MOOCs’ Appeal

MOOCs’ Appeal

At Information Week, education section editor and columnist David F. Carr recently posted a column that outlines the results of a survey of newly-enrolled MOOC students and students with existing MOOC experience.

This survey found that the primary reason that students enroll in a MOOC is an interest in the class’s core topic. Its findings are helpful benchmarks for any developers of online education programs and platforms.

“Number one—and maybe this should be obvious—but the topic needs to be really compelling,” said Dani Wanderer, chief marketing officer of Qualtrics, the survey software firm that conducted the study. MOOC students are enrolling for free but also with no promise of formal credit for their studies “so the MOOCs need to figure out a way to make the course engaging,” she said.

Carr also includes some stats from the survey, which indicate that “only 60% of incoming students planned to participate in MOOC discussion forums, but 72% of those who completed the course wound up engaging in online discussions.

Students who were highly engaged in discussions were six times more likely to complete a course, according to the survey. “If they stick with it, they tend to engage more,” Wanderer said.

Have you taken a MOOC (or more than one)? What attracted (or would attract) you to the idea of enrolling—and what would inspire you to make sure you completed it?

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