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4.4 The learner experience in MOOCs

Figure 11

There is a strong emphasis on learner independence and peer support in MOOCs. Partly this is a result of their scale and that they are free – the providers of the course cannot afford to employ sufficient staff to provide support. This approach has also derived from the values of the early adopters, who wanted to explore pedagogies based around social connections. This has led to some criticism that MOOCs are only suitable for more experienced learners and those who are technologically competent. Arguably, the MOOCs arising from commercial ventures have adopted a more traditional pedagogic approach.

The completion rate for MOOCs is very low, as this article in The Atlantic [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] points out. However, if courses are free and people are trying them out, then a high drop-out rate might be expected, but it is worth considering whether this high attrition rate raises problems for MOOCs as a general approach, or whether we need to use different metrics to assess the ‘success’ of a MOOC.

Activity 14: Comparing MOOCs

Timing: Timing: 4 hours

Compare either DS106 or Rhizomatic Learning with offerings from FutureLearn or Coursera.

(You may not be able to access a course on these sites without signing up – you don’t have to do this but we recommend that you do, in order to gain a sense of the material in a MOOC. Some courses are only available over certain dates, so you may not be able to enrol on the MOOC of your choice.)

If you are content to use Twitter to share your thoughts, Tweet about them using the hashtags #h817open and #Activity14 and take a look at what other learners have posted.

Use the box below to make any notes.

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