Massive Online Open Courses – MOOCs
Could Email Fix A Troubled Form of Online Education?
A Northwestern Kellogg researcher is combatting Massive Online Open Courses’ (MOOCs) abysmally low completion rate one email at a time.
Massive Online Open Courses – Karis Hustad 12/21/15 @5:04pm in Education
Massive Online Open Courses, 0r Massive Open Online Courses – One size fits all MOOCs, at best, for the ‘Middle” students, lets say 30% of the total, provide short term, superficial understanding, which is soon forgotten.
When the student outcomes objective is individual student, sustained, deep adaptive learning, resulting in long term individual performance improvement, the one size fits all model simply is the wrong model and doesn’t work.
We know one size fits all lecture is not effective nor efficient for deep, adaptive learning, why would we think transferring the lecture to online, without personalized, ongoing facilitation would have a better effect for deep learning?
We know that access to great content does not translate to individual, deep learning resulting in sustained performance improvement. If this were the case schools would have been replaced by the internet.
Trying to make one size fits all MOOC successful is futile because, like lecture, its not how individuals learn.
The concept of emailing students has been around for some time: http://www.starfishsolutions.com/. The research above is interesting, but not ground breaking.
Rather than trying to jam a square peg (one to many model) into a round hole (21st century, deep, personalized, facilitated, reinforced, educationally innovative, adaptive learning software) why didn’t we start with the round peg for the round hole and why are we continuing to promote a methodology that doesn’t work, painfully evolving it into one that does work, when that one that does work currently exists? Do we really have that much time and money available and is our desire for advancing student success outcomes resulting in advanced, sustained performance improvement that low a priority?
It appears that with all we know about cognitive science and research proven best practices, we still want to hold onto and maintain the traditional, ineffective and inefficient, one size fits all teaching paradigm.
Our researchers above have stumbled onto a key existing component of current adaptive learning technology that results in student success outcomes. Their research will next lead them to positive student success outcomes resulting from: formative assessment, personalized learning plans, ongoing professional facilitation and reinforcement, simulations, role plays, summative assessment, blended learning and flipped learning.
The problem is these ‘new’ elements have been proven to work for individual student deep adaptive learning and are included in existing educationally innovative technology (software).
Massive Online Open Courses – A few years ago, it seemed MOOCs were destined to revolutionize education.
MOOCs (which stands for Massive Online Open Courses) offer open online courses in a variety of topics, often taught by professors at top universities such as Harvard and MIT, and are facilitated by companies such as Coursera, Udacity, and edX. By increasing access to low-cost, high quality education options, students around the world could, in theory, digest the same information and listen to the same lectures as students on top campuses worldwide. The New York Times called 2012 “The Year of the MOOC.”
Today, MOOCs have yet to live up to their promise. Completion rates are low across the board (as low as 5 percent for edX courses). Coursera and Udacity both pivoted to focus on “nanodegrees,” a hybrid online course and MOOC, created in partnership with universities and tech companies, but with mixed results.
Offering certificates and course credit (for a fee) seems to help a bit, given students have some financial skin in the game and incentive to finish the course. But studies show MOOCs are largely taken by people of higher economic status, and already have degrees. With this in mind, educators and researchers are seeking ways to incentivize students across the board.
As online courses evolve, could a “nudge” help people finish MOOCs?
Northwestern Kellogg professor Gad Allon has been quietly experimenting with ways to not only get students to sign up for these courses, but actually finish them. In addition to teaching operations courses at Kellogg, he teaches “Scaling Operations: Linking Strategy and Execution,” a MOOC through Coursera. It is a free course, but students can pay to get a certificate of accomplishment.
Recently he and two other Kellogg researchers, Jan Van Mieghem and Dennis J. Zhang, tested out their hypothesis that emailed “nudges” could push students to talk with classmates and check out a discussion board. That, in turn, could help students stay engaged, and therefore be more likely to complete a course. This course had about 24,000 students and about 4,200 of them submitted at least one of the weekly quizzes.
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