New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
Computers in Education
Education in the world is changing rapidly. Online course offerings are increasing at an exponential rate as universities attempt to meet the needs of a diverse global community of learners. Amidst this potpourri of online courses, massive open online courses (MOOCs) are emerging as an alternative way to educate a multifarious group of learners worldwide. Yet much remains to be learned about how to hone MOOCs into cost-effective tools that provide value without overly burdening a cost-sensitive public education system. This paper provides insight into the issue by reporting on the efforts of California State Polytechnic University, Pomona (Cal Poly Pomona) to scale-up a MOOC from a small $8000 pilot project. The pilot MOOC was a 10-week introduction to computer programming course that took place during Spring 2014 and was open to everyone in the world for free. Over 2100 participants enrolled in the pilot MOOC with 16% successfully completing the course. Results from the pilot MOOC were reported in the Proceedings of the 2015 ASEE Annual Conference.
A scaled-up version of the pilot MOOC took place during Spring 2015 with the goals of increasing enrollment to over 10,000 participants and introducing cost-recovery measures while maintaining a similar budget as the pilot offering. The scaled-up MOOC was a huge success with over 11,600 participants enrolled in the course, a 16% passing rate, and recovery of about half of the costs through the sale of supplemental materials and donations. Participants who were still actively engaged in the course through Week 2 had a much higher passing rate of 55%. Additionally, surveys indicate that the MOOC enhanced participants’ opinion of Cal Poly Pomona and feedback from participants was overwhelmingly positive. The paper discusses the measures taken to effectively scale-up the pilot MOOC, and provides insights and lessons learned that can be used to improve other MOOC offerings. The authors give suggestions on how to attract potential learners, minimize and recover costs, improve passing rates, and respond to participants’ inquiries despite a seemingly overwhelming participant-to-instructor ratio.
Nissenson, P. M., & Coburn, T. D. (2016, June), Scaling-up a MOOC at a State University in a Cost-effective Manner Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26140
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