Community open online courses (Coocs) allow learners to study, but also create and teach their own courses online
Coursera is now allowing for A/B testing on its MOOC platform. This lets instructors and researchers test a single variable to see how it affects some aspect of the course, such as participation. As a Coursera blog article explained, the testing is done by “randomizing enrollees into different versions of the same course” and then seeing what impact the change-up makes on the “learning outputs.”
Many of the arguments around course completion in MOOCs are, I have argued, category mistakes, based on a false comparison with traditional HE, semester-long courses. We should not, of course, allow these arguments to distract us from making MOOCs better, in the sense of having more sticking power for participants. This is where things get interesting, as there have been some features of recent MOOCs that have caught my eye as providing higher levels of persistence among learners. The University of Derby ‘Dementia’ MOOC, full title ‘Bridging the Dementia Divide: Supporting People Living with Dementia’ is a case in point.
Unfortunately, most massive open online course (MOOC) platforms still feel like drafty lecture halls instead of intimate seminar rooms. The majority of online learning environments are no more than video-hosting platforms with quizzes and a discussion forum. These default features force online instructors to use a style of teaching that feels more like shouting to the masses than engaging in meaningful conversations.
This presents a challenge and an opportunity: How can we design online learning environments that achieve scale and intimacy? How do we make digital platforms feel as inviting as well-designed physical classrooms?