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What Is Being Learned From Moocs? New Report Takes Stock

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A student taking an online class.

A new report analyzes the current state of research on massive open online courses.

Credit: Alamy

A new report released this week lays out the current state of research into massive open online courses (MOOCs). The report is the work of the MOOC Research Initiative, which has funded 28 research projects with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

George Siemens, an academic-technology expert at the University of Texas at Arlington and an author of the report, says the early years of MOOCs were dominated by frenzied enthusiasm for the technology that, in retrospect, seems foolish. "It's almost like we went through this sort of shameful period where we forgot that we were researchers and we forgot that we were scientists and instead we were just making decisions and proclamations that weren't at all scientific," Siemens says.

The goal of the new report is to offer insight into what is known about MOOCs and how they perform in the real world. The report identifies five key research themes: student engagement and learning success; MOOC design and curriculum; self-regulated learning and social learning; social-network analysis and networked learning, and motivation, attitude, and success criteria. Siemens says student engagement is of particular interest because "a distraction is literally just a click away."

From The Chronicle of Higher Education
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Abstracts Copyright © 2015 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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