By Steve Kolowich
One of the first things researchers have learned about student success in massive open online courses is that in-person, one-on-one teaching still matters.
For online learners who took the first session of “Circuits & Electronics,” the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s hallmark MOOC, those who worked on course material offline with a classmate or “someone who teaches or has expertise” in the subject did better than those who did not, according to a new paper by researchers at MIT and Harvard University.
The research, published this week by the journal Research & Practice in Assessment, is one of the first peer-reviewed academic studies based on data from a MOOC. Advocates for the massive online courses have cited their potential value as engines of educational research.
The journal’s summer issue takes stock of MOOCs as a research medium and outlines an agenda for further study. The issue includes literature reviews of assessment methods, such as automated grading software, similar to those that many MOOC professors use in their massive courses.
[ Full article available at The Chronicle of Higher Education: http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/mooc-students-who-got-offline-help-scored-higher-study-finds/44111 ]