Inside MOOCs: Student Expectations and Achievement

I recently presented the info below at the Sloan Consortium’s International Conference on Online Learning in Orlando, Florida. I think the most compelling/interesting part for me was to see the intentions of students who signed up for JHSPH Coursera courses, with the primary reason being for fun and enjoyment, followed closely by job and/or career skills. It was particularly interesting to see that 92% of the students who filled in the pre-course survey and indicated that they wanted to complete all activities and receive a Statement of Achievement did so, but also, 69% percent of the students who did not indicate an interest in receiving an SOA actually did. So I think it’s with a grain of salt that we take the frequently cited information that 10% or less of enrolled students actually complete MOOCs. It’s for a good reason: they never intended to. What we should focus on, is that these resources are available to anyone, anywhere, to use, more or less, in ways they desire. If these courses and resources are meeting the needs and desires of even a fraction of the total enrolled students, then they have done a good thing. I do think there are ways, in both content and platform, to enhance various aspects of the learning experience via constructivism, social learning and community-building, but I’ll save them for another time.

Anyway, here’s the info:

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Clark Shah-Nelson
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