Advertisement

The Challenges of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)

  • Graham PikeEmail author
  • Hannah Gore
Chapter

Abstract

Since their inception in 2012 the most significant challenge faced in producing and presenting Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) has been engaging and retaining learners. Although often heralded as an evolutionary step in online education, MOOCs struggle with retaining students to the completion of a course. This chapter explores some of the issues through a focus on the design of one MOOC (Forensic Psychology: Witness Investigation by The Open University on the FutureLearn platform) which utilised a narrative approach, with a storyline running throughout, and a serialised release. Analysis revealed a relatively high retention rate with narrative devices appearing to entice learners to return the following week to find out what happened next. Implications for learning design and development of MOOCs are discussed.

Keywords

MOOCs Learner retention Learner engagement Narrative approach Online learning Online teaching 

References

  1. Ahn, J., Butler, B. S., Alam, A., & Webster, S. A. (2013). Learner participation and engagement in open online courses: Insights from the Peer 2 Peer University. MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 9(2), 160–171.Google Scholar
  2. Barnett, R. (2007). A will to learn. Maidenhead: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Belz, J. A., & Muller-Hartmann, A. (2003). Teachers as intercultural learners: Negotiating German-American telecollaboration along the institutional fault line. Modern Language Journal, 87, 71–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Biggs, J., Kember, D., & Leung, D. Y. (2001). The revised two-factor study process questionnaire: R-SPQ-2F. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 71(1), 133–149.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Blanchard, A. L., & Markus, M. L. (2004). ‘The experienced sense’ of a virtual community: Characteristics and processes. The DATA BASE for Advances in Information Systems, 35(1), 65–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Charbonneau, L. (2013, June 12). The MOOC is dead, long live the MOOC. Margin Notes. Web. 18 Jun. 2013. http://www.universityaffairs.ca/margin-notes/themooc- is-dead-long-live-the-mooc/
  7. Creed-Dikeogu, G., & Clark, C. (2013). Are you MOOC-ing yet? A review for academic libraries. CULS Proceedings, 3, 9–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Downes, S. (2007, January 3). What connectivism is. Half an Hour. http://halfanhour.blogspot.co.uk/2007/02/what-connectivism-is.html. Accessed 3 Apr 2015.
  9. Downes, S., & Siemens, G. (2011). The MOOC guide. Online at https://sites.google.com/site/themoocguide
  10. Fisher, R. P., & Geiselman, R. E. (1992). Memory enhancing techniques for investigative interviewing: The cognitive interview. Springfield: Charles C. Thomas.Google Scholar
  11. Fisher, D., Smith, M., & Welser, H. T. (2006, January). You are who you talk to: Detecting roles in usenet newsgroups. In System Sciences, 2006. HICSS’06. In Proceedings of the 39th Annual Hawaii International Conference on (Vol. 3, pp. 59b–59b), IEEE.Google Scholar
  12. Glance, D. G., Barrett, P. H. R., & Hugh, R. (2014). Attrition patterns amongst participant groups in Massive Open Online Courses. In ASCILITE Conference, Dunedin. Retrieved from http://ascilite2014.otago.ac.nz/files/fullpapers/16-Glance.pdf
  13. Hirst, T. (2009). Non-linear uncourses – Time for linked ed? http://ouseful.wordpress.com/2009/01/30/non-linear-uncourses-time-for-linked-ed/. Viewed 04 Feb 2015.
  14. Kizilcec, R. F., Piech, C., & Schneider, E. (2013). Deconstructing disengagement: analyzing learner subpopulations in massive open online courses. In Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Learning Analytics and Knowledge (pp. 170–179), ACM.Google Scholar
  15. Kolowich, S. (2012a, September 12) The MOOC survivors. Inside Higher Education. Web. 6 Jul. 2013. http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2012/09/12/edx-exploresdemographics-most-persistent-mooc-students
  16. Kolowich, S. (2012b, June 5). Who takes MOOCs? Inside Higher Education. Web. 6 Jul. 2013. http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2012/06/05/early-demographicdata-hints-what-type-student-takes-mooc
  17. Kraut, R. R., & Resnick, P. (2010). Evidence-based social design: Mining the social sciences to build online communities. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  18. Kulkofsky, S., Wang, Q., & Ceci, S. J. (2008). Do better stories make better memories? Narrative quality and memory accuracy in preschool children. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 22(1), 21–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Lau, T. (2014, July). Engagement or alienation? Reflections on MOOC design, facilitator role, and context. Journal of Global Literacies, Technologies, and Emerging Pedagogies, 2(3), 236–240.Google Scholar
  20. Lewin, T. (2013, February 20). Universities abroad join partnerships on the Web. New York Times. Web. 6 Jan. 2013. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/21/education/universities-abroad-join-mooc-course-projects.htm
  21. Lie, M. T., Debjanee, B., & Judy, K. (2014). Online learning at scale: User modelling requirements towards motivation and personalisation. In Learning Innovations at Scale CHI’14 Workshop.Google Scholar
