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U-Va. MOOC finds high attrition, high satisfaction

13 May

From left, Zelikow meets with teaching assistants Mary Barton, Shannon Nix and Brandon Kist in his office. They were talking about administrative aspects of the world history class they are teaching as part of a MOOC

From left, Zelikow meets with teaching assistants Mary Barton, Shannon Nix and Brandon Kist in his office. They were talking about administrative aspects of
the world history class they are teaching as part of a MOOC.
[ Norm Shafer / For The Washington Post ]

By Nick Anderson, Published: May 13 | Updated: Tuesday, May 14, 7:30 AM

Ordinarily, a professor would worry if only one out of every 10 students passed a class. But University of Virginia historian Philip Zelikow seems enormously pleased with such results from the course he just finished teaching on the history of the modern world.

About 10 percent passed his class. That works out to nearly 5,000 of roughly 47,000 who registered.

Much is made of the gargantuan number of students who sign up for massive open online courses, or MOOCs. After all, that is why they are called massive.

Coursera, the Web platform that hosted Zelikow’s MOOC and many others, has drawn more than 3.5 million registered users. EdX, another MOOC platform, has more than 890,000.

But the metrics for Zelikow’s MOOC on global history since 1760 — which The Post in late February featured in a an article on lecture methods and a first-person account on taking a MOOC — suggest that registration numbers are not what matters most.

“A large fraction of course registrants never even glance at the course they enrolled in,” Zelikow wrote in an e-mail. This seems to be true for many MOOCs, and perhaps most.

[ Full article available at The Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/u-va-mooc-finds-high-attrition-high-satisfaction/2013/05/13/01a80568-bbfd-11e2-9b09-1638acc3942e_story.html ]

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Posted by on May 13, 2013 in MOOCs in the News

 

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