Measuring MOOC Success Continues to Evolve
How do you measure whether a Massive Open Online Course is actually doing anything when only a small percent of students ever completes the material? John Markoff’s New York Times blog says that researchers are working on ways to define success and compare MOOC progress to traditional materials.
R A Johnston
Notes that most courses, including Coursera's, are lecture based with optional homework assignments. While on the surface this sounds negative, many top universities are lending their professors to this models: MIT, Stanford, Penn State, etc. These organizations lend validation to the potential educational value.
One of the first universities to incorporate MOOCs into their own educational system is San Jose State University, who intends to study the data they receive over semesters to decide definitively on the merits of the structure. Such studies will be invaluable in the near future as MOOCs grow exponentially.
Proponents suggest that they can create unique learning environments not possible in conventional classes, while admitting that face to face classes offer other strengths.
The truth of this will play out in the near future as MOOC platforms like Udacity are moving away from strictly video lecture and reading teaching methods, incorporating activities such as interactive quizzes, human mentors and tutors, and perhaps even more creative exercises.
The strongest indicator that more possibilities exist is the learning platform called Duolingo from Carnegie Mellon University, designed to be gamified, game-like, in teaching languages. Duolingo is the best studied structured learning game.
Students have "lives," "rankings," "points," and other game features to motivate learning instead of a grade. This type of activity is ideal for online courses, not traditional classrooms. But does it perform?
A lot of testing has been done along the way, and with more than a million users, scholars have accumulated big data. Tests show that what the game teaches a level of language competency in 34 hours that takes 45 hours with traditional models.
With great innovators, thinkers, entrepreneurs, and philanthropists on the task, it appears that much can be done with MOOCs.
Interested? Click the title or image to read on.
Source is EducationNews.org
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