MOOCs, or massive open online courses, have been alternately heralded as the future of online education and a flop. Although MOOCs promise education for the masses, they often have mass desertions after the first week and are lucky to have 10 percent completion rates. Research is showing that the courses just aren’t engaging enough to keep the students around.

To gain that engagement, students need hands-on, interesting projects, which take personalized grading and feedback, and they need meaningful interactions with their instructors and peers. None of that scales well when you go massive, but that doesn’t necessarily spell the end...

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