• So for example, it could be how students perform on the final, which should be consistent for both sections (although to do that fairly you need to make sure the MOOC you’re using covers the critical material to do the final).
  • Or it could be partly an oral exam or long-form written exam, whether students have learned to discuss the concepts (keeping in mind that we have to compare the “MOOC” students to the standardly taught students).
  • Design the questions you will ask your students and yourself before the semester begins so as to practice good model design – we don’t want to decide on our metric after the fact. A great way to do this is to keep a blog with your plan carefully described. That will time-stamp the plan and allow others to comment.
  • Of course there’s more than one way to incorporate MOOCs in the curriculum, so I’d suggest more than one experiment.
  • And of course the success of the experiment will also depend on the teaching style of the calculus prof.
  • Finally, share your results with the world so we can all start thinking in terms of what works and for whom.

One last comment. One might complain that, if we do this, we’re actually speeding on our own deaths by accelerating the MOOCs in the classroom.

But I think it’s important we take control before someone else does.

Cathy O’Neil is a Senior Data Scientist at Johnson Research Labs. This article originally appeared in Mathbabe.


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