MOOC Misery

So I’m one of the many who have failed to finish a MOOC [completion rates have been given as low as 10% – see this Time article with links to stats, Katy Jordan gives a completion rate figure of 13% – 40%, there are also more reports on the OER Research Hub website. The MOOC in question was Stanford’s Open Knowledge MOOC – and I did write a few posts about the topics.

Students completing, or not completing a MOOC, continues to be a hot topic in the Open Education world. For those of you interested in the discussions then I can recommend Martin Weller’s post ‘MOOC completion rates DO matter‘ as a good starting point.

By  b3d_ on Flickr

By b3d_ on Flickr, CC-BY

For me the problem has been an ending project with deadlines set in stone, a holiday and a need to spend every other non-working moment doing family chores. I also think motivation, or lack of it, played a part. Participating in a MOOC felt a little like a busman’s holiday and maybe I should have been learning about something different from that which makes up my daily workload.

Anyway I just felt I should come clean. Maybe there will be more time for me and MOOCs in many moons!


5 thoughts on “MOOC Misery

  1. No shame in dropping out of a course that wasn’t engaging or inspiring you enough to make you want to make a space for it in your life!

  2. Thanks David – I am one of those people who sometimes goes through with things even though I don’t want to – just because I said I would! You are right, learning to say “no” or “no more” is an important skill!

  3. So far have completed four, abandoned four, and have one currently in play.

    I’m finding the quality of every aspect of MOOCs quite variable. The content, format, tech used (all manner of apps and software, some more stable than others), quality, proof-reading of the materials.

    And especially the peers. One MOOC I abandoned was because of having to interact with peers who were vocally, and loudly, unreasonably technophobe. Intelligent debate went out of the window, there was no moderation by the MOOC owners, and trolling and sockpuppeting took place. {Does Obi Wan impression} This was not the academic experience I was looking for…

    A few other points:

    1a. I’d be a lot more willing to finish a MOOC if there was something formal at the end. If I go on a European week-long course, there’s usually a few credits on successful completion. For a MOOC, there’s usually a PDF certificate and that’s it. I realise that some kind of credit would involve a big accreditation shift for MOOCs, but still…

    1b. Peer-review marking is … no. The first one completed, my end-of-MOOC assignment marks were 10/10, 10/10, 10/10, 10/10 and 0/10 with an additional and negative sweary comment by the peer “reviewer”.

    2. The compulsory quizzes and tests in every MOOC completed have been too easy, sometimes absurdly so. If anything, suspect the utter lack of challenge is a demotivation for some in continuing the MOOC.

    3. At the back of my mind is the enduring suspicion that, of the four MOOCs completed so far, I’ve actually remembered none of the content.

  4. I am also a serial MOOC non-completer, but then I have the same problem with lots of other stuff too (ask my family…).
    I also really empathise with Marieke’s ‘busman’s holiday’ remark. I spend most of my day at a computer, and much of my working life feels like a MOOC. Anyway, I need to save some of my time for walking, swimming, gardening and simply talking to people!
    Like John, I do better if there is a formal element present. I was fine with some paid-for CPD from the OU and also IfL. Sad, but true.
    Thanks for those honest remarks…

  5. Thanks for your comments John and Paul! This is starting to feel like a MOOCs anonymous meeting 😉

    I was wondering if anyone is studying feedback loops and MOOCs? Maybe OER Research hub?

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