CLAREMORE — Rogers State University plans to launch one of the state's first free, noncredit college courses later this year.
The university will launch a massive online open course, or MOOC, in sociology beginning in September. The course is based on a book by Frank Elwell, dean of Rogers State's School of Liberal Arts.
Elwell, who will teach the course, said the course will deal with sociocultural systems — “a fancy name for society,” he said. It will focus on the structure of societies, as well as the ideas and norms that make up cultures around the world.
The class amounts to “an online course on steroids,” Elwell said. It incorporates YouTube videos that illustrate the material covered in the course, he said.
Those videos will include a presentation by geneticist and National Geographic explorer Spencer Wells on the origins of human behavior and another video discussing German sociologist and philosopher Max Weber's 1904 book “The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism.”
Offering the course using the format allows Elwell to reach as many people as possible, he said, since students aren't bound either by location or ability to pay for the course. So far, he said, about 35 students have enrolled. Many appear to be from the Middle East, Africa and Asia, he said.