After attracting more than 35,000 participants to its first course, UNM will continue to expand its Massive Open Online Course program, this time with a class on Curanderismo.
Vice President Eliseo “Cheo” Torres will conduct the next planned UNM MOOC, Heileman said.
The new MOOC will focus on Curanderismo, or traditional medicine of Mexico, Latin America and the Southwest, Torres said.
The course will be divided into modules that will address different traditional healing methods, such as body cupping, juice therapy, energetic cleansings, laugh therapy, shawl alignments and a traditional Mexican sweat lodge.
“This may be the first MOOC class of its type,” he said. “A lot of people just want to discover their roots and their heritage, so this is one way to find out some of our ancestors’ medicine, that in some places have been lost and other places it hasn’t.”
The MOOC will have several presenters from Mexico and New Mexico who will discuss the methods and effectiveness of the different healing techniques, Torres said.
He teaches a summer class and an online class in traditional medicine, which is how he found the speakers, he said.
The production of the MOOC is almost finished, and the course could start as soon as August, Torres said.
“The advantage I have is that I’ve already done this, but now I need to shorten this,” he said. “I don’t know how many people are going to register for it, but it’s self-paced.”
Web Application Architectures, the first UNM MOOC, had 35,250 people from 184 countries signed up as of Tuesday afternoon, Greg Heilman, associate provost and class instructor, said.
Heileman would have to teach his regular classes for about 1,000 years to teach that many students.
“We’re always trying to give our student international engagement opportunities, well there’s one there,” he said. “Most of the students (enrolled in UNM’s MOOC) are not from the U.S.”
MOOCs align with the way this generation of college students wants to learn material, Heileman said. He said it doesn’t replace professors; it reinforces what they teach in the classroom.
“This is just technology advancing education,” he said.
One of the advantages of the MOOC is that high-performing students can usually help other learners online, which promotes peer-to-peer learning, Heileman said.
“That has to happen if you’re dealing with 30,000 or 40,000,” he said. “This is a typical thing, if they’re having problems getting something installed, these people answer their problems and it works out.”
While Heileman was initially surprised at his MOOC’s participation rate, having 30,000 participants in a course is not unusual, he said.
“This is not abnormal, there’re going to be other MOOCs at UNM that have this many (students) or more,” he said. “It’s just how they are; they attract huge audiences.”