By Jonah Newman and Soo Oh
Before Harvard and MIT released data last month on their first 16 edX MOOCs, we already knew a few things: Millions of people register for massive open online courses, though far fewer receive certificates of completion. Most MOOC participants already have a college degree, even those outside the United States. But there was a lot we didn’t know, especially about who took different types of MOOCs and how much of the course content they viewed. This information may be valuable to those looking to design and lead successful MOOCs. Here’s what we’ve learned from this first data release covering more than half a million students.
1. The overwhelming majority of MOOC students are male. A majority of college and university students in the U.S. are female, but MOOCs flip that balance and then some. And in some, like engineering and computer science, participants are almost entirely male.
2. MOOCs attract students who already have college degrees. Even though the majority of MOOC students already have college degrees, a substantial number of participants have completed no more than a high-school education. And yet, the classes where they make up the largest proportion of students are the engineering and material science courses, many of which have college-level prerequisites.
[ Full article available at The Chronicle of Higher Education: http://chronicle.com/article/8-Things-You-Should-Know-About/146901/ ]