Recipe for MOOC Completion


Recipe for MOOC Completion

Mar 1, 2016

TO THE FINISH LINE: Why are MOOC completion rates stubbornly low? New research published in the Journal of Higher Education focuses on understanding student enrollment, engagement, persistence and completion on Coursera’s platform. The researchers report counterintuitive findings that may help address the problem.

The analysis covered 2,900 lectures and 2.1 million student observations across 44 MOOCs, mostly in STEM fields. Here are some key findings, as reported by Vanderbilt News:

  • Students who signed up for courses months in advance—“early birds”—were in fact less likely to participate than those who signed up just before the course began. Those who signed up one to three weeks before the course had the highest levels of persistence.
  • Videos posted earlier in the week were more likely to be watched than those posted later in the week.
  • The strongest predictor of course completion was the student’s willingness to take a pre-survey.
  • The length of video lectures seemed to have no impact on student viewing.
  • Emails from instructors to students about new course material were ineffective in getting students to watch more.


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