Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Open Teaching - Expansion Pack 2

This is my second expansion post around the subject of open teaching; and it goes toward the fulfillment of my 3rd requirement for the Researcher badge of #ioe12!  I've been involved with MOOCs since early 2011.  OK, in the grand scheme of things I've been only at it for 18 months thus far, but I've have attended a wide variety of (what are now termed) "c-MOOC"s (or connectivist MOOCs).  One of the main things talked about around the topic of MOOCs are the "massive" number of participants, but what's not often talked about are the amounts of people that drop the course, or just lurk.

Drop outs you can't do much about, they are the same as window shoppers are to retail establishments. People come in for something specific and they don't find it; or they come in just to look and leave.  These people may not be in the right place, so retention of these individuals in the MOOC isn't a major issue.  Lurker on the other hand (coming from a constructivist point of view), could be an issue because we don't know if and how the MOOC is meeting their needs, and whether their participation would add something substantive to the group already participating (in some capacity) in the MOOC).

So, the idea behind this research project proposal is to examine a population of participants in a MOOC, preferably a 5-6 week MOOC (not too short and not too long) to see WHO remains (i.e. the non-drop outs), and what the lurker and participant behaviors are, how they compare and contrast, and what keeps a lurker a lurker. If lurkers, as a demographic, are explored and understood, perhaps a MOOC can be designed to elicit participation from such lurkers. I think that the research design would be more along the lines of an ethnographic study (with survey and focus group research added to get additional data from lurkers that do seem to log in and check the MOOC, but don't participate).
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