MOOCs and the Myths of Dropout Rates and Certification

04 Mar

Dr. Keith Devlin

When the second iteration of my free mathematics MOOC starts this weekend, I anticipate at least 30,000 students will sign up. Not as many as the 65,000 I got last year, when it had novelty value — and a lot less competition! — but still a substantial number.

By the end of week three, that number will likely have dropped to 10,000 (it was 20,000 last time round), and by the end of the course a “mere” 5,000 (10,000 before), with maybe as few as 500 taking the optional final exam in order to earn a certificate with distinction (1,200 in 2012).

This seems to fit the attrition pattern that commentators have most typically described as “worrying” or “a problem,” hinting that therein lies a seed of the MOOC’s eventual demise. But is an 85 percent attrition rate really a problem? In fact, is it significantly different from traditional higher education?

[ Full article available at The Huffington Post: ]

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Posted by on March 4, 2013 in MOOCs in the News, Op-Ed


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