Welcome to The CITE -- a blog on Course materials, Innovation, and Technology in Education, created by Mark Nelson and now part of the Publications Department of the National Association of College Stores. CITE is a pun with multiple meanings - referring to cite as in citation, something people reference; site as in location, website, or place people go to; and sight as in foresight or looking ahead to what is coming. Comments, discussion, feedback and ideas are welcome.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Professors Surveyed on Teaching MOOCs

A survey of professors who have taught massive open online courses (MOOCs) by The Chronicle of Higher Education found that 79% believed MOOCs are worth the publicity that has been generated, while 64% said they believed MOOCs could help reduce the cost of attaining a college degree to some degree at their particular institutions.

The results show professors are beginning to accept and embrace MOOCs, according to The Chronicle. It’s surprising because surveys of chief academic administrators have found that just 30% thought that their faculty members accept the value of online education.

Online questionnaires were sent in February to 184 professors who have taught MOOCs, with 103 responding. The Chronicle was quick to admit the results were unscientific, but two-thirds of the professors who did respond had taught for more than a decade and would not be considered a group of MOOC “true believers.”

The survey found that 97% of the instructors used original videos in their courses and 75% used open educational resources. However, professors also reported spending more than 100 hours on MOOCs before the first class and up to eight to 10 hours each week keeping the MOOC materials up to date and answering students.

“I had almost no time for anything else,” said Geoffrey Hinton, professor of computer science at the University of Toronto. “My graduate students suffered as a consequence. It’s equivalent to volunteering to supply a textbook for free and to provide one chapter of camera-ready copy every week without fail.”

While The Chronicle research shows professors may be starting to embrace the idea of MOOCs, there’s still some convincing left to do. Although the professors felt MOOCs could cut college costs, 72% felt that students didn’t deserve formal credit.

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