Skip to main content

Three New MOOCs Launching This Fall

Massive open online courses will teach reproduction, leadership, social marketing

  • Leadership courses focus on communication, social influence, collaboration
  • Four deans, 10 faculty to be featured in Leadership Specialization MOOCs
  • Introduction to Reproduction MOOC: a crash course in reproductive health
  • Social Marketing MOOC: a five-course specialization, beginning Sept. 15

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Northwestern University is offering innovative, new massive open online courses (MOOCs) in fall 2015, including Introduction to Reproduction and two new specializations -- one focusing on leadership and another on social marketing.

The Organizational Leadership Specialization features four Northwestern deans and 10 faculty members teaching a five-course series with a capstone project and a certificate for completion. The five courses examine high-performance leadership through team building, negotiations and conflict resolution; communications and storytelling; social influence; marketing; and design innovation. It launches in October.

The Social Marketing Specialization -- also with five courses, a capstone project and a certificate for completion -- will teach students to design a social media strategy, engage online communities and assess business impact. It starts today (Sept. 15).

The Introduction to Reproduction MOOC is a crash-course in human reproductive health through fact- and biology-based information on a variety of topics. It will cover reproductive anatomy, key biological changes during puberty, sexual biology and contraceptive methods, reproductive disorders and a special introduction to the field of oncofertility. It begins Sept. 28.

“These new MOOCs showcase some of Northwestern’s leading thinkers, excellent programs, intellectual and research leadership and global outreach,” said Marianna Kepka, assistant provost for academic administration. “They cut across a variety of programs, disciplines and schools.”

The deans featured in the Leadership Specialization include Sally Blount, dean of the Kellogg School of Management; Barbara O’Keefe, dean of the School of Communication; Brad Hamm, dean of Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications, and Julio Ottino, dean of the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science.

Hundreds of thousands of students from around the world have taken MOOCs created by Northwestern since the University first started offering the courses in fall 2013 through its partnership with Coursera. The MOOCs are available on Coursera’s digital platform to anyone, anywhere, for free.

Here are the three new Northwestern MOOCs:

  • On Sept. 15, Northwestern launches its first new specialization of the fall, Social Marketing: How to Profit in a Digital World, through the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications. The specialization is made up of five MOOCs and culminates with a capstone project. The first MOOC will be available Tuesday. The other four will launch over the next four months. In today’s marketplace, organizations need effective, profitable social marketing strategies. In this specialization, students will learn to match markets to social strategies to profitably grow their businesses. They will use social media tools and platforms to design, manage and optimize social campaigns to promote growth and position their brands in the global digital marketplace. In the final capstone project, students create and evaluate a comprehensive social marketing strategy.
  • On Sept. 28, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine Professor Teresa Woodruff, chief of the division of reproductive science in medicine, will launch Introduction to Reproduction. This is a crash-course in human reproductive health through fact- and biology-based information on a variety of topics. It will cover reproductive anatomy, key biological changes during puberty, sexual biology and contraceptive methods, reproductive disorders, and a special introduction to the field of Oncofertility. Specific lecture titles are as follows: 1) Reproductive Anatomy & Hormones, 2) Menstrual Cycle, Oocyte Maturation, & Sperm Activation, 3) Sexual Biology, Fertilization, & Contraception and 4) Reproductive Health & Disorders.
  • On Oct. 15, the second new MOOC specialization, Organizational Leadership, will begin this fall, consisting of five MOOCs focused on leadership and featuring faculty from four of Northwestern’s schools: the Kellogg School of Management, the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications, the School of Communication and the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science. Two of the courses within the specialization are scheduled to launch Oct. 15. They will include the Kellogg MOOC, High-Performance Collaboration: Leadership, Teamwork and Negotiation and the Medill MOOC, Leadership Communication for Maximum Impact: Storytelling. The third course, Leadership Through Social Influence through the School of Communication, will launch Nov. 15. Launching in January 2016 will be the a second MOOC from Kellogg, Leadership through Marketing and McCormick's MOOC, Leadership through Design Innovation. The specialization will bring together learners from different disciplines, different parts of the world and different types of organizations to foster the type of interdisciplinary learning and collaboration for which Northwestern in known. 

Through Coursera, Northwestern is able to offer some of its top courses and faculty to learners around the world with no admissions requirements and no tuition costs. Because of the asynchronous course delivery, students can complete the work at times convenient for them. Through developing the MOOCs, Northwestern faculty are at the forefront of experimenting and implementing new technology and pedagogical tools that they then adapt to on-campus teaching at the University.

