabul.” The course will remain active for about three months, to then be relaunched in the fall, along with a new MOOC in Management with Professor Andrea Prencipe, which is already being prepared.