Explore Knowledge Management and Big Data with 20,000 Global Learners!

More than a decade ago, I was already designing and delivering e-Learning and blended learning courses at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) through a master degree program delivered via substantial e-activities. When PolyU embarked on the MOOC journey in May 2014, my team was given the opportunity to develop the first MOOC on edX under HKPolyUx. At the time, I thought this endeavor would be just another iteration of the work that I had been doing regularly in my teaching portfolio. In retrospect, that was surely a misjudgment and a gross under-estimation of the efforts needed!

MOOCs are not just an extension of “e-Learning.” They are delivering highly flexible and customizable courses for individuals and organizations– and in an ubiquitous way.

My first major consideration was choosing our MOOC’s topic and title. A good title not only addresses the needs and demands of the learners, but also is concise and eye-catching. Our own research has revealed that there are intrinsic relationships among Knowledge Management, Big Data and Cloud Computing. Collectively, the increasing importance and demand for learning opportunities in these three disciplines correlates directly with skills future knowledge workers need. Right now, there is a plethora of Big Data and Cloud Computing MOOCs which are technical in nature and a handful of courses that cover individual topics in Knowledge Management, but not one MOOC on this entire topic. In other words, not one MOOC currently covers these three areas, explaining how they are related and their collective impact on businesses. And, this research helped us further define our MOOC, Knowledge Management and Big Data for Business on edX.


The ISE101x MOOC team: Farzad Sabetzadeh (Left), Professor Eric Tsui (middle) and Eva Su (Right)

My second focus is, of course, the quality of the course and the pedagogy in delivering this MOOC. I am accustomed to delivering 1-2 hours online lectures, but in the MOOC world, this is never the case. The majority of videos are less than seven minutes, and each section typically has a series of videos, interleaved by suggested readings and quizzes. To adjust to this format, I’ve had to ensure the videos are concise, while still covering key topics.

As instructors, our role in a MOOC is to highlight the most interesting issues and inspire learners to develop an inquisitive mind to learn more.

Here at HKPolyUx, our MOOC journey has created new opportunities to foster collaborations between the MOOC teams and many academic support units including, for example, the public relations office, legal department, campus library, education development center, IT department, and alumni office. I have also noticed that more and more colleagues are interested in trying out e-Learning, flipped classrooms, and blended learning models.

MOOCs are really a change agent inside the university and can certainly be leveraged to achieve further transformation.

After the time and effort that went into creating and marketing this MOOC, we were delighted to learn that during the week of July 27th, Knowledge Management and Big Data for Business attracted the highest number of enrollments among all MOOCs offered by edX.

Today, nearly 20,000 learners from 187 countries across the globe are enrolled!

Our journey has just begun. Knowledge Management and Big Data for Business starts on August 25, 2015. Join us to be a part of this valuable learning journey!

This guest post was written by Eric Tsui, professor of the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University and Associate Director of Knowledge Management and Innovation Research Centre of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Professor Tsui is teaching the upcoming Knowledge Management and Big Data for Business course on edX, starting August 25, 2015.