ASU to develop online science course with $10M from NASA

Dive Brief:

  • Arizona State University will get $10.18 million over the next five years from NASA to create a science course that focuses on exploration over simple memorization.
  • Campus Technology reports the courseware will incorporate simulations, virtual field trips, and adaptive learning in a program first designed for independent learners and eventually expected to be applied to a K-12 curriculum.
  • Researchers in ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration will develop a range of learning experiences focused on astrobiology, using content from NASA to bring the course to life.

Dive Insight:

Arizona State University has been a leader in online education and massive open online courses. The university launched the Global Freshman Academy this academic year, offering prospective students a chance to take the first year’s courses online through a MOOC and get full credit for them toward an ASU degree. In December, however, Inside Higher Ed reported fewer than 1% of students who signed up for the course completed it with a C or better, which they needed to be eligible for the credit.

In evaluating massive open online courses, many have deemed them failures because completion rates are so low. Others, however, argue students get meaningful experiences out of their participation in the courses, whether they complete them or not. As course developers work to improve the impact of MOOCs on the education space, it might be time to consider a new sense of purpose.

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Filed Under: Higher Ed Online Learning