The CITE, a blog published by the National Association of College Stores, takes a look at the intersection of education and technology, highlighting issues that range from course materials to learning delivery to the student experience. Comments, discussion, feedback, and ideas are welcome.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

MOOC Instructors Need More Support

A new study found that teaching massive open online courses (MOOCs) takes its toll on instructors. The research concluded that supporting instructors may be as important to creation of successful courses as attracting students, according to a report on phys.org.

When researchers from Penn State University and the University of Central Florida interviewed 14 MOOC instructors for the study, they found only four who expressed interested in teaching them on a regular basis. Two instructors said they won’t teach another MOOC and another four worried about the demands of teaching a MOOC as well as a regular class.

Instructors said they struggled to find new ways to teach a MOOC and needed support in course preparation, implementation, and feedback. Dealing with teaching a class the size of a MOOC can be a challenge. One instructor told researchers that the preparation for a course took nearly 400 hours on top of regular teaching responsibilities.

“Most of the research on how we can make MOOCs successful has focused on the student side—how do we attract and retain them, for instance—but now attention is starting to switch to instructors, who make the MOOCs happen,” said Sajing Zheng, a doctoral candidate in information sciences and technology at Penn State who helped conduct the research. “So it’s important to know the motivations of the instructors for teaching this new format and their experiences and challenges when they teach these MOOCs.”

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