MOOCs research results
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29 April 2013
I found the first page of search results for the term "educational impact of MOOCs" returned a large number of blogs, several general responses to MOOCs, several mention of MOOCs within papers releated to OERs and one paper containing relevant research.
de Waard, Inge, et al. "Using mLearning and MOOCs to understand chaos, emergence, and complexity in education." The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning 12.7 (2011): 94-115. [online] http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/1046 (accessed 29 April 2013)
ISI Web of Knowledge returned no results for same term.
ERIC returned two results (when peer review was selected), the first was to an article to help librarians find information, but the second was to a research paper Emotive Vocabulary in MOOCs: Context & Participant Retention
PsycInfo returned no results
ScienceDirect returned 7 results but only one of these contained reference (keywords) to MOOCs and related to research; it was looking at web infrastructure and education and looking ahead to the impact of MOOCs on this.
Swetswise -- no access via OU Library databases section nor via www.swetswise.com
MOOCs and research: retention and completion rates
The HarvardX and MITx report (2014) on the first year of 17 open online courses concludes that such courses are useful but are "not the salvation of higher education". In the 2012 to 2013 year, there were 841687 registrations from 597692 users. 43196 emerged with certificates, 292852 registrants didn't even explore the online content.See http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2381263 for full report and http://www.tonybates.ca/2014/01/21/a-review-of-a-harvardmit-research-paper-on-edx-moocs/ for a review of the report. This report appears to confirm other quantitative research on MOOC participation and retention rates, for example, Guzdial (2014) who blogs about various institutions offering MOOCs. What he does pick up is that completion rates may be higher if the course is more advanced. The first half of the blog by Guzdial pertains: Guzdial, M. and Adams, J. (2014) ‘MOOCs need more work; so do CS graduates’, DOI 10.1145/2555813 Available at http://dl.acm.org.libezproxy.open.ac.uk/citation.cfm?doid=2541883.2555813. I found this in Web of Science. Also, Horton (2013), in a discussion of COOCs and MOOCs, cites the OU's report that MOOC completion rates are less than 10%:http://eds.a.ebscohost.com.libezproxy.open.ac.uk/ehost/detail?vid=2&sid=047bef43-8c7f-4daf-a8c3-731c242e5d18@sessionmgr4004&hid=4202&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZSZzY29wZT1zaXRl#db=a9h&AN=87762130 I found Horton's discussion through ERIC.
Possible avenues of research
Guzdial (2014) discusses a physics MOOC at Georgia Tech. The students who completed the course could be categorised as follows: 1) they began the course with substantial knowledge of physics and so gained little from the MOOC 2) they had little knowledge and barely progressed 3) they learnt a lot. Guzdial's comment opens up research ideas, for he says that "being a completer does not mean that anything has been learned" (author's italics). As a research possibilty, one might investigate this idea.
Another possibility presents itself in Baggaley's (2013) commentary. He talks of how MOOCs could be ranked in the future. He cites Daniel's (2012) prediction that xMOOCs will be assessed. "Actors from the media through student groups to educational research units will be publishing assessments of xMOOC courses. These will quickly be consolidated into league tables that rank the courses – and the participating universities - by the quality of their offerings as perceived by both learners and educational professionals" http://eds.a.ebscohost.com.libezproxy.open.ac.uk/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=786f9abd-bfb6-432c-b88f-2424701d7c8b@sessionmgr4001&vid=1&hid=4208 I found this in PsycINFO.
In a Stanford team's research on peer assessment in MOOCs, some research ideas emerge. They talk about a need to reconceptualise what it means to be a student, including enrolment and registration.
"Typing one’s email address into a webpage is not the same as showing up for the first day of a registrar-enrolled class. It’s more like peeking through the window, and what the large number of signups tells us is that lots of people are curious. How can we convert this curiosity into meaningful learning opportunities for more student" DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/2505057..
From the papers I accessed, the research methods involved the collection of quantitative data for statistical analysis. One paper used open-ended questions to obtain feedback from students, but the responses were transformed into stats. Not much qualitative data.
10:10 on 28 April 2014 (Edited 12:47 on 28 April 2014)