The rise of online learning has so far failed to generate serious thinking about the appropriate size of learning experiences. The Coursera platform has been no exception as it has stayed with the course as the appropriate unit of learning. The course arose in an entirely different context, that of the college campus where different discipline-based departments developed the individual course as the building block for courses of study leading to degrees.
Recently, Coursera has offered a new format called “Guided Projects” that run one to three hours and introduce a topic by having participants work on a single project. It is great to see some experimentation with this format that is more than a lecture or a lesson and less than a course.
The Guided Project might be an appropriate way for some established institutions to experiment with the Coursera platform, and a collection of guided projects might become re-usuable resources to be employed in other learning contexts.