Why do Institutions Offer MOOCs?

Fiona Mae Hollands, Devayani Tirthali

Abstract


By reviewing the literature and interviewing 83 individuals knowledgeable about massive open online courses (MOOCs), we investigate the goals of institutions of higher education that are currently developing and delivering such courses. We identify six major goals for MOOC initiatives: extending reach and access; building and maintaining brand; improving economics by reducing costs or increasing revenues; improving educational outcomes; innovation in teaching and learning; and conducting research on teaching and learning. Comparing these goals with the data being collected about MOOCs, their participants, and educational outcomes, as well as the resource requirements and cost drivers of the development and delivery process, we assess whether these goals are being met, or are likely to be in the future. While quantification of success in achieving these goals is for the most part lacking, we conclude that institutions are experiencing at least partial success in achieving each of these goals except for improving economics. We identify obstacles to fuller achievement of the goals and some potential solutions.

Keywords


MOOCs; higher education; online learning

Full Text:

PDF

References


Author & Author (2014)

AHEAD. (2014, April). What’s AHEAD key trends in education Poll #1: Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Alliance for Higher Education and Democracy (AHEAD) at the University of Pennsylvania. Retrieved from: http://www.gse.upenn.edu/pdf/ahead/whats_ahead/01_moocs.pdf

Allen, E., & Seaman, J. (2013). Changing course: Ten years of tracking online education in the United States. Babson Survey Research Group Report. Retrieved from: http://sloanconsortium.org/publications/survey/changing_course_2012

Allen, E., & Seaman, J. (2014). Grade Change: Tracking online education in the United States. Babson Survey Research Group Report. Retrieved from: http://sloanconsortium.org/publications/survey/grade-change-2013

Bacow, L.S., Bowen, W.G., Guthrie, K.M., Lack, K.A., & Long, M.P. (2012). Barriers to adoption of online learning systems in U.S. higher education. Ithaka S+R. Retrieved from: http://www.sr.ithaka.org/research-publications/barriers-adoption-online-learning-systems-us-higher-education

Breslow, L., Pritchard, D. E., DeBoer, J., Stump, G. S., Ho, A.D., & Seaton, D.T. (2013). Studying learning in the worldwide classroom: research into edX’s first MOOC. Research & Practice in Assessment 8, 13-25. Retrieved from: http://www.rpajournal.com/studying-learning-in-the-worldwide-classroom-research-into-edxs-first-mooc/

Bruff, D.O., Fisher, D.H., McEwen, K.E., & Smith, B.E. (2013). Wrapping a MOOC: Student perceptions of an experiment in blended learning. Journal of Online Teaching and Learning, 9 (2). Retrieved from: https://my.vanderbilt.edu/douglasfisher/files/2013/06/JOLTPaperFinal6-9-2013.pdf

Buffardi, K., & Edwards, S.H. (2014). Introducing CodeWorkout: an adaptive and social learning environment. Proceedings of the 45th ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education, 724. Abstract retrieved from: http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?doid=2538862.2544317

Cambre, J., Kulkarni, C., Bernstein, M.S., & Klemmer, S.R. (2014). Talkabout: small-group discussions in massive global classes. Retrieved from: https://hci.stanford.edu/publications/2014/PeerStudio/LAS2014-CambreTalkabout.pdf

Champaign, J., Fredericks, C., Colvin, K., Seaton, D., Liu, A. & Pritchard, D. (2014, March). Correlating skill and improvement in 2 MOOCs with a student’s time on task. Paper presented at Learning@Scale Conference, Atlanta, GA. Retrieved from: http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/2556325.2566250

Cheal, C. (2012, August 14). Creating MOOCs for College Credit (Research Bulletin). Louisville, CO: EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research. Retrieved from http://www.educause.edu/ecar

Christensen, G., Steinmetz, A., Alcorn, B., Bennett A., Woods, D., & Emanuel, E.J. (2013). The MOOC phenomenon: Who takes massive open online courses and why? Working Paper. University of Pennsylvania. Retrieved from: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2350964

Cima, M.J. (2014). A mastery-based learning and assessment model applied to 3.091r. (Introduction to Solid-State Chemistry). Internal MIT Report.

Coetzee, D., Fox, A., Hearst, M.A., & Hartmann, B. (2014, February). Should your MOOC forum use a reputation system? Proceedings of the 17th ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Collaborative Work, Baltimore, MD. Retrieved from: http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?doid=2531602.2531657

Colvin, K.F., Champaign, J., Liu, A., Fredericks, C., Zhou, Q., & Pritchard, D.E. (in press). Learning in an introductory physics MOOC: All cohorts learn equally, including an on-campus class. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning.

Cormier, D., & Siemens, G. (2010). Through the open door: open courses as research, learning, and engagement. EDUCAUSE Review, 45(4), 30-39. Retrieved from: http://www.educause.edu/ero/article/through-open-door-open-courses-research-learning-and-engagement

DeBoer, J., Ho, A., Stump, G., & Breslow, L. (2014). Changing “course:” reconceptualizing educational variables for massive open online courses. Educational Researcher, 43(2), 74-84. doi: 10.3102/0013189X14523038.

Dede, C. (Ed.). (2013). Connecting the dots: New technology-based models for postsecondary learning. EDUCAUSE Review, September/October 2013.

