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BRAIN: Integrating MOOCs in Embedded Systems Blended Courses

The Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) phenomenon has been growing in popularity and importance in the last decade, receiving valuable recognition from renowned universities from all over the world. MOOC can be simply defined as an online course aimed at unlimited participation and open access via the web. In the latest issue of the BRAIN Journal, Răzvan Bogdan’s paper approaches a modality of integrating MOOCs into embedded systems higher education.

The academic field of Embedded Systems aims to enhance student’s understanding through various methods, however students find the concepts as being very monotonous and tend to avoid building practical solutions. In this paper, the author presents the introduction of MOOCs with no synchronization into the Embedded Systems courses at “Politehnica” University of Timișoara, Romania.

Embedded Systems course space for distance learning
Embedded Systems course space for distance learning

In order to observe the proficiency of this mixture, different topics and MOOC platforms were integrated with the Spring 2016 undergraduate Embedded Systems courses which are taught by the author at the third year of study. There were 72 students enrolled into this activity, both on-site and distance learning. The topics of the Embedded System course combine technical explanations with practical exercises, hence the students can have a foundation of this domain, but also practical abilities to attack a specific design problem.

The students were given a survey created in order to examine the usefulness of the MOOCs, and the obtained results showed that students prefer such a mix to the classical classroom methods of teaching. Future works will extend this method to English-taught blended courses, as well as offering various resources and practical exercises.