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Featured Image - The Global Classroom

The Global Classroom

UNM's first MOOC, Web Application Architectures, drew 48,123 enrollments from 187 countries around the world in Spring 2014. To help each other with the course, students self-organized into study groups such as Friends from India and Hello Indonesia, exchanging thousands of posts in the class forum. 

Featured Image - "Anywhere I go, I have a friend!"

"Anywhere I go, I have a friend!"

Says Professor and Associate Provost Greg Heileman, after teaching his first MOOC. He met some of his students and new friends in person at the World Wide Web Conference, Seoul, Korea, in April of 2014. The comment, one of hundreds, was sent to him by another student. 

Featured Image - UNM extends its influence with its first MOOCs

UNM extends its influence with its first MOOCs

The number of students who enrolled in UNM’s first MOOC exceeded the number of students enrolled at all campuses, undergraduate and graduate. An instructor would have to teach their campus-based courses for a millennium in order to reach the same number of enrollments.

Featured Image - Coursera partners with top universities worldwide

Coursera partners with top universities worldwide

UNM joins a select number of U.S. State Institutions partnering with Coursera to offer world-class education with the aim to empower people around the globe to improve their lives, the lives of their families, and the communities they live in.

Featured Image - UNM's free online courses achieve worldwide reach

UNM's free online courses achieve worldwide reach

26,776 students from 168 countries enrolled in UNM's 2nd MOOC, the study of Curanderismo: Traditional Medicine. UNM's 1st bilingual MOOC, Global Business Environment 1, drew 6,478 enrollments from 151 countries, with over half from emerging markets. The 2nd session of Web Application Architectures drew 50,355 enrollments from 191 countries.

MOOC is an acronym for Massive Open Online Course

A MOOC is a course of study made available over the internet without charge to a very large number of people. Anyone may enroll by logging on to the website and signing up. UNM has partnered with a leading provider of MOOCs, Coursera.


Refers to a course that is large enough for sub-clusters of interests to self-organize for engagement in the course. The open enrollment allows for participation in the course from around the globe.


Anyone with an adequate internet connection may participate in the course. Courses are offered for free with fees-for-service such as credentialing or tutoring. Prerequisites or pre-tests that limit participation should not be required.


“MOOC technology aligns with today’s learners — with how they access content, interact with one another, network and learn.”

— Greg Heileman, Associate Provost of Academic Affairs and Professor of Electrical Computer Engineering at UNM


Coming Soon! Computer Graphics with Web GL and Rural Health in early 2015.


Professor & Associate Provost Greg Heileman

“The most rewarding teaching experience I’ve ever had”

After authoring and teaching UNM's first MOOC, this is how Greg Heileman describes his experience. He says, “The scale of MOOCs allows learning and engagement opportunities that were simply not possible a few years ago.” Students enrolled in Web Application Architectures, first offered in Spring 2014, from 187 countries around the world. Thousands of posts were submitted to the class forum. Students self-organized study groups to communicate with and help each other, such as Friends from India and Hello Indonesia. Lower performing students asked questions and higher performing students answered them. Heileman notes that many issues were resolved by the students, “just the way you would want it to happen.”

Enrollment Numbers for UNM's first MOOC

  • 48,123 - signed up
  • 39,095 - visited the course site at least once
  • 29,557 - watched a lecture
  • 11,423 - submitted at least one exercise
  • 9,000 - submitted a program for review
  • 4 - 5,000 - completed the course

Enrollments by Continent

  • 32% - North America
  • 29% - Asia
  • 27% - Europe
  • 5% - South America
  • 5% - Africa
  • 2% - Oceania

Parents of today's freshmen grew up in:

  • An analog world
  • An industrial economy
  • A national focus

Today's freshman class grew up in:

  • A digital world
  • An information economy
  • A global focus

Visit the course page for this MOOC at
Read more about MOOCs at UNM this Fall in the UNM Newsroom.

Eliseo (Cheo) Torres

Ancient wisdom shared with global community

UNM Professor and Vice-President of Student Affairs Eliseo (Cheo) Torres has made it his life's work to keep the tradition of Curanderismo alive and to share its practices with as many people as possible. Now UNM's entry into the MOOC field gives him the chance to reach his broadest audience yet, with 26,776 enrollments coming from 168 countries.

Curanderismo: Traditional Healing Medicine covers the history, traditions, rituals, herbs and remedies of Curanderismo, a folk healing tradition of the Southwestern United States, Latin American and Mexico. The course examines the ways traditional medicine may effectively meet the health needs of many people, especially the uninsured.

