By Dian Schaffhauser
MOOCs that rely primarily on people watching lectures may be missing an opportunity to help their students learn even more by adding interactive activities. Recent research into massive open online courses suggests that students do six times better in the course by “extra doing.” On top of that, they’re more likely to persist in the course.
Five researchers from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) undertook a study in 2013 when their institution and the Georgia Institute of Technology collaborated to add elements of Carnegie Mellon’s Open Learning Initiative (OLI) course, “Introduction to Psychology,” into Tech’s “Introduction to Psychology as a Science” MOOC. Taught through the Coursera platform, OLI materials were available as part of the larger course, along with lectures, quizzes and other activities.
The initial release of the Tech offering was designed as a 12-week introductory survey course. Each week the program focused on a major topic, such as memory, abnormal behavior, and sense and perception. Those were broken into three sub-topics supported by a 10- to 15-minute video lecture with slides along with assigned modules and learning outcomes from OLI. Modules included a variety of expository content such as text, examples, images and video clips and a large number of interactive activities, such as reading scenarios or studying images and answering questions. A quiz assessed students against the outcomes at the end of each week.
The course also used Coursera platform features such as discussion forums, writing assignments and quizzes (with questions drawn from the OLI item banks. At the end of the course students took a final exam with questions created by the instructor.
[ Full article available at Campus Technology: http://campustechnology.com/articles/2015/09/16/research-learning-is-no-spectator-sport.aspx ]