Thursday, April 04, 2013

Multiple Lessons Learned from Implementing MOOC Environments at San Jose State University

 Summary of a presentation by speaker Ellen Junn

Technically our MOOCs aren’t MOOCs any more, because we’re doing them for college credit, so there’s a fee involved. Also not all the things we’re doing are completely online.

Survey mof the major MOOC providers:

What we wanted to do is survey different types, first with EdX and then with Udacity. These are very different platforms.

What did we do with EdX? In the spring of 2012 EdX launched its first MOOC course. We asked Anant Ararwal if we can participate; he agreed to fly out several faculty to MIT, and they worked with MIT faculty for a week. We decided to pilot-text this with one of our classes, about 80 students.

Instead of being fully online, we did a blended ‘flipped’ model, 80 percent of the materials were used online, and then in class, two 75 minute in-class twice a week they worked in small groups of 3, they wer  able to ask questions directly, etc. Students had the opportunity to switch out of the section if they wanted.

How did this change learning? It was a dramatic reversal of how out instructors teach; they tyoically did large lectures. The results were astounding and remarkable. The pass rate went from 60 percent to 90 percent (see figures in red below).

We found that when you combine high-quality content from a MOOC provider with a flipped model you get dramatic improvements in student performance.

The next thing we did was to work to create our own MOOCF. We went to Udacity, which was interested in partnering with us. We got NSF funding (we were the first to do a study to assess student and faculty outcomes). We offered three courses that are more challenging gateway courses – remedial math, intro algebra, and intro statistics. We increased instructor contact, and lowered tuition.

In creating the courses, we used the same student outcomes, integrated apriori assessment and evaluation, and will include future LMS analytics.

Faculty considerations were: we tried to build on faculty goodwill, provided robust training and compensation, defined a clear process for regular communications and consultation, etc.

Administrative considerations: be clear on the central goal of the MOOC, understand the continuum of F2F to online to MOOC, consider all stakeholders, align institutional resources and leaders, clarify business plan, consider legal issues, and prepare marketing and communications.

(SD – There is no continuum - but saying there is one allows you to misrepresent a closed offline on-campus course as a MOOC)

Question: can you speak to compensation?

Response: we offered $15K to one faculty member, broken into three installments.

The Gates money wasn’t to offset the cost of creating the course, it was to offset tuition costs.

Question: high quality content and active learning are really keys to success, but can you say what you learned about supporting underprepared students?

Response: we find students from underserved high schools need a lot more hand-holding, and we are able to provide this. Also, issue of not being able to access computers at home, and that’s not a trivial thing.