Researchers from Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology looking at massive open online courses (MOOCs) offered by the two schools found more females and older students were taking the classes. The survey also noted that nearly half of MOOC participants were not interested in pursuing certification and that 39% of the respondents were teachers.
The survey, based on two years of data from online courses launched on the edX platform, reported that certificate rates for computer science and other technology-based offerings were about half the rate of those in the humanities and social sciences. It also showed that 59% of participants who paid for ID-verified certificates went on to earn certification.
The researchers hope to develop a “Top 5” list of MOOCs based on course attributes, demographics, and level of interaction.
“These courses reflected the breadth of our university curricula and we felt the need to highlight their diverse designs, philosophies, audiences, and learning outcomes in our analyses,” Isaac Chuang, associate dean of digital learning at MIT, said in an article in eCampus News. “Which course is right for you? It depends, and these lists might help learners decide what qualities in a given MOOC are most important to them.”