Wesleyan's Secrets To Successful MOOCs - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
Software
News
8/30/2013
11:50 AM
Connect Directly
Facebook
Google+
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Wesleyan's Secrets To Successful MOOCs

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
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."

The classes can be seen at Coursera.org/Wesleyan.

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."

[ For more on MOOCs, read Will MOOCs Massively Disrupt Higher Education? ]

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.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Previous
1 of 2
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Commentary
What Becomes of CFOs During Digital Transformation?
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  2/4/2020
News
Fighting the Coronavirus with Analytics and GIS
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  2/3/2020
Slideshows
IT Careers: 10 Job Skills in High Demand This Year
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  2/3/2020
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
State of the Cloud
State of the Cloud
Cloud has drastically changed how IT organizations consume and deploy services in the digital age. This research report will delve into public, private and hybrid cloud adoption trends, with a special focus on infrastructure as a service and its role in the enterprise. Find out the challenges organizations are experiencing, and the technologies and strategies they are using to manage and mitigate those challenges today.
Video
Current Issue
IT 2020: A Look Ahead
Are you ready for the critical changes that will occur in 2020? We've compiled editor insights from the best of our network (Dark Reading, Data Center Knowledge, InformationWeek, ITPro Today and Network Computing) to deliver to you a look at the trends, technologies, and threats that are emerging in the coming year. Download it today!
Slideshows
Flash Poll