If a course is going to be pumped up on the massiveness of its open enrollment, it ought to own how much or little comes out at the other end.
I still maintain that the idea of a “dropout” in an open course– where it take no effort or no skin in the game to drop in — is meaningless
The use of the term"dropout" in an open course is a signal of a major lack of understanding of open learning.
— Alan Levine (@cogdog) July 25, 2012
But allow me to ponder some numbers just shared for the Coursera Social Network Analysis class. I signed up for this out of a real desire to be able to do some (and understand more) of the things Tony Hirst does.
I watched two weeks worth of videos, did the multiple guess quizzes, but flubbed out on the first assignment. I found the videos way long in places the instructor was reading my stuff I could scan on a web page, and once we got started, I never really saw any of the first grab of interest to help spark my motivation to do more. It went right to theory and tossing numbers and settings in Gephi, and there was no sense of WHY I would be doing these things.
Now I have to own my responsibility here, I gave it not my fullest attention, and once I had missed the assignment, it seemed pointless to catch that speeding train. Heck, I could not even see the caboose.
You see, the course moves at the speed it wants to, not mine. This mode does not use any of the affordances of online learning to be able to flex time and space for me to do work- it just marches on everyone rowing the boat together (or falling over).
But let’s look at the summary information sent out this past week:
Some participation stats: 61,285 students registered, 25,151 watched at least one video, 15,391 tried at least one in-video quiz, 6,919 submitted at least one assignment, 2,417 took the final exam. 1303 earned the regular certificate. Of the 145 students submitting a final project, 107 earned the programming (i.e. ‘with distinction’) version of the certificate.
61,285 students registered.. I was one
25,151 watched at least one video (41%)… I saw two actually
15,391 tried at least one in-video quiz (25%)… I did about 3 of these, but found it was more just clicking to try and guess the right answer more than learning.
6,919 submitted at least one assignment (11%)… That does not include me, and is not a stat I would be proud of.
2417 people took the final exam (4%)… the class is pretty empty now
1303 earned the regular certificate (2%).. Bueller? Bueller? TO earn this certificate, you have to achieve “80% of the points” – Its not clear if that includes the final or is just the weekly assignment points. If I am reading this correctly, a smidgen over half of the people who took the final exam earned a certificate.
145 students submitted a final project (0.24%)… I would guess someone who submitted a project did the whole class
107 earned the programming (i.e. ‘with distinction’) version of the certificate (0.17%)
Do you need to see this as chart gunk?
So in the end, we have 107 students who got the more personalized attention (doing a project, getting feedback, being part of the Google hangout presentations).
This class had one professor and 3 TA, about a 1 : 27 teacher/student ratio.
That is pretty much the size of a normal section of a class, it is the size of one of our ds106 sections at UMW.
Now there are a whole raft of reasons why people do not get to this end of the pipe, many, liem in my case, fall on my own lack of drive to really push this up the hierarchy of where I put my attention.
But I submit the methodology of this course too has a large influence as well- it did not hold the attention of the bulk of its students, like 98% of them.
Let me repeat, 98% of the people who signed up for this course did not get the certificate, or 60,059 people. NOW THAT IS MASSIVE (as in hemorrhaging).
Yet the bulk of the hyper and fervor on MOOCs is the massive numbers of enrollments whichm, frankly, when you look at these numbers, it is the wrong end of donkey (to quote Neil Young), or maybe in this case… MOOcows.
Someone ought own those numbers coming out the end.