Online Learning Update

January 24, 2014

Completion Rates Aren’t the Best Way to Judge MOOCs, Researchers Say

Filed under: Online Learning News — Ray Schroeder @ 12:12 am
by Steve Kolowich, Chronicle of Higher Ed
When it comes to measuring the success of an education program, the bottom line is often the completion rate. But looking at percentages such as the ones listed above is a bad way to try to understand MOOCs, Harvard and MIT researchers told The Chronicle in an interview. Completion rates make sense as a metric for assessing conventional college courses, said Andrew Dean Ho, an associate professor in Harvard’s Graduate School of Education and director of the university’s MOOC research. A MOOC is more of a blank canvas, said Mr. Ho. Some students who register for MOOCs have no intention of completing, and some instructors do not emphasize completion as a priority. Success and failure take many forms. “People are projecting their own desires onto MOOCs,” said Mr. Ho, “and then holding them accountable for criteria that the instructors and institutions and, most importantly, students don’t hold for themselves.”
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