Value of MOOCs more nuanced than completion rates

Dive Brief:

  • Kennesaw State University in Georgia has dubbed its entry into the world of massive open online courses a success  not by the traditional standard of course completion, but based on branding, student access, and return on investment.
  • According to eCampus News, MOOCs have increased the brand visibility for the university and expanded student access to KSU course materials.
  • Researchers also measured the ROI, defined by the number of MOOC participants who later enrolled in a university program, and in the first year, KSU far exceeded its goal to simply break even.

Dive Insight:

The completion rate for MOOCs is abysmally low. The numbers have been referred to as evidence of the model’s failure. KSU, though, seems determined to change the narrative. It only needed two students from its first MOOCs to enroll in university programs to break even based on the cost of developing the online courses. It got 12.

Many other institutions have joined edX or Coursera with the goal of expanding their institutional reach, using the online courses as a recruitment tool. The most popular courses have reached hundreds of thousands of students domestically and abroad, introducing institutions to students who may have never heard of them before. In concrete ways, then, MOOCs can certainly be considered a success.

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Filed Under: Higher Ed Online Learning
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