Who’s MOOC-ing?

One of my new colleagues here at Northeastern (1 month in – time to blog!), sent me the following article on MOOC participation in Inside Higher Ed – Who Takes Moocs?

Here’s my interpretation (for what it’s worth):

I think (personally) that these MOOCs etc are hitting a really different demographic: the intellectually curious rather than the under served / locked-out-of-higher-ed that they aspire to

My synopsis would be

  • 10-15% complete the course or are engaged enough to complete surveys – that seems to be a developing standard
    (let’s call it 15% to be generous, of that 15%:)
  • (20%)     2-3% of the total are Grads,
  • (10%)      1-2% are Undergrads
  • (not quite) 2-3% are taking it for concrete career reasons (to get a better job) – the “keep skills sharp group I feel may just be taking a long lunch!)

In over-stressing the “employment skills / career development” aspect to 75% of participants (Stanford) – the self-justification seems palpable
This field (MOOCs) is extremely instructive, and the analytics it generates could be a huge boon to Academia, but the bringing education to the masses / opening up the marbled halls aspect seems over-stated.

The Golden bullet still looks to me to be: open course-ware, open platform, faculty (strategically) answering very high level expert questions  only, comprehensive student support, very LOW price point with TONS of intrinsic motivation – (game-theory-based?)

MOOCS – get 3 of the six 6 but illustrate very clearly to me that without at least a couple more of these important elements – support, strategic faculty and motivation, they will remain an interesting, academic, exercise.