Massive Open Online Course

Massive Open Online Course

Tinkering Fundamentals

In July, 2014, the Tinkering Studio experimented with a new kind of Professional Development offering, one designed for a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). We partnered with Coursera to design a course that would introduce the fundamentals of tinkering to educators from around the world.

This resulted in a six-week course called Tinkering Fundamentals: a constructionist approach to STEM learning, intended to share our approach to designing activities, practicing facilitation, and setting up environments conducive to learning about science and art through tinkering. The course invited participants to get engaged with six circuit-based activities: Circuit Boards, Scribbling Machines, Paper Circuits, Sewn Ciruits, Toy Take Apart, and Makey Makey.

We produced 29 short videos detailing the way we go about designing activities, from guiding principles to the “nuts and bolts”; we also interviewed several artists, scientists, and thinkers than have influenced our work; and finally we asked teachers form the Lighthouse Community Charter School in Oakland, CA to try these activities in their classrooms, and reflect on them from a teacher’s perspective. We also developed detailed guides for each of the activities shared.

The course was a tremendous experience for us: we were able to articulate our approach to tinkering, get participants to actively make and tinker, reflect on their own learning process, and ultimately their teaching practice.

We are now offering this course all year round through Coursera! You can register here.

Activity guides

Circuit Boards

Scribbling Machines

Paper Circuits

Sewn Circuits

Toy Take Apart

Selected videos

Week Two: Designing for Tinkerability: Circuit Boards


Week Four: Sewn Circuits


Week Six: Pedagogical Perspective: Final Thoughts