In March and April, the Z. Smith Reynolds Library conducted a successful mini-MOOC (massive, open, online course) for 700 Wake Forest University parents and alumni. ZSRx: The Cure for the Common Web was designed as a free, open, online course for the external Wake Forest University community. The course engaged participants in a fun, collaborative, learning environment by exploring tools and techniques for using the web to increase personal productivity, strengthen search habits and sharpen evaluation skills. Four weekly modules included these topics: basic search strategies, advanced searching, privacy and filters, and tools for information management.

Kyle Denlinger, eLearning Librarian at ZSR, designed the course as a low-barrier entry into the world of online education, knowing that participants would have many other commitments. He invited classmates to consider it less as a traditional class with deadlines and boundaries and more as a starting point for exploring and connecting to a larger community of learners. ZSRx used Google Sites as the course platform, while Google Groups and Google+ served the community as discussion spaces. Interaction was rich and deep, with participants commenting freely on each other’s posts.

Participants ranged from members of the class of 1954 to the class of 2012 and according to post-course evaluations, they enjoyed it immensely. One participant said, “Kudos to you and Wake for doing this, and I hope you will offer other courses in the future.”

Read Kyle Denlinger’s article for more details. Contact Kyle to suggest topics for other classes.