According to the report’s authors, there are three primary conclusions that can be drawn from the data:

1. Many students feel the information available through MOOCs, in particular c-MOOCs (peer-based MOOCs), is not of the same quality as the information they receive in a formally structured, traditional college course, and this feeling is often accompanied by a concern over the lack of college credit. Many students also feel that interactions available through MOOCs are limited in depth and breadth to the interaction available as an enrolled student in a traditional face-to-face or online course at a university.

2. Accreditation was a common concern crossing over a range of thematic categories. “Students often commented on the benefits of MOOCs to lifelong learning but, since higher education traditionally reflects a credit hour standard, students see the lack of course credit in MOOCs as a hallmark of lesser quality,” note the authors. The authors also write that it’s surprising that very few students viewed MOOCs as a learning tool that could assist them in the college courses they are currently taking.

3. The findings from this analysis shed light on low completion rates in MOOCs. “For reasons not directly clear, many students in this study felt feedback from MOOC instructors should be more prompt than from instructors in their current college courses,” conclude the authors. If new MOOC students enter a MOOC with expectations similar to many of the students in this study, “they would quickly learn that the course is not what they expected. Such realizations and resultant drop outs may contribute to the low completion rates currently observed in MOOCs,” say the authors.

For more information on the study, including limitations of the study and future research potential, read the full report, “What do current college students think about MOOCs?”


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