COIL is proud to have supported the Understanding the Impact of Groups on Performance and Retention in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) project through our Research Initiation Grant Program.
Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are potentially powerful online innovations attracting a massive, global population. However, MOOCs are also notorious for their massive attrition rates – up to 90% (Breslow et al, 2013). The colossal number of forum posts and assignments submitted preclude faculty from providing individual feedback or meeting the needs of the huge and diverse student population. As a result, students feel lost and perceive the forums and courses in general as chaotic. We are attempting to solve this problem by forming online groups where interaction among students plays a central role in the learning process (Lipponen, 2002; Palloff, 1999). We have formed forty two groups in the PSU Creativity, Innovation, and Change (CIC) MOOC and will study effects of groups on the performance and retention of enrolled students. Groups were formed based on students’ preferred language to communicate with others, their intention to complete course assignments (all, most, some, or none), their preferred communication modes (asynchronous or synchronous, text or video/audio), and the best times to work with others. An “ad hoc” group was also formed, in which over 200 learners were invited to visit one of three “round the clock” videoconferencing rooms whenever they wanted to talk with others about the course.
Project’s goals are to: