Millions of people sign up for free online higher education courses offered by top-tier institutions, but only a small percentage of registrants earn a completion certificate. A new large-scale Vanderbilt study takes an in-depth look at what factors contribute to student persistence and engagement in massive open online courses (MOOCs).
Brent J. Evans, assistant professor of public policy and higher education at Vanderbilt’s Peabody College of Education and Human Development, led the study with colleagues at the University of California at Irvine and the Stanford Graduate School of Education. Results are published in the Journal of Higher Education.
“A single MOOC can easily attract tens of thousands of registrants, but maybe half of those show up and interact even once,” Evans said in a release. “That said, many thousands do complete the courses they sign up for. We wanted to find out what factors were indicators of persistence and engagement.”