What do students want from MOOC?

Too many MOOCs , It is time to select which is effective to you.

Dilrukshi Gamage
Educational technology


I am a Serial MOOCer, Let me tell you my story after MOOCing around 16 courses 5 different platforms and 10 Successful completions with Distinctions.

I started doing a MOOC course in 2012 with the Human Computer Interaction Course offered by Ass.Professor Scott Klemmer on Coursera platform. It is the Google who took me there while I was searching for HCI things as it is my passion.

Yes, not knowing much of it,I lost my flow due to the heavy workload, But I prepared my self more for next intake. Yes I did it. It was fantastic, it was my first MOOC(Massive Open Online Course).

But today I have done many MOOC courses on many platforms.Namely Cousera,edX, Udacity,NovEd,Iversity,Udemy. With so many experience on how ,what and why factors to a successful completion , I did a research , what do the students want from a MOOC to retain them until successfully complete? In other way “what are the factors affecting to a effective MOOC?”

Fascinating… It turns out students wants more on following with the ranking…

Key factors by rank
1.Interactivity — (Most)Students did not like isolation, it was often unless a highly motivated self centered student, others needed some kind of an interaction between other students, Instructor , System and the Content. for an example at least forums( but with effective feedback ), chat, tweets were important to keep them live and fun.

2.Collaboration — Students wants to see what other students have to say about the work they did. It is done in Peer grading. Its an effective way of learning, as harnessing the knowledge through a crowd. Not only that, to do small group work collaborating with peers.- So far NovoEd provided the best.

3. Motivation— To keep them motivated through out the course- keep them satisfied & sustain the interest. ( sometimes instructor him self replying on forums make so happy and motivated- Oh I remember I how felt when Prof .Chuck Eesly from Staford replied to one the thread I created, I was overwhelmed ;)

4. Network of Opportunities /direction for future — It is often lacking in many courses, It is the gap from learning to the industry. Students often expect some sort of recognition to the courses they take and also they expect the course to direct or connect with opportunities in the industry.For example MIT Entrepreneurship course offered to work with industry needs published in Coursolve.

5. Pedagogy — How the learning process being done, often with few mints lecture videos, Quizzes, Assignments, Peer gradings, sometime live streams with live questions- (HCI Stanford Course), Mini projects, Group work..ect. It was sad that some courses offer only quizzes ;(

6.Content/Material— Content must me relevant and appealing. I came with some video content the lecturer just reading the scripts, not at all was appealing.

7. Assessment— It is important that a course use many ways of evaluations. Quizzes, Writing assignments, Mini projects to asses whether the student master the material.

8. Usability — The system or the platform should be very usable, sometimes it has found that the forums are hard to track, sometimes progress bars are not showing progress effectively ect..

9.Technology — Not all the technologies in the world will create a good eLearning course. It is often with a good balance of cutting edge technology will create a effective course. example- sometimes courses offer hangouts in small group and some courses use new software which needed many configurations in the PC . It may not be effective.

10.Support for Learners — It is important to provide support for learners in many ways, on many problems. Such as content related, technology related or system related.

In conclusion — These 10 factors are affecting to effective eLearning course from MOOC. So I hope MOOC providers look into the facts what students want than just creating MOOCs. Effective MOOC will surely drop the numbers of “dropouts”.



Dilrukshi Gamage
Educational technology

Research Student in eLearning MOOC and HCI , building a conceptual pedagogy to improve collaborative and effective eLearning with HCI concepts.