The University joined what are now more than 120 international and U.S. institutions working with Coursera -- which has more than 15 million learners from 190 countries considering more than 1,300 courses provided by partners in 25 countries.

See a list of all of Coursera’s global partners.

Here is more detailed information on the three new Northwestern MOOCs.

Social Marketing Specialization

This specialization, Social Marketing: How to Profit in a Digital World (@NUsocialmktg), is designed to help students manage their social strategies, expand their online audience and establish their social brand over five courses.

They will also develop targeted content to spark dialogue with various social communities. Each course also contains a toolkit with bonus materials -- one for everyone who signs up, and a special toolkit with additional content for those who sign up and pay to earn a Course Certificate.

Students can enroll in the individual courses for free, or they can enroll in the premium version of the courses for $79 per MOOC or $426 for all five MOOCs. These courses are available anytime for students to complete at their own pace and according to their own schedules.

In today’s digital climate, many businesses have gotten good at being active on social media. But very few have figured out how to be profitable on it. Northwestern University’s new, free online course takes dead aim at this issue. 

The five-course specialization is launching on Coursera Tuesday (Sept. 15). This free course is designed to teach entrepreneurs and executives how to engage with high-value target audiences and develop profitable social media strategies.

“Only about 20 percent of companies worldwide say they have social programs that deliver bottom-line profit and ROI,” said Randy Hlavac (@RandyHlavac), the Medill Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) professor who is leading the course. “This course focuses on the strategies used by the most effective companies within that 20 percent. It describes the types of strategies that work and gives you the tools you need to go out an implement them in your organization.”

Hlavac, who teaches Digital, Social, and Mobile Marketing at Medill, is the author of the new book, "Social IMC: Social Strategies with Bottom-Line ROI." He is also the coordinator of the Digital and Interactive Specialization at Medill and the director of the Medill IMC OmniChannel Initiative with IBM. 

The course, which is open to and designed for business owners, executives and marketing professionals around the world, will show students how to develop, deploy and monetize a successful social media marketing plan. “It’s designed to teach you the strategies that are actually trackable and monetizable. Then it shows you how to go out and execute those strategies,” Hlavac said.

The first MOOC will be available to participants starting Sept. 15, and subsequent MOOCs will launch over the next four months. The MOOCs will cover:

MOOC 1: What is Social? (launches Sept. 15)
MOOC 2: The Importance of Listening
MOOC 3: Engagement & Nurture Marketing Strategies
MOOC 4: Content, Advertising & Social IMC
MOOC 5: The Business of Social
Social Marketing Capstone Project

Introduction to Reproduction

This course will answer questions about topics ranging from sex hormones to menstrual cycles. The objective of this course is to ensure students understand reproductive health and not confuse reproduction with sex (or having sex).

This course is aimed at providing learners with quality information that is meaningful to them and that may be hard to find otherwise. Reproductive health is an area of knowledge that needs to be demystified.

The designers of the course aim to have students examine reproduction through a biological and scientific lens addressing these issues in a comfortable and interactive format that will lead to a better understanding of holistic health, long-term.

The course is taught by an expert in the field of oncofertility. Teresa Woodruff is the Thomas J. Watkins Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the vice chair of research (OB/GYN) at Feinberg. She is also professor of molecular biosciences in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and professor of biomedical engineering in the McCormick School of Engineering at Northwestern.

She is an internationally recognized expert in ovarian biology and, in 2006, coined the term “oncofertility” to describe the merging of two fields: oncology and fertility. She now heads the Oncofertility Consortium, an interdisciplinary team of biomedical and social scientist experts from across the country.

Each of the four modules in the courses has a different goal, as follows:

Module 1: Anatomy, Development, and Hormones -- focuses on learning, identifying and labeling all parts of male and female reproductive anatomy and the function of hormones on development. The goal here is for students to be able to label and analyze the basic functionality of all parts of male and female reproductive anatomy, conceptualize the role of hormones in the interactions between the brain, pituitary and reproductive tract, and examine the basic functionality of the hormones involved during development and puberty.

Module 2: Menstruation, Oocyte Maturation, and Sperm Activation -- articulates the hormonal implications of the menstruation cycle and sperm activation as it relates to both reproductive health and overall health. The goal is for students to be able to conceptualize this process, analyze how the hormones of the pituitary relate to target tissues, examine the mechanisms behind oocyte maturation and meiosis, and illustrate how sperm development leads to modal function. 

Module 3: Sex, Sexuality, and Contraception -- outlines the scientific foundations of contraception beyond social norms. The goal is for students to be able to classify the scientific foundations of male and female sexual biology and contrast differing contraception options through the lens of reproductive function and beyond social norms. 

