Adam Porter's MOOC third most popular of all time

According to  Online Course Report, Professor Adam Porter (CS, Fraunhofer, UMIACS) has the distinction of having taught over half a million students worldwide on Coursera (600,000, to be exact).

His course, Programming Mobile Applications for Android Handheld Systems – Part1, teaches students the "basics of developing mobile apps for the smartphones and tablets on the Android platform, from development environment setup to creating apps." This course has archived lessons, and the site indicates that Porter will teach more modules in the future.

While a professor at the University of Maryland, Porter estimates that he has taught about 2,000 students face to face, but teaching the Coursera course has allowed him to interact with hundreds of thousands more. This MOOC (Massive Online Open Course) has allowed him to connect with and teach many more students from diverse places around the world that he would never have had a chance to encounter.

Porter notes that about 5% of his students come from all over Africa, and he learned about some of the impact of his work has had on African students when he ran into a professor from Stellenbosch University in South Africa:

"[The professor] had given his students a project which they [the students] implemented on an Android device. He told me that he asked his students how they learned to program mobile devices, since it wasn't somthing they teach at his university, and they said, 'Oh, there's this guy from the University of Maryland on Coursera who teaches this. We just took his class and picked up all we needed,'" Porter said.

Now there are students all over the world who know about the Computer Science Department at the University of Maryland.

"These students probably never heard of the University of Maryland before," Porter notes, "but now they know it, and they like it."

The experience of teaching MOOCs has also expanded Porter's ideas about teaching and the effect that it can have on so many people. "I used to think lecturing was the only way to teach," he says. "Now I know it's just one of a teacher's many tools."

He notes that he has heard from some of his students and how he has helped them in various ways.

"I've gotten so many emails from students all over the world saying that my class gave them something precious--new knowledge, new jobs, new opportunities. What else could a teacher hope for?"


Professor Adam Porter's course Programming Mobile Applications for Android Handheld Systems – Part1 and Part2 are a part of Coursera's Mobile Cloud Computing with Android Specialization Track.



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