Massive Open Online Courses: Finding Consensus on Best Practices to Improve Learner Participation and Completion

Massive Open Online Courses: Finding Consensus on Best Practices to Improve Learner Participation and Completion

Author: 
Anne Elizabeth Montgomery
Program of study: 
Ed.D./ET
Abstract: 
This study facilitated research on best practices for engaging learners, improve participation, and raise completion rates within massive open online courses (MOOC)s. The purpose was to identify and begin to build a list of best practices within MOOCs based on the question, “What are the best practices for learner engagement, maintaining participation, and increasing completion rates in MOOCs?” Best practices for designing and developing MOOCs emerged. Incorporating a variety of multimedia materials and including pauses for evaluation, assignments, and other activities provided students with an engaging learning environment. MOOC materials and multimedia should be shorter, well thought out, and of high quality. In online communities, discussions groups should be smaller or scaffolded. Communications, both feedback and discussion, should be frequent, continuous, and engaging, not automatic. Finally, a mixture of guided and learner-led discussions is better for promoting participation. MOOC lengths and badges had significant impact on participation as well. The discovery of additional concerns and consensus in the areas of completion rates and participation measurement alignments and the distinction between foundational educational theory for and the platforms and templates used to host MOOCs were also found. These best practices and others may help develop a functionally sound foundation for the design and development of MOOCs. Building a foundation to support and engage learners will lead to greater and longer participation and completion.
Dedication: 
Jim Montgomery, Beth Montgomery, and James Montgomery, L. Mark Turpin and Dana Turpin MEMORIAL Dot and Ed Turpin, Miriam Turpin Wilson, Dr. Carl Lisle and Mabel Percy, Robert and Ida May Calland, the Weavers, Betty and Jim Montgomery, Ruth Newton, and Sister Kathleen Mitchell, for helping me believe in myself.
Acknowledgements: 
Dr. Leo Mallette – Chair Dr. Cheryl Burleigh – Committee Member Dr. Maja Zelihic – Committee Member Dr. Curtis Bonk “The world is wide open in NY, Georgia, & Las Vegas” Dr. Karen Head for your insight into MOOCs Dr. Mona Engvig for your insight into Online Learning Dr. Alfred Boysen for being my mentor Dr. Patricia Holt for being my friend