Module 4: Reproductive Health Concerns -- spotlights the possibility of infertility in the human body and provides an in-depth understanding of the biology behind infertility, endometriosis, reproductive diseases and oncofertility. The goal is for students to be able to identify the possible causes of infertility in the human body, analyze the effects of reproductive tract disorders, recognize the risks and symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases and discuss the field of oncofertility in relation to sexual and holistic health.

Leadership Specialization

These five MOOCs are designed for working professionals and executives in early- to mid-career who want to strengthen their general management skills as well as develop an impactful leadership style. The goals for learners in the first three MOOCs comprising the Leadership Specialization are as follows:

The Kellogg MOOC, High Performance Collaboration: Leadership, Teamwork and Negotiation -- is designed to help students learn how to cultivate their leadership skills and coach others, to optimally design a team for success and to negotiate in a collaborative fashion in large and small business situations.

The course addresses the question: Are learners born or made? It will help learners find the common misconceptions about leadership and learn the essential skills to cultivate effective leadership, design optimal teams for collaboration and create mutually beneficial negotiation strategies to minimize conflict.  Students will engage in self-assessments to analyze their leadership style, host brainwriting versus brainstorming sessions, develop team charters and develop negotiation planning documents.

The principal instructor in the course is Leigh Thompson, the J. Jay Gerber Professor of Dispute Resolution & Organizations and director of the Kellogg Team and Group Research Center, the Kellogg Leading High Impact Teams Executive program and the Constructive Collaboration Executive program. Her research focuses on negotiation skills and strategies, group decision-making, creativity and learning.

The Medill School’s MOOC: Leadership Communication for Maximum Impact: Storytelling – will help students learn how to use traits and attributes they naturally own to inform and improve their communications effectiveness; develop a leadership story by blending these innate, authentic assets with studied strategies of effective leaders to improve communications with key stakeholders; discover strategies born from effective media leaders to build storytelling skills and attributes; analyze crisis communications and the effect of storytelling on leadership handling of crisis; and understand how to create organizational growth through storytelling.

The principal instructor in the course will be Tom Collinger, associate professor, executive director of Medill’s IMC Spiegel Digital & Database Research Center, and senior director of Medill’s Distance Learning Initiative. Other faculty teaching this course include Ernest Duplessis, Hud Englehart and Candy Lee. 

The School of Communication MOOC, Leadership Through Social Influence -- is designed to provide learners with a systematic general framework for analyzing persuasive influence situations. Learners will be able to identify different challenges faced by persuaders and to fashion appropriate strategies for addressing those challenges. The broad goal is to provide learners with not only an extensive persuasion tool kit, but also with an understanding of how different tools are useful in different situations. Specifically, the course will address four broad topics: strategies for influencing people’s personal attitudes; strategies for affecting social factors influencing behavior; strategies for affecting people’s perceived ability to undertake the desired behavior; and strategies for inducing people to act on their existing intentions.

The principal instructor in the course is Daniel O’Keefe, Owen L. Coon Professor in the department of communication studies. His research focuses on organizing and synthesizing the substantial body of work derived from persuasion studies -- the effects of messages on persuasive outcomes and the distinctive problems associated with the development of dependable generalizations about persuasive message effects.

The Kellogg MOOC, Leadership through Marketing – addresses the core goal of attracting and retaining customers.  The course will challenge basic assumptions about the behavior of customers and the role of marketing in organizations large and small.  Learners will identify the elements of marketing strategies and develop strategies capable of creating meaningful brands for consumers and competitive advantage for firms.  Finally, through this course, learners will improve their understanding of the role of customer analytics, including the importance of analytics, how to tell good from bad analytics, and other data analytics skills every leader needs to master. 

The principal instructor in the course is Greg Carpenter, James Farley/Booz Allen Hamilton Professor of Marketing Strategy and Director of the Center for Market Leadership.  Other faculty teaching this course include Sanjay Khosla and Florian Zettelmeyer.

The McCormick MOOC, Leadership through Design Innovation – offers a new style of leadership to embolden and accelerate innovation.  Learners will be able to appreciate the value of design innovation, understand and utilize design methods to find opportunities and develop a range of solutions and apply design thinking in their organizations. 

The principal instructors in the course are Ed Colgate, Allen K. Johnnie Cordell Breed Senior Professor in Design  and Greg Holderfield, Pentair – D. Eugene and Bonnie L. Nugent Clinical Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Director of the Segal Design Institute.  Other faculty teaching in this course include Pam Daniels and Liz Gerber.

Read more on MOOCs at Northwestern.

Editor's Picks

Back to top