Dernoncourt, F., Taylor, C., O’Reilly, U., Veeramachaneni, K., Wu, S., Do, C., & Halawa, S. (2013, December). MoocViz: a large scale, open access, collaborative, data analytics platform for MOOCs. Paper presented at NIPS Workshop on Data-Driven Education, Lake Tahoe, Nevada. Retrieved from: http://groups.csail.mit.edu/EVO-DesignOpt/groupWebSite/uploads/Site/MoocViz.pdf

Downes, S. (2008). Places to go: connectivism & connective knowledge. Innovate, 5(1). Retrieved from: http://www.innovateonline.info/index.php?view=article&id=668

Fain, P. (2013, January 1). Paying for proof. Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved from: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/01/09/courseras-fee-based-course-option

Firmin, R., Schiorring, E., Whitmer, J., Willett, T., & Sujitparapitaya, S. (2013). Preliminary summary SJSU+ Augmented Online Learning Environment pilot project. Retrieved from http://www.sjsu.edu/chemistry/People/Faculty/Collins_Research_Page/AOLE Report -September 10 2013 final.pdf

Ghadiri, K., Qayoumi, M.H., Junn, E., Hsu, P., & Sujitparapitaya, S. (2013). The transformative potential of blended learning using MIT edX’s 6.002x online MOOC content combined with student team-based learning in class. JUCE (Japanese Universities Association for Computer Education) Journal 2013, No.3.

Griffiths, R. (2013). MOOCs in the classroom? Ithaka S+R. Retrieved from: http://www.sr.ithaka.org/sites/default/files/files/S-R_BriefingPaper_Moocs_20131028.pdf

Grover, S., Franz, P., Schneider, E., & Pea, R. (2013). The MOOC as distributed intelligence: dimensions of a framework & evaluation of MOOCs. Paper presented at the 10th International Conference on Computer Supported Collaborative Learning, Madison, U.S.A. Retrieved from: http://lytics.stanford.edu/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Framework-for-Design-Evaluation-of-MOOCs-Grover-Franz-Schneider-Pea_final.pdf

Halawa, S., Greene, D., & Mitchell, J. (2014). Dropout prediction in MOOCs using learner activity features. Proceedings of the European MOOC Stakeholder Summit (EMOOCS 2014), Lausanne, Switzerland. Retrieved from: http://www.stanford.edu/~halawa/cgi-bin/files/emoocs2014.pdf

Ho, A. D., Reich, J., Nesterko, S. O., Seaton, D. T., Mullaney, T., Waldo, J., & Chuang, I. (2014). HarvardX and MITx: The first year of open online courses. HarvardX and MITx Working Paper No. 1. Retrieved from: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2381263

Ithaka S+R. (2013). Interim report: A collaborative effort to test MOOCs and other online learning platforms on campuses of the University System of Maryland. Retrieved from: http://www.sr.ithaka.org/sites/default/files/reports/S-R_Moocs_InterimReport_20131024.pdf

Kizilcec, R., Piech, C., & Schneider, E. (2013). Deconstructing disengagement: analyzing learner subpopulations in massive open online courses. Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Learning Analytics and Knowledge, pp.170–179. Retrieved from: http://www.stanford.edu/~cpiech/bio/papers/deconstructingDisengagement.pdf

Kizilcec, R. F., Schneider, E., Cohen, G. L., & McFarland, D. A. (2014, March). Encouraging forum participation in online courses with collectivist, individualist, and neutral motivational framings. eLearning Papers, 37, 13-22. ISSN: 1887-1542. Retrieved from: http://rene.kizilcec.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/kizilcec2014encouraging2014elearning.pdf

Kulkarni, C., Koh, P. W., Le, H., Chia, D., Papadopoulos, K., Cheng, J., Koller, D., & Klemmer, S.R. (2013). Peer and self-assessment in massive online classes. ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interactions 9(4) Article 39, 31 pages. Retrieved from: http://www.cogsci.ucsd.edu/~mboyle/COGS1/readings/Klemmer-COGS1-Peer%20and%20self%20assesment%20in%20massive%20online%20classes.pdf

Lewin, T. (2013, December 10). After setbacks, online courses are rethought. New York Times. Retrieved from: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/11/us/after-setbacks-online-courses-are-rethought.html?_r=0

Liyanagunawardena, T. R., Adams, A. A., & Williams, S. A. (2013). MOOCs: a systematic study of the published literature 2008-2012. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning 14 (3), 202-227. Retrieved from: http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/1455

Markoff, J. (2011, August 15). Virtual and artificial, but 58,000 want course. The New York Times. Retrieved from: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/16/science/16stanford.html

Means, B., Bakia, M., & Murphy, R. (2014). Learning online:

what research tells us about whether, when and how. New York, NY: Routledge.

Nguyen, A., Piech, C., Huang, J., & Guibas, L. (2014). Codewebs: scalable homework search for massive open online programming courses. Proceedings of the 23rd International World Wide Web Conference, Seoul, Korea. Retrieved from: http://www.stanford.edu/~jhuang11/research/pubs/www14/nphg-www14.pdf

Piech, C., Huang, J., Chen, Z., Do, C., Ng, A., & Koller, D. (2013). Tuned models of peer assessment in MOOCs. Proceedings of The 6th International Conference on Educational Data Mining, Memphis, TN. Retrieved from: http://www.stanford.edu/~jhuang11/research/pubs/edm13/edm13.pdf

Veeramachaneni, K., Dernoncourt, F., Taylor, C., Pardos, Z., & O'Reilly, U. (2013). MOOCdb: developing data standards for MOOC data science. Proceedings of the 1st Workshop on Massive Open Online Courses at the 16th Annual Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Education, Memphis, TN. Retrieved from: http://edf.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/Verramachaneni%20et%20al.%202013.pdf

Waldrop, M.M. (2013). Online learning: campus 2.0. Nature, 495, 160-163. Retrieved from: http://www.nature.com/news/online-learning-campus-2-0-1.12590




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.24059/olj.v18i3.464



Copyright (c)