The recent advent of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) has spawned heated controversy. Some hail them as transformative and having the potential to revolutionize higher education; others consider them merely an inconsequential fad. Actual research findings about MOOCs are still sparse, and SED has started two projects to contribute to the body of evidence in this area.
MOOCs and traditional courses differ radically in their attrition rates, which are extraordinarily high in MOOCS. We are currently conducting two NSF-funded projects that examine the predictors of attrition in two HarvardX MOOCs. The project titled "Student Outcomes in a Computer Science MOOC" (SOCSMOOC) studies "Introduction to Computer Science" (CS50x) ([ADD grant number]), and the "Outcome Predictions of Students in Massive Open Online Courses (OPSMOOC)" project studies "Health in Numbers: Quantitative Methods in Clinical & Public Health Research" (PH207x) ([ADD grant number]). PI: Philip Sadler; Co-PI and Project Manager: Gerhard Sonnert.