Instructors: A Small Private Online Course for your classroom

A SPOC is a private "clone" of our EdX MOOCs, CS169.1x and CS169.2x, that is open to enrollment only for your own students and in which you can appoint your own co-instructors or teaching assistants. Within this SPOC, you can change assignment deadlines, omit material, and otherwise customize the material to best suit your classroom needs.

Are SPOCs effective for students? Who else has tried this?  Can I learn more about this model?

I am loving this flipped classroom -- the students watch the videos and (maybe?) read the text before class, and then in class we pair-program the class homework assignments. The class is buzzing with inquiry based learning…thanks!”  —Rick Denman, Southwestern University

To whom are SPOCs available?

In general, you must be an instructor at an accredited 2- or 4-year higher education institution.  For logistical reasons, if we cannot accommodate all SPOCs, we may give preference to those for which the logistics of working with the instructor are more tractable.

What do SPOC instructors get?

edX will provision a fully-hosted set of course materials just for you and your students.  You and your instructional staff can decide what features of the courseware you want to include in your classroom, using edX Studio to customize the material to your needs.  A key feature of the SPOC is autograding: students submit complete programming assignments or deploy complete apps in the cloud, and get detailed grading results in minutes.  Your on-campus staff can concentrate on helping students work through the problems they got wrong, rather than spending all their time grading.

You decide which elements you want to use and what deadlines and grading policies to set:
  • Prerecorded lecture segments
  • Self-check questions interspersed with the lectures
  • Quiz/exam questions
  • Detailed automatic of programming assignments
  • Student chat room
  • Student discussion forums
  • Question banks of additional multiple-choice and short-answer questions, which you can use for homeworks or quizzes
  • Additional autogradable homeworks are available beyond those used in the MOOC
  • Access to additional instructor-only content online

Do I have to install any software?

No.  All you need is a Web browser.  edX hosts the SPOC on their open source edX Platform, and you and your instructional staff can use edX Studio, a web-based course authoring environment, to customize the course to your needs.

Do my students have to install any software?

We provide all the open-source software needed for the course via an install script a install script.  We recommend using the Cloud9 IDE for fast and friction-free setup.

(The courseware assumes access to free plans on Heroku, GitHub, and other cloud-based services; you may need to consult with your IT staff if firewall issues prevent this from working)

In what ways can I customize the SPOC content?
  • Change assignment due dates and late penalties
  • Reorder or omit material
  • Change grading policies such as the relative point balances of homeworks, quizzes, etc., and the number of submission attempts permitted on each

Can I add my own quiz questions and/or new autogradable assignments to the SPOC?

We will work with selected instructors who want to do this, so that future students can also benefit from those materials.  

What is expected from me?

  • edX and the course authors may ask you to participate in periodic teleconferences or phone interviews to get your feedback on both the material and the software.
  • You understand that edX is unable to provide you with support for course authoring or other uses of Open edX beyond its use to deliver these materials.

How do I get started?

During this pilot period, SPOCs are free.  To apply for this program, use the form on this page to request a free instructor copy of the book and indicate your interest in the next SPOC offering.