Sign In

Communications of the ACM

ACM TechNews

An Early Report Card on Massive Open Online Courses


Computers serve as the "blackboard" in massive open online courses.

Several challenges must be overcome in order for massive open online courses (MOOCs) to realize their full educational potential.

Credit: Lindsay Holmes/The Wall Street Journal

Massive open online courses (MOOCs) could help transform education, but face several challenges to realize their full potential.

More than 90 percent of students who enroll in a MOOC drop out, as many feel isolated or disengaged. "In large part, the experience is very good, but we see that there are problems, and there are a number of things that can be done that have promise," says edX president Anant Agarwal. "We are not even close to the kinds of conclusions we want."

Interpersonal interaction and support help online students to complete courses, and MOOCs are beginning to experiment with different formats to improve the student experience. For example, some instructors record audio comments on assignments instead of writing them to better engage students, or offer motivational messages. Coursera sends students emails to congratulate them on accomplishments and encourage them to reach the next milestone, and Udacity used mentors in trials with San Jose University to coach students and remind them of assignments.

In addition, schools are beginning to experiment with "flipped classrooms" that blend online and traditional components, with students watching recorded lectures on their own time and coming into classrooms to work on assignments with the instructor's help.

From The Wall Street Journal
View Full Article

 

Abstracts Copyright © 2013 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


 

No entries found

Read CACM in a free mobile app!
Access the latest issue, plus archived issues and more
ACM Logo
  • ACM CACM apps available for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch, and Android platforms
  • ACM Digital Library apps available for iOS, Android, and Windows devices
  • Download an app and sign in to it with your ACM Web Account
Find the app for your mobile device
ACM DL Logo