Boston University digital learning initative includes new sabermetrics course

From Sebastian Alamo at The Daily Free Press on January 29, 2014, with mention of SABR member Andy Andres:

Officials from Boston University’s Digital Learning Initiative held a lecture Tuesday highlighting the impact of Massive Open Online Courses on the changing world of online education.

DLI Associate Director Romy Ruukel discussed BU’s plan to expand its online teaching curriculum in the next school year, when BU’s first MOOCs will be available on the platform edX.

“Decades after the personal computer and the internet, we are still talking of educational technology so much of the time as either good or bad versus how has it changed the world,” Ruukel said. “As an educator, which information age are we preparing our students for: the one that we know or the one that they will know?”


One of the courses will cover sabermetrics, or an advanced form of baseball statistics, said College of General Studies senior lecturer Andy Andres. After teaching a similar course in person at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he adapted a MOOC version for BU.

Andres said adapting the class to an online program was challenging.

“Because of the [online] format, I cannot rely on face-to-face interactions,” he said. “I have to really think about how to teach this well right from the start.”

One of the primary benefits of MOOCs is their accessibility to students who may not have the opportunity to attend the university, thereby removing an education barrier, Andres said.

“I would say it [the use of MOOCs] is part of the democratization of learning,” he said. “Students who would normally not have the chance to take a class at BU or anywhere now can take this course. That is a huge part of just general access to education, which I am very much in favor of.”

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Originally published: January 30, 2014. Last Updated: January 30, 2014.