How do you prefer to shop? Where do you receive your news or entertainment? What medium do you use to communicate? Furthermore, can you function in your professional and/or personal life without “being online”? The suspicion is that your answers to the aforementioned questions demonstrate the inextricable linkage between all facets of our lives and the online environment.

It therefore stands to reason that the online setting is relevant, applicable and essential for our education. The traditional brick and mortar physical classroom is engaging the click online platform with increasing access and availability at a local and global scale.

As you know, MOOCs employ online learning technology to deliver high quality educational experiences to large groups of students. MOOCs as a recent addition to online learning have experienced an unprecedented explosion of publicity (Koutropoulos and Zaharias, 2015). And though the shift to online environments is considered to provide greater access to educational opportunities, careful consideration is needed as reported retention rates does not favor a successful educational experience (Head 2014).

Why is MOOC Retention a Challenge?

Retention is a major challenge in MOOCs as high drop out rates among students have resulted in completion rates that average below 13 percent with rates as low as 1 percent (Krause et. al., 2015). High drop out rates according to Khalil and Ebner (2014) are often attributed to feelings of isolation and lack of interactivity.

Engaging students in MOOCs is the strategy to promote retention; however, this is difficult with large class sizes containing geographical, time zone, language, technology and educational diversity (Hew, 2015).

(Next page: 6 strategies that work for MOOC retention)

About the Author:

Satesh Bidaisee is a professor of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at St. George’s University. Professor Bidaisee is a graduate of the University of the West Indies, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Trinidad, St. George’s University, School of Medicine, Graduate Studies Program and the University of Sheffield, United Kingdom. Prof. Bidaisee over ten years of teaching, research and practice includes examining the human health and its inextricable link with that of animals and the environment across all continents. Prof. Bidaisee is board certified by the United States National Board of Public Health Examiners and holds fellowships to the Royal Society of Public Health, Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and the Royal Society of Biology.