Sunday, December 7, 2014   4:22 PM

Parapsychology Massively Open Online Course (MOOC)

Carlos S. Alvarado, PhD, Research Fellow, Parapsychology Foundation

Nancy Zingrone and I are organizing a free online course, Parapsychology and Anomalistic Psychology: Research and Education, on the social media teaching platform,, to start Monday January 5th, 2015 and complete Friday February 14th, 2015. The course will be marketed by the WizIQ course group to its 3.5 million teachers and students from all over the world, as well as marketed by us to our various networks and contact lists.

This course is being hosted by our virtual/teaching learning project , the Alvarado Zingrone Institute for Research and Education (The AZIRE) and the Parapsychology Foundation  and its President, Lisette Coly. The AZIRE’s Board of Advisors are: Dr. Dean Radin (Institute of Noetic Sciences), Dr. Stanley Krippner (Saybrook University), Dr. Charles T. Tart (University of California-Davis, Emeritus, and Sofia University), Dr. Christine Simmonds-Moore (University of West Georgia), Dr. Chris Roe (University of Northampton), Eberhard Bauer (Institüt de Grenzgebiete der Psychologie und Psychohygiene), and Dr. Erlendur Haraldsson (University of Iceland, Emeritus).

We are styling the course as a MOOC, (on MOOCs click here and here) that is, a massively open online course—with open enrollment—so that we can reach the widest audience possible with high quality presentations suitable for post-graduate students, young researchers and academics in our field. We are hoping not only to serve our global community of scientists, academics, clinical professionals, and students at the bachelors and post-graduate stages, but also to pull in individuals we have not yet met who have a serious interest in parapsychology.

If the MOOC is successful, we hope to run it once a year in January/February with a shifting set of speakers. While the WizIQ platform cannot accommodate more than about 5,000 learners—and in all honesty we will count ourselves as successful if we obtain 1/10th of that amount on a yearly basis—we believe that the global reach of our course may help to set our science on a more stable footing, at least in terms of the visibility of the real work going on in the field.

For the first MOOC, we are focusing on five areas: 1) experimental and non-experimental research with a mix of, we hope, review presentations and some specific to a single research program, phenomena, or approach; 2) theories; 3) interactions with other fields, 4) university education; and 5) an ”other” area in which we might include, say, a lecture by a knowledgeable, self-reflective experiencer.

We have set up a schedule of 22 guest speakers for the course, with potential dates of presentation ranging from Tuesday the 6th of January through Thursday the 12th of February. Nancy and I will conduct both the opening and closing ceremonies on Monday, January 5th and Friday, February 13th, respectively. Nancy will also conduct occasional “housekeeping” online meetings for those among the attendees who are interested in obtaining a certificate of completion for the course from The AZIRE, our virtual teaching/learning project.

The Parapsychology Foundation will issue the certificates to all attendees to complete the requirements. To do this attendees may choose between the following: writing and submitting a reflection on 10 of the total number of online meetings, with approved reflections uploaded to the course materials; completing an informational or expressive project in the virtual world Second Life that will be displayed in The AZIRE Learning Center (we will offer attendees training for accomplishing work in a virtual world), of which a video will be uploaded in the course materials; completing successfully four of the six weekly quizzes that Nancy will write; or by filming a presentation to share with other attendees and speakers in the course materials, or on some other freely accessible online site.

A few of the confirmed speakers are: Dr. Steve Braude, Dr. Richard Broughton, Dr. Jeffrey Kripal, Dr. Fatima R. Machado, Dr. Alexander Moreira-Almeida, D. Roger Nelson, Dr. Alejandro Parra, Dr. Dean Radin, and Dr. Chris Roe.

If you’re interested in seeing the virtual classroom in action, you can check out the following lecture on our YouTube Channel.

We hope you will be able to join us in this new course.

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