Wesleyan University polls students regularly and avoids flashy Hollywood techniques to ensure its massive open online courses are effective without breaking the budget.
10 Job Search Tools For Recent Grads
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
At Wesleyan University, a private college in Middletown, Conn., "learning by doing" has been the approach to its first round of massive open online courses (MOOCs) with partner Coursera.
"Getting our feet wet makes us think more deeply about things," said Jolee West, director of academic computing services and digital library projects. "We're going to start from a different point from schools who've never mounted one."
For instance, every university and college running a MOOC will need to figure out best practices for video, West said. Interestingly, Wesleyan does not believe Hollywood-style, high-production values make sense in every case, for every professor. West uses the example of having the instructor stand in front of a green screen for which a computer-generated background can be substituted later -- an essential technique for science fiction, but not necessarily education. "Rather than put everyone in front of a green screen, you want their personality to come through," she said. "That's what captures student attention."
West is part of a group working on surveys of students, which she hopes will shed light on what works and what can be improved.
"Next round, we'll have pre- and post-course surveys," she said, adding that this could help uncover what kinds of students stay in the course until the end.
David Baird, VP for information technology and CIO at Wesleyan, also is interested in using data.
Coursera has not yet shared with Wesleyan the data it has collected, including engagement metrics on how students are interacting with course material. "They haven't figured out how to show us the data," Baird said.
Another area of inquiry could be why students picked Wesleyan courses in the first place. "Consider this: we didn't really advertise we were doing this," Baird said. "People pored over the Coursera topics and they found us."
This might explain the higher-than-average 10% completion rate for Wesleyan's MOOCs, he speculated.
Google in the Enterprise SurveyThere's no doubt Google has made headway into businesses: Just 28 percent discourage or ban use of its productivity products, and 69 percent cite Google Apps' good or excellent mobility. But progress could still stall: 59 percent of nonusers distrust the security of Google's cloud. Its data privacy is an open question, and 37 percent worry about integration.
CIOs Get Smart About BIIT’s tried for years to simplify business intelligence efforts. Have visual analysis tools and Hadoop and NoSQL databases helped? Respondents to our 2014 InformationWeek Analytics, Business Intelligence, and Information Management Survey have a mixed outlook.
. We've got a management crisis right now, and we've also got an engagement crisis. Could the two be linked? Tune in for the next installment of IT Life Radio, Wednesday May 20th at 3PM ET to find out.