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Monday, 16 May 2016

Should MOOCs incorporate Facebook for collaboration?

Dive Brief:

  • According to a study presented recently at the annual ACM conference on Learning at Scale, MOOC students prefer Facebook's communication tools for collaborating and interacting over those built into online learning platforms.
  • The higher engagement in course-related Facebook groups compared to MOOC platforms' message boards and forums is leading some to consider whether embracing the medium could lead to a retention boost.
  • According to researchers, students felt Facebook groups were more like "a real community," had the added convenience of being part of a service they regularly use, had higher engagement from instructors and TAs and had superior collaboration tools.

Dive Insight:

In a press release, Microsoft research scientist and former Penn State doctoral student Saijing Zheng stated that within two weeks a MOOC will lose 90% of those enrolled. Massive open online courses have had issues with retention and completion numbers since their rise to prominence a few years ago, though. While this has led some to question their viability, there are also proponents who suggest they simply shouldn't be held to the same metrics that measure "success" in traditional courses. As their argument goes, if a student in a MOOC gets the information and skills needed to attain a better job or a promotion but doesn't complete the rest of the course, has the student not found success?

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