The Professors Behind the MOOC Hype – Technology – The Chronicle of Higher Education

The Professors Behind the MOOC Hype – Technology – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

– extracts from the article –

Many professors teaching MOOCs had a similarly positive outlook: Asked whether they believe MOOCs “are worth the hype,” 79 percent said yes.

Many of those surveyed felt that these free online courses should be integrated into the traditional system of credit and degrees.

The result was an online class that he describes as “significantly more rigorous and demanding than the on-campus version.”

Each platform then gives professors the ability to see data that could tell them, for example, which methods and materials help students learn and which ones they find extraneous or boring.

The idea is to glean insights from the online courses that professors can apply in the traditional classroom, where such data are hard to come by.

“I have evidence that the online measurements of outcomes may be better than what we have been doing in class,” Mr. Cima said. “This surprised me and caused me to challenge some of my assumptions about how well we do assessment in a residence-based class.”

Most of the professors whose MOOCs had completed at least one term reported the number of students who had “passed” the courses. The average pass rate was 7.5 percent, and the median number of passing students was 2,600.

In lieu of credit toward a degree, most professors offer certificates to students who complete massive online courses. Three-quarters of the professors surveyed said they offered some sort of document certifying that a student had completed a MOOC.

Asked if students who succeed in their MOOCs deserve to get course credit from their home institutions, 72 percent said no.

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New Test for Computers – Grading Essays at College Level – NYTimes.com

New Test for Computers – Grading Essays at College Level – NYTimes.com.

– extracts from the article –

“It allows students to get immediate feedback on their work, so that learning turns into a game, with students naturally gravitating toward resubmitting the work until they get it right,” said Daphne Koller, a computer scientist and a founder of Coursera.

With increasingly large classes, it is impossible for most teachers to give students meaningful feedback on writing assignments, he said. Plus, he noted, critics of the technology have tended to come from the nation’s best universities, where the level of pedagogy is much better than at most schools. “Often they come from very prestigious institutions where, in fact, they do a much better job of providing feedback than a machine ever could,” Dr. Shermis said. “There seems to be a lack of appreciation of what is actually going on in the real world.”