When Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) first began, millions of people signed up to watch free video lectures from universities, complete assignments, and earn certificates; MOOCs were expected to reinvent higher education. While some still believe these free online courses can change the traditional college experience, new research on 1.7 million MOOC participants shows these courses didn’t grow as expected. Here’s what researchers from edX, one of the biggest MOOC platforms ran by Harvard and MIT, found from their participants:
- In one survey, 39% of users identified as current/former teachers; one-in-five had already taught the subject they were taking a course in. Generally, MOOC participants were already well-educated.
- There was heavy participation from Greece and Spain – during the period of the study, Greece universities suspended operations and Spain experienced national student protests, possibly causing students to look online for an alternative.