NO ALARMS AND NO SURPRISES: More details are available on the Udacity-San Jose State University pilot courses, courtesy of a NSF-funded report from the Research & Planning Group for California Community Colleges. It offers plenty of tables and graphs on students' backgrounds and online interactions as it looks for factors that affected how they performed. The findings, however, may strike some as a bit predictable--even stale. Those likely to pass:
- were matriculated students
- attempted more problems and exercises
- sought online support
The report's primary conclusion (p. 19) stated that:
...measures of student effort eclipse all other variables examined in the study, including demographic descriptions of the students, course subject matter and student use of support services...This overall finding may indicate that accountable activity by students--problem sets for example--may be a key ingredient of student success in this environment.
Phil Hill offers a concise summary of the main findings, which "match what we already know about online courses in general," such as the fact that "remedial students have the toughest time self-regulating and performing well in an online environment."