The course is presented in thematic modules that feature video demonstrations of Curanderismo, featuring a well-known healer from Mexico, Peru or the United States, followed by a short quiz. Students are encouraged to read the supplemental books and articles.

As an example, one module theme will cover traditional plants, and how you may prepare them for medicine in tinctures and micro-doses. The energetic healing module features a Curandero from Oaxaca who is well-known for energetic work. Cheo is excited to share the benefits of Curanderismo with each of his students from around the world.

Visit the course page for this MOOC at
Read more about how Cheo’s lifetime of experience prepared him to teach traditional healing on a global scale.

Professor Doug Thomas, PHD

UNM’s first bilingual MOOC

Global Business Environment 1 is taught by Professor Doug Thomas in English and Spanish, with all course material provided in both languages. Lectures are delivered in an engaging manner to encourage reflection and inquiry, impartidas por el instructor en el español y en el Inglés. A second course with new material, Part 2, will be offered directly after Part 1 concludes on October 28th.

UNM’s MOOCs invite participation from students around the world to become a global learning community, to engage in the course and to help each other learn. Global Business Environment 1 has drawn 6478 enrollments from 151 countries. Over half of these students (3479 or 54%) are from emerging markets! 89 signed up for the Signature Track to receive a Certificate upon completion.

Professor Doug Thomas (D.T. to his students), PhD, has lived abroad and visited many parts of the world. He is passionate about the international business community and wants to ignite that passion in others.

The course is taught in 8 weekly modules that explore big questions, such as: Why are some countries wealthier than others? Are all countries destined to be stuck where they are now? Can examples of incredible economic development be duplicated by others?

Students of this MOOC gain an understanding of the interaction of economics, politics, history, trade agreements and the global financial system. Esta materia introduce al alumno a una comprensión fundamental del entorno político, cultural, lingüística y socio-económico en el cual opera una empresa internacional. Professor Thomas wants to help prepare his students to successfully work and live in an increasingly globalized world.

Visit the course page for this MOOC at

Features of a typical MOOC

  • Lectures are typically 7-10 minutes in length and are grouped together in sets of 7-9 into modules.
  • The online presentations feature high-quality production and tight editing.
  • Students can rewind or fast-forward through the lectures. An MIT study found that their edX students typically watched their MOOC videos at 1.5x live speed.
  • Quizzes are embedded in the videos.
  • A MOOC course usually features automated grading and peer assessment.
  • Mastery Learning allows students to repeat lectures and exercises as needed by the individual student.
  • Self-organizing community forums are created by the students to help each other with the course (Calibrated Peer Learning).

Overview of MOOC development at UNM

UNM’s MOOC partner

Coursera has its origins at Stanford University. It is an education platform that partners with top universities and organizations worldwide, to offer courses online for anyone to take for free. Their mission statement envisions a future where everyone has access to a world-class education. 

UNM's first MOOC was developed from an existing online course

A portion of an existing UNM Online course that had been taught a number of times in the past, Web Application Architectures, was converted (or MOOCified, to use a term coined by Heileman).  This was a mature online course with well-developed course materials. To achieve the production standards, new video was shot in the production studios at UNM New Media & Extended Learning, and new slides were created. The subject was considered likely to be of great interest and proved to have a global draw.

Extending the reach of UNM

The number of students who enrolled in UNM’s first offering of the Web Application Architectures MOOC:

  • Is more than the number of students enrolled at UNM (all campuses, undergraduate and graduate).
  • Would require an instructor to teach at UNM for a millennium in order to reach the same enrollment.

Further MOOC development at UNM

Web Application Architectures, with Greg Heileman, began a second session on August 11, 2014.
As of August 20th, enrollments reached 50,355 from 191 countries, with 630 enrollments for the Signature Track, a revenue-producing option.

Curanderismo: Traditional Medicine with Cheo Torres started August 18, 2014.
As of August 20th, enrollments reached 26,776 from 168 countries.

Global Business Environment 1 -— Entorno Global de Negocios 1 with Doug Thomas will be offered starting September 2, 2014.
As of August 20th, pre-enrollments reached 3,825 from 147 countries, with 24 enrollments for the Signature Track, a revenue-producing option.

More MOOC titles are planned by UNM.

Visit UNM’s page at Coursera:

Some content adapted from Presentation and Q&A session by Greg Heileman at UNM Tech Days 2014.