MOOC completion and dropout

“Coursera Takes a Nuanced View of MOOC Dropout Rates – Wired Campus – The Chronicle of Higher Education” #MOOC

Complexity Theory in application – where constraints are “controlled” by the media & authority: positives are amplified, whilst negatives are dampened. MOOC drop out rates are high but that is not the point. There are more participants completing the course comparing to the entire course students in institutions for years! The question is: Could we compare MOOC with traditional in-house or online course?
Fabian Banga Perhaps we should not even think about MOOCs in terms of a class. So the drop out issue is immediately irrelevant.
Keith points out here:
The (only) point I am trying to make with this comparison (which has numerical significance, but says nothing about quality of education or utility), is that applying the traditional metrics of higher education to MOOCs is entirely misleading. MOOCs are a very different kind of educational package, and they need different metrics — metrics that we do not yet know how to construct.

A great many never intend to complete the course. Rather, their goal is to sample, in order to get a general sense of a subject or topic. In other words, they come looking for education. Pure and simple.

For those students, the issue of certification never arises. And thereby goes another myth about MOOCs: that they are doomed by the lack of a reliable accreditation.

I do think MOOCs need to be evaluated on different metrics from the online course offered on credits in institution, where accreditation is important.
Are there differences between a course and a class? Lisa Lane once commented on the difference. A class is more like a group, or community as in traditional institutional setting, with a boundary on membership. A course could be a community, but could also consist of a combination or group of classes, taken by communities or different schools etc. In the case of MOOCs, one of the critical points is: what evaluates “success” in a MOOC? For xMOOCs, you need to convince institutions, stakeholders, educators and learners that people actually improve on a number of dimensions of KPI (like reduced cost, increased completion rates, improved students’ learning and satisfaction, increased employers’ satisfaction, and improved teaching and innovative performance) with MOOCs compared with the mainstream or online options.
The venture capitalists and institutions would be especially interested in the outcomes, as they are the ones who would like to promote the branding and generate more business ventures out of these education opportunities. Drop out issue is like spraying “salt” on the “wounds” of MOOC. I noted that Sebastian Thrun pointed this salt as criticism in his presentation. May be the challenge still lies with the typical lurking or LPP (legitimate Peripheral Participation), or the lack of interaction with others in the MOOCs, or the apparent consumption mode only, without any significant “production” or return (as contribution) to the course that most people are concerned with. Would institution and education leaders be contended with a low completion rates (i.e. less than 15%) in MOOCs?
There are still a lot of challenges with MOOCs, especially relating to the assessment issue. If there are no formal assessment component in MOOCs, would that help in increasing the completion rate? Besides if we first set off a few criteria, where only those who claim and commit to complete the course in the first place be considered as enrolled students, then you could have 80-90% completion rate easily.  Every one who attempts the course at least with one or more viewing of video lectures, reading of artifacts or OER, or learning activity could be considered as successful completion of MOOC, if that is how we define success.

5 thoughts on “MOOC completion and dropout

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