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By now it seems clear that MOOCs can generate vast quantities of data, from course completion rates, to assessments, to student experiences. 

Duke University recently shared comprehensive data about its first MOOC, Bioelectricity: A Quantitative Approach.  This was one of the five courses deemed worthy of undergraduate credit by the ACE, announced earlier this month.

Course completion rates have gotten a lot of attention and Duke reported those in various ways:

Student Persistence in Bioelectricity, Fall 2012 (Duke University MOOC)

Source: Duke University Report, February 2013

One interesting data point presented within this persistence data was that, “25% of students who answered at least one question correctly on the quizzes during Week 1 were successful in completing the course requirements.” This represented 313 students from at least 37 countries, most of whom already held a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Duke also reported video views and downloads, which are one indication of student engagement. Throughout the 8-week course, there were 156,000 total streaming views and 179,000 video downloads, while views were ~1,000/week by around week 5.

The rest of the 16-page report details student motivations for enrolling, expectations and experiences. Although one interesting aspect of MOOCs is how many people drop out of them, it seems more worthwhile to focus on the hundreds who complete them and what their data teaches us about how people learn.

The promise of data that MOOCs could provide around learning outcomes and assessment could certainly help us all learn, and we’re only at the beginning of this journey. 

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