By Avi Wolfman-Arent
Carnegie Mellon University’s receiving a grant to study MOOCs is no surprise. But the source’s identity is bound to raise eyebrows.
Google announced on Tuesday that it would give Carnegie Mellon $300,000 in each of the next two years through the Google Focused Research Award program. Google can fund the research for a third year at the same price if it chooses.
The university’s research will focus on “data driven” approaches to research on massive open online courses, including “techniques for automatically analyzing and providing feedback on student work,” according to a news release. The goal, it said, is to develop platforms intelligent enough to mimic the traditional classroom experience.
“Unless the MOOCs pay attention to how people actually learn, they will not be able to improve effectiveness, and will end up as just a passing fad,” said Justine Cassell, associate vice provost for technology strategy and impact.
Google has been only a bit player in cybereducation. Beyond offering the odd MOOC on search engines, its most significant endeavor has been an online platform it unveiled last year, together with the nonprofit company edX, to help users create their own online courses. And although Google’s investment in MOOC research is relatively small for a company that reported $15.4-billion in revenue last quarter, it does signal interest in the potential of online education.
[ Full article available at The Chronicle of Higher Education: http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/google-will-finance-carnegie-mellons-mooc-research/53521 ]