CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Elizabeth Cohen has always felt at home teaching, but she's nervous about an upcoming lesson. That's because her students could be anyone -- literally.
"There's a pit in my stomach because I'm so excited. I'm not used to teaching an audience I don't know, but the opportunity for feedback is limitless," said Cohen, an assistant professor of communication studies at West Virginia University.
Cohen is among a handful of WVU professors leading a recently launched online course that is free and open to the public. The Massive Open Online Course isn't graded and isn't for college credit, but instead is a way to engage everyone about the impact technology has on our everyday lives, Cohen said.
The MOOC is WVU's first and will last through the month of February focusing on a range of ways communication technology shapes people's social lives, examining online dating, cyber bullying and everything in between.
"This is for anyone in the entire world -- that's what's revolutionary about it. The whole point is to give people more opportunities. A free education -- how often do people have a chance at that?" Cohen said.
The group uses the Twitter hashtag #WVUCommMOOC to engage participants about the program and discussion is at the core of the lessons, Cohen said.
On Tuesday, someone using the hashtag said they were on a ventilator and can't get out much in the winter and showed their appreciation for the class.