Massive open online courses (MOOCs) are being used to supplement traditional learning, according to a survey from Duke University, Durham, NC. The study of 13 MOOCs offered by Duke looked specifically at students younger than 18, older than 65, and those with limited access to higher education.
“The idea was trying to get a better handle on individuals who were underserved because so much of the popular press has focused on highly educated, white (for the most part), upper-middle-class folks taking Coursera courses,” said Lorrie Schmid, lead researcher on the study. “We wanted to get a sense of these other groups and how they might be approaching, in similar or different ways, these types of classes.”
Younger students often take MOOCs on subjects not taught in their school and to help them make academic and career choices, according to the Duke Research blog. Older students take MOOCs to keep their minds active, pursue lifelong learning, and to help younger associates in their professional field. Convenience and availability were the main reason students with limited access to college chose to participate in MOOCs.