Beyond the Phenomenon: Assessment in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)

Beyond the Phenomenon: Assessment in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)

Amit Chauhan
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8324-2.ch007
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MOOC course offerings and enrollments continue to show an upward spiral with an increasing focus on completion rates. The completion rates of below 10 percent in MOOCs pose a serious challenge in designing effective pedagogical techniques and evolving assessment criterion for such a large population of learners. With more institutions jumping on the bandwagon to offer MOOCs, is completion rate the sole criterion to measure performance and learning outcomes in a MOOC? Learner interaction is central to knowledge creation and a key component of measuring learning outcomes in a MOOC. What are the alternate assessment techniques to measure performance and learning outcomes in a MOOC? MOOCs provide tremendous opportunity to explore emerging technologies to achieve learning outcomes. This chapter looks beyond the popularity of MOOCs by focusing on the assessment trends and analyzing their sustainability in the context of the MOOC phenomenon. The chapter continues the discussion on ‘ePedagogy and interactive MOOCs' relating to ‘performance measurement issues.'
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Stephen Downes and George Siemens are known as the two pioneers of the first MOOC (Liyanagunawardena, Adams, & Williams, 2013; Becker, 2013; Cabiria, 2012; Kolovich, 2014; Tamburri, 2014). In 2008, their course ‘Connectivism and Connective Knowledge’ (CCK08) at the University of Manitoba, Canada was offered online for free and saw a huge jump in enrollments with a total of 2,200 students signing-up for the course (Fini, 2009). These students were from all over the world and did not receive any feedback from the instructors or any course credit (Siemens, 2013). CCK08 utilized multiple Web technologies and platforms for hosting the instructional resources. Wikis and blogs were used for posting announcements and course links whereas Moodle ( summaries to collaborate online for completing the course requirements (Downes, 2009). Data from CCK08 shows active participation and interaction from 14 percent of the total course participants (Mackness, Mak, & Roy, 2010).

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