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.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Doubts about MOOCs

There's been a lot written about massive open online courses (MOOCs), but what do college students think? A survey of undergraduates at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee found they appreciate the potential of MOOCs, but have concerns about reliability and quality.

The study, What do current college studentsthink about MOOCs, asked participants eight open-ended questions on their perceptions and attitudes toward MOOCs compared with press coverage of the courses.

“Students currently enrolled in MOOCs constitute a population of early adopters of a new technology,” the authors of the report wrote. “For MOOCs to be widely accepted as effective means of education, MOOCs must achieve a critical mass of users to either align with, or overcome, prevalent existing students’ attitudes toward higher education.”

The survey found that 81% of the responding students said they had concerns over the reliability of MOOCs and 52% worried about the content used. While 58% held positive views of MOOC accessibility, 49% had concerns about a lack of guidance from instructors and 40% were troubled by a lack of communication options with the instructors teaching the MOOC.

Researchers concluded that many students feel the information presented through MOOCs is not of the same quality as that in a traditional college course. The students also felt feedback from instructors was too slow. Another significant issue was the fact that MOOCs don’t always offer college credit.

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