The University of Minnesota is one of a number of universities that partner with Coursera, a company that offers massive open online courses (MOOCs) in numerous subjects. There are two specializations from the Carlson School—Human Resource Management: HR for People Managers and Healthcare Marketplace. The courses harness the power of technology and respond to a growing interest in online education.

Healthcare Marketplace was created by Medical Industry Leadership Institute Director Stephen Parente and colleagues. He has found it a huge success. “We’ve had more than 9,000 learners,” he says. “And received more exposure of what I do and what the Carlson School does with healthcare than I ever expected to. More interestingly, one of our MBA students came to the Carlson School with only two months’ notice because he saw me do that MOOC.”

Center for Human Resources and Labor Studies Director and Professor John Budd, along with several of his colleagues from the Department of Work and Organizations, built the Human Resource Management specialization. The offerings in this module are intended to leave students with a new-found understanding of the range of options available for managing employees and helping them develop their own human resource management skills.

Budd says that teaching a MOOC has more up-front, intensive development and production than a traditional classroom-taught course, but less interaction with students.

Budd made a total of 47 videos for his four-week course, one of five courses that are part of the module. Most of the videos were produced at the Carlson School in a recording studio in front of a green screen. He also created a short, ungraded practice quiz for each lesson, as well as a longer, graded quiz each week.

“Most of the work occurred before the course even launched. Now that the course is running, students can sign up at any time and they start with a new cohort of classmates every two weeks,” Budd explains. “I monitor the discussion boards to make sure everything continues to run smoothly, and I add some thoughts to the discussion boards when students have questions or make insightful comments. But they can watch all the videos and complete all of the assessments at their own pace without any involvement from me.”

According to Budd, teaching this MOOC has been very rewarding so far. Since the course has become available last year, more than 18,000 students have enrolled. Because this course is freely accessible online without any entry criteria, it has reached students from more than 100 countries who are interested in learning more about human resources management.

 

This feature originally appeared in the 2017 Spring Alumni Magazine, which you can read here.