  22. Littlejohn, A., Hood, N., Milligan, C., & Mustain, P. (2016). Learning in MOOCs: Motivations and self-regulated learning in MOOCs. The Internet and Higher Education, 29, 40–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Mackness, J., Mak, S., & Williams, R. (2010). The ideals and reality of participating in a MOOC. In Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Networked Learning 2010, University of Lancaster.Google Scholar
  24. Mehaffy, G. L. (2012). Challenge and change. Educause Review, 45(5). Web. 6 Jan. 2013. http://online.tarleton.edu/fdi/Documents/EDUCAUSE_Mehaffy.pdf
  25. Milligan, C., Littlejohn, A., & Margaryan, A. (2013). Patterns of engagement in connectivist MOOCs. MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 9(2), 149–159.Google Scholar
  26. Onah, D. F. O., Sinclair, J., & Boyatt, R. (2014, July 7–9). Dropout rates of massive open online courses: Behavioural patterns. In 6th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies, Barcelona. Published in: EDULEARN14 Proceedings pp. 5825–5834.Google Scholar
  27. Pappano, L. (2012, November 12). The year of the MOOC. New York Times. Web. 6 Jan. 2013. www.nytimes.com/2012/11/04/education/edlife/massive-openonline-courses-are-multiplying-at-a-rapid-pace.html
  28. Prpić, J., Melton, J., Taeihagh, A., & Anderson, T. (2015). MOOCs and crowdsourcing: Massive courses and massive resources. First Monday, 20(12). doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.5210/fm.v20i12.6143
  29. Ramesh, A., Goldwasser, D., Huang, B., Daumé III, H., & Getoor, L. (2013). Modeling learner engagement in MOOCs using probabilistic soft logic. In NIPS Workshop on Data Driven Education (Vol. 21, p. 62).Google Scholar
  30. Ramesh, A., Goldwasser, D., Huang, B., Daume III, H., & Getoor, L. (2014). Learning latent engagement patterns of students in online courses. In Twenty-Eighth AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence.Google Scholar
  31. Reich, J. (2015, January 2). Rebooting MOOC research. Science, 347(6217), 34–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Rodgers, S., & Chen, Q. (2006). Internet community group participation: Psychosocial benefits for women with breast cancer. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 10(4), np.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Rosé, C.P., Carlson, R., Yang, D., Wen, M., Resnick, L., Goldman, P., & Shere, J. (2014). Social factors that contribute to attrition in MOOCS. In Proceedings of the First ACM Conference on Learning @ Scale Conference (pp. 197–198), ACM.Google Scholar
  34. Siemens, G. (2005). Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age. International Journal of Instructional Technology 2.1. Web. 6 Jan. 2013. http://www.itdl.org/Journal/Jan_05/article01.htm
  35. Siemens, G. (2013) Massive open online courses: Innovation in education? (Open Educational Resources: Innovation, Research and Practice). Vancouver: Commonwealth of Learning and Athabasca University.Google Scholar
  36. Sinha, T. (2014). Together we stand, together we fall, together we win: Dynamic team formation in massive open online courses. In Applications of Digital Information and Web Technologies (ICADIWT), 2014 Fifth International Conference on the (pp. 107–112), IEEE.Google Scholar
  37. Sinha, T., Banka, A., & Kang, D. K. (2013). Leveraging user profile attributes for improving pedagogical accuracy of learning pathways. In Proceedings of 3rd Annual International Conference on Education and E-Learning (EeL 2013), Singapore.Google Scholar
  38. Sinha, T., Jermann, P., Li, N., & Dillenbourg, P. (2014). Your click decides your fate: Inferring information processing and attrition behavior from MOOC video clickstream interactions. arXiv preprint arXiv:1407.7131.Google Scholar
  39. Tagg, J. (2003). The learning paradigm college. Boston: Anker.Google Scholar
  40. Thrift, N. (2013, February 13). To MOOC or not to MOOC. Chronicle of Higher Education. Web. 6 Jan. 2013. http://chronicle.com/blogs/worldwise/to-mooc-ornot-to-mooc/31721
  41. Wang, Q., Bui, V. K., & Song, Q. (2015). Narrative organisation at encoding facilitated children’s long-term episodic memory. Memory, 23(4), 602–611.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Wen, M., Yang, D., & Rosé, C. P. (2014a). Linguistic reflections of student engagement in massive open online courses. In ICWSM.Google Scholar
  43. Wen, M., Yang, D., & Rosé, C. P. (2014b). Sentiment analysis in MOOC discussion forums: What does it tell us? In Educational Data Mining 2014.Google Scholar
  44. Yang, D., Sinha, T., Adamson, D., & Rosé, C. P. (2013). Turn on, tune in, drop out: Anticipating student dropouts in massive open online courses. In Proceedings of the 2013 NIPS Data-Driven Education Workshop (Vol. 10, p. 13).Google Scholar
  45. Yuan, L., & Powell, S. (2013). MOOCs and open education: Implications for higher education. Cetis White Paper.Google Scholar
  46. Zhenghao, C., Alcorn, B., Christensen, G., Eriksson, N., Koller, D., & Emanuel, E. (2015, September 22).Who’s benefiting from MOOCs, and why. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2015/09/whos-benefiting-from-moocs-and-why

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Open UniversityMilton KeynesUK

Personalised recommendations