A Department of Homeland Security Emeritus Center of Excellence led by the University of Maryland

A consortium of researchers dedicated to improving the understanding of the human causes and consequences of terrorism

MOOC Undergoes Changes


MOOC Undergoes Changes

Guest lecturers, content added to online course

November 20, 2014Lauren Sagl

START’s Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), “Understanding Terrorism and the Terrorist Threat,” will be undergoing some updates this winter.

With 6,409 people from across the world already enrolled, students can expect to see more content this time around. In addition, lectures will be available online from START researchers and guest speakers from NATO.

START researchers featured this year are Victor Asal, Arie Kruglanski, Gina Ligon, Amy Pate, Tony Lemieux and Peter Krause.

“Our purpose is twofold,” says Jacqueline DeVore, START’s Education Program Manager. “We want to provide education on an important topic to those who want to learn but wouldn’t normally have the access or resources. In addition, we want to expose a global audience to START research and point them to relevant educational resources and professional opportunities so they can continue to learn after the class ends.”

This was especially true for Frank, one of the students in START’s pilot program.

“Considering that some of us haven’t graduated from a college, the chance to join an online college course is simply a lifetime dream!” said Frank, a public officer from Greece.

The course’s pilot program last winter reached 180 different countries, with 30% of its participants from emerging economies.

“People try to compare this course to traditional college courses, but in my opinion they aren’t,” DeVore says. “It is a self-paced, interactive and unique way to engage with content.” In addition, students have the opportunity to engage with thousands of peers in rich, student-driven discussion.

The experience for MOOC participants depends entirely on the individual. Students can complete all videos, quizzes and assignments, or only glance at a few lectures.  Participants who are interested can enter the “signature track” to receive a certificate of completion at the end of the course. Others are just looking to learn more about terrorism.

“This course gave me a more practical and social explanation to the crime of terrorism,” said Andrea, a student from the pilot program and a lawyer in Malta.

This year, the course will be offered with English, Spanish and Chinese subtitles to accommodate a larger audience.

“Our audience is global and the opportunities to use the knowledge acquired in this course are endless,” DeVore says.

You can register for START’s MOOC, which begins January 12, 2015, here.