Monday, June 16, 2014

Massive Open Online Course Experiments

I signed up to try out the free online computing course "Creative Coding" provided by Monash University through
from Future Learn (the consortium set up by UK Open University). I was presented with Updated Terms and Conditions. These are to make it clear that research can be carried out using anonymous student data, as per the Future Learn Research Ethics Framework.
The massive open online courses provide an excellent supply of data for research and experimentation. The courses are entirely online, have large numbers of students and, at least in the case of FutureLearn, the participants have already agreed to provide their data. It would be interesting to see if any of the universities are carrying out experiments where they divide the students into groups, present each group with a different version of the course and see which works best. Also it would be interesting to see if this is covered by FutureLearn's research ethics framework.

Of course there is a danger that such experiments will only answer a limited range of questions. For example, students who are unable or unwilling to take part in such a course will not have their views considered.

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