Unfortunately, most massive open online course (MOOC) platforms still feel like drafty lecture halls instead of intimate seminar rooms. The majority of online learning environments are no more than video-hosting platforms with quizzes and a discussion forum. These default features force online instructors to use a style of teaching that feels more like shouting to the masses than engaging in meaningful conversations.

This presents a challenge and an opportunity: How can we design online learning environments that achieve scale and intimacy? How do we make digital platforms feel as inviting as well-designed physical classrooms?