Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse will look back at the college’s popular online math class to examine how the new way of learning might better benefit students. UW-L has been awarded a $20,000 grant to study the effectiveness of its first massive open online course (MOOC).


The university will study MOOCs with a Gates Foundation grant.

Thousands of curious learners of all ages signed up for UW-L’s MOOC, even though the university introduced the free online class as a way to prepare students for college-level math. Research will shine a light on the MOOC model and give staff the ability to know if it really works, said Bob Hoar, UW-L associate vice chancellor of academic affairs.

“I’m always interested in trying to figure out ways to tell whether or not the tools that we use to support learning actually have an impact,” Hoar said.

UW-L was the first campus in the UW System to introduce the free online format. UW-Madison has since followed suit with its own selection of MOOCs.

With the new grant from Athabasca University’s MOOC Research Initiative, UW-L educators can follow the educational experience of every student who signed up for the pilot.

UW-L’s pilot MOOC and Athabasca’s grant program are both funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

See page 2 for details on how MOOCs will impact the student-teacher relationship