By Linda L. Briggs
When Ohio State University math professor Jim Fowler and his colleague Thomas Evans, a senior instructional designer at the school, decided to create a calculus MOOC, they envisioned a course with an adaptive learning engine that would give students lots of practice doing math problems that matched their skill level. But when the pair moved forward with building the course in Coursera, they came up with a problem: The system did not include tools to support their adaptive learning agenda.
Coursera’s mechanism for delivering problem sets is designed to provide the same number of questions to every student. Fowler and Evans envisioned something different: “I really like being able to have the number and sort of questions students do depend on their performance,” Fowler said. “If a student is really just killing it, they can move through the whole thing quickly. If students are struggling, they get more time to think about it. I think it’s a way of being more respectful of a student’s time.”
To give their Coursera course the adaptive flavor they were looking for, Fowler and Evans created an add-on, dubbed “MOOCulus.” Bolted on to Coursera’s MOOC platform, the tool is designed to feed students progressively harder questions based on previous answers.
“We felt it was important that students have this sort of practice area,” Evans said. “Learning calculus involves doing math, lots of math…. We wanted problems that would react to students.”
[ Full article available at Campus Technology: http://campustechnology.com/articles/2014/05/14/enhancing-a-mooc-with-adaptive-learning.aspx ]