I came across an article from Slate today, The Death of MOOCs Has Been Greatly Exaggerated by Robert Wright. He wanted to share that his MOOC, titled Buddhism and Modern Psychology, is wrapping up successfully on Coursera. He then shared that he believes that the “impending death of MOOCs—massive open online courses—is greatly exaggerated.” There are many ways to look at this and I do agree… but it depends on how you look at it.
I am sure that Robert would agree that his students are most engaged because they are invested in the content, experiences, etc. MOOCs could be thought of as good books that we set aside and one day actually want to finish. Finishing could be based on the students terms, e.g., going through all of the content, completing all of the assignments, etc. Then even once in a while you get in a MOOC with thousands of others, interact with them, learn with them, and can have a blast of a month.
But yes. The no-credit MOOCs do have low completion rates largely because the learner feels alone and don’t know if it is a good book or not… so they may end up setting it aside… In a pervious posting, I mentioned that We cannot apply traditional measures when evaluating a MOOC!
Yes. Completion rates are low when comparing MOOC to traditional and online classes at a university. The point being is that they are not the same and they shouldn’t be compared. The learner has different expectations for learning when taking a MOOC and so should the institution in terms of what they expect from students. A great comparison to the experience in a MOOC to something else that many of us use and not complete is a newspaper. But the lower completion rates of newspapers don’t cause us to say that they are failing? And who reads their newspaper online now BTW? (I had to make that comparison 🙂
Thanks for your article Robert. Yes! We cannot apply traditional measures when evaluating a MOOC.