As MOOCs are made available for credit, credible–scalable–assessment options are essential. CT looks at the options.
By Linda L. Briggs
MOOCs may have started out as an anarchic educational free-for-all, but as more schools move toward offering credit for these vast online courses, the expectations around assessing student performance are growing as rapidly as MOOCs themselves–with lots of questions yet to be answered.
For example, the recent agreement between Udacity, the Georgia Institute of Technology, and AT&T to offer a “MOOMS”–a MOOC-delivered Master of Science in computer science–for a fraction of the cost of its face-to-face equivalent raises a host of thorny assessment issues. “A critical question is ‘What is success?’ and ‘How will we measure it?'” the faculty working group asks in its analysis of the agreement, which was made public in May by the online publication Inside Higher Ed. The working group openly worries that “a potential threat is that our evaluation methods will not assess the real value of MOOMS and thereby lead to ineffective programs.
But if institutions and MOOC providers want credit to be a viable option, then the question of assessment must be definitively settled. The American Council on Education (ACE) has moved the process one step forward by recommending that five courses offered by Coursera and four by Udacity be offered for credit. The recommendation comes with a requirement that a final exam be proctored and that the identity of the test taker be authenticated, whether in-person at a testing center or using a webcam proctoring service.
[ Full article available at Campus Technology: http://campustechnology.com/articles/2013/09/05/assessment-tools-for-moocs.aspx ]