Confessions of a MOOC reviewer


There were, of course some obvious unique issues to address. With so many students, how was feedback given to students? How were student issues addressed? How do you ensure the integrity of the assessment process? And I’m sure you can imagine the discussion the team had as well as the questions we had for the course designers and instructors.

Most of the answers to the above are part of the huge proliferation of articles, etc. about MOOCs and don’t need reviewing here.

What is significant is that the MOOCs I reviewed were science courses and did not have to address much more difficult issues that would have arisen from a course requiring essays, etc. As is probably true for a great number of science courses (both online and face-to-face) on your campus and mine, the grade was predominately based on test scores and homework.

There are companies that can be used to help validate identities and help in test security and the MOOCs employed one for these courses.

I was pleased with what I saw, but the proof is in the student learning data.

So, in the end, the review was very similar to those conducted on other online courses.

There was certainly pressure (to be sure) to be thorough and exact in our review as well as being sure to have as much data and evidence to support our recommendation. But, in the end, the course did a good job with instruction in the content, the content was accurate and at a level that matched the stated learning objectives, was of an appropriate scope for an introductory course, and was a rigorous course.