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WSJ: Report Card on MOOCs (online classes) AND video attention spans

Fascinating note on video watching:  Certificate-earning students generally stop watching videos longer than 6 to 9 minutes. The median time spent watching a 12- to 15-minute video: about 4.4 minutes.  Take heed video creators…

What’s in store?  Will this make education available to everyone (as the Khan Academy is so admirably doing)? And will costs go down?

WSJ:  Already, MOOCs have shown they can attract students in huge numbers. The largest provider, Coursera, has drawn five million, and nonprofit provider edX more than 1.3 million. And while the majority are still based in the U.S., their learners come from all over the globe: Among edX’s students, 9% came from Africa and 12% from India.

Ask the president of the University of Phoenix, the instructor of a popular Coursera MOOC and a Columbia University education researcher about how to get ahead using an online course in an interactive video interview on Wednesday, Oct. 9, at 8 p.m. ET.

Big-name schools have also signed on to the idea. Top institutions—from Harvard University to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to Stanford University—and some companies have joined with MOOC providers to put courses online, free to anyone who wants to access them. Now more schools, to expand their student base and potentially reduce the cost of an education, are building online courses that cost money but offer actual college credit.

MOOCs still have a lot of room for improvement. Early studies highlight a number of problems with the learning experience in online courses that educators are scrambling to solve. Perhaps most important: Staring at a screen makes some students feel isolated and disengaged, which can lead to poor performance or dropping out altogether. Often, more than 90% of people who sign up for a MOOC don’t finish, though many come to online learning with a different intent than would students at a traditional university.

People Need People: Interaction Matters

Don’t Just Sit There: The More You Talk, the Better You Do

Boring, Boring, Boring: Long Lectures Don’t Cut It

long those lines, a study of edX student habits by Philip Guo, assistant professor of computer science at the University of Rochester, found that certificate-earning students generally stop watching videos longer than 6 to 9 minutes. The median time they spent watching a 12- to 15-minute video: about 4.4 minutes.
One Size Doesn’t Fit All: MOOCs Don’t Work For Everyone.
What the Numbers Show: MOOCS Can Teach Humanities, Too.

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