Lessons Learned From a Freshman-Composition MOOC

06 Sep

By Karen Head

Karen Head is an assistant professor in the Georgia Institute of Technology’s School of Literature, Media, and Communication, and director of the university’s Communication Center. She has been reporting periodically on her group’s efforts to develop and offer a massive open online course in freshman composition. This is her final post on the course.

Since our MOOC, “First-Year Composition 2.0,” officially ended in late July, I have been asked many times whether the course was a success.  My standard response is, “Define success.”

A little background: Our group received a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop a MOOC in freshman composition, a subject rarely taught in such a format. Starting in January, we spent a few months working through pedagogical and technology-related issues before finally rolling out the course in June.

If we define success by the raw numbers, then I would probably say No, the course was not a success. Of course, the data are problematic: Many people have observed that MOOCs often have terrible retention rates, but is retention an accurate measure of success? We had 21,934 students enrolled, 14,771 of whom were active in the course. Our 26 lecture videos were viewed 95,631 times. Students submitted work for evaluation 2,942 times and completed 19,571 peer assessments (the means by which their writing was evaluated). However, only 238 students received a completion certificate—meaning that they completed all assignments and received satisfactory scores.

[ Full article available at The Chronicle for Higher Education: ]

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Posted by on September 6, 2013 in MOOCs